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    Bradford Garden Centre selected to partner American supplier of environmentally friendly festive...

    A Bradford Garden Centre has been selected by an established American brand to partner with them as they set out to grow their market share in the UK.


    Tong Garden Centre is one of only five centres nationwide, and the only one in the north of England, chosen by US company Enviroscent to be a promotional partner for its Christmas scented ornaments, ScentSicles.


    Of the partnership, Tong’s Commercial Director, Sharon McNair said: “ScentSicles are a unique way to spread the scent of freshly cut Christmas trees throughout your home. They’re a best-selling Christmas line in America and we’re looking forward to seeing similar success here in the UK. Designed predominately to add scent to artificial trees and garlands, ScentSicles are made from natural fibres that are infused with pure fragrance oil. As well as smelling amazing, they are also biodegradable, organic and recyclable, so they’re good for the environment too.


    “We’re very proud to be the only garden centre in the north to work in partnership with Enviroscent and to add this innovative product to our inspirational Christmas range.”


    As the chosen partner in the North of England, Tong Garden Centre have an exclusive free prize draw to win a luxury weekend break with Forest Holidays.


    ScentSicles are available in a choice of six fragrances that typically last for 30 days and cost £6.99 for a pack of six. In addition to its bestseller White Winter Fir, Tong Garden Centre will stock the new fragrance for 2019, Pear in a Pine Tree.

    16th December 2019

    Environment Agency visit Saftronics facility

    We were delighted to host Keith Solts and his MEICA graduates from the Environment Agency at our facility in Leeds. Mark Godfrey and Crawford Howe presented on our motor control centres (MCCs) and PLC systems.

    Keith Solts, Technical Manager commented; “The Environment Agency’s MEICA Graduates visited Saftronics in Leeds as part of their training programme. The graduates were given an insight into the design, manufacture and assembly of Motor Control Centres as well as the various control and automation equipment that interfaces with it. Environment Agency MEICA engineers are responsible for the technical assurance of MCC’s and Saftronics were able to provide an appreciation of what is best practice in the industry and what the future of system integration looks like.”

    16th December 2019

    B&M Secure Shredding Carbon Neutral for 2nd year running

    Continuing their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and encouraging customers to do the same, B&M Secure Shredding have achieved Carbon Neutrality for the second year running. The confidential waste arm of B&M Waste Services was the first shredding business in the country to achieve such an accolade.

    Achieving Carbon Neutrality to the British Standards Industry (BSI)’s Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2060 since 2018, B&M Secure Shredding has reduced their carbon impact through adopting a comprehensive carbon management plan.

    The plan includes investing in greener alternatives for the B&M Secure Shredding fleet and buildings, such as purchasing EURO 6 engine vehicles and the use of LED lighting in their offices.

    To offset the overall reduced carbon impact, trees are planted at customer sites. This project aims to reduce carbon in the atmosphere as trees photosynthesise to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.

    Paul Curtis, Director at B&M Secure Shredding said “Being Carbon Neutral reassures our customers that not only are they complying with GDPR through using our secure shredding service, but they have peace of mind that they’re working with a company that does all we can to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. Innovative solutions and delivering the best possible service is what we do, and leading the way in the shredding industry with this accreditation demonstrates our commitment to this, whilst as ever, we remain competitively priced. We’re immensely proud of this accreditation.”

    B&M Secure Shredding works with Carbon Footprint Ltd to assess the carbon footprint of their business using a formal Carbon Management Plan, which documents their carbon reduction targets year-on-year.

    Carbon Footprint Client Director, Dr Wendy Buckley, commented “Year on year B&M Secure Shredding has committed to reduce its carbon and delivered a highly impressive 12.8% reduction in CO2 intensity (per unit turnover) since their baseline year. They have done this as a proactive step, ahead of any legislative requirement and also while the business has been impressively growing.“

    “As well as actively reducing emissions us quickly as they can, by carbon offsetting all emissions now, B&M are helping to accelerate the response to the climate emergency.” added Dr Buckley.

    16th December 2019

    Blacks Solicitors puts Hope Foundry on the MAP


    Blacks Solicitors LLP has overseen and helped coordinate the purchase of Grade II-listed Hope Foundry on Mabgate in Leeds on behalf of Music and Arts Production (MAP) Charity.

    Leeds-based MAP Charity offers BTEC qualifications in Creative Media and Art & Design, alongside Maths and English, to 11-16 year olds. Having already been MAP Charity’s headquarters for ten years, Blacks Solicitors helped complete the purchase of the 207-year-old Foundry following a two-year-long campaign.

    The team at Blacks were chosen due to their reputation and recommendations from MAP Charity’s peer organisations and supporters. The team volunteered their time, providing ongoing support to help shape plans, prior to the commencement of the largest deal in the history of the charity.

    Gaia Rosenberg Colorni, Project Manager and Independent Evaluator at MAP Charity, commented: “I would like to thank Beth and the rest of the team at Blacks for their support throughout the purchase. Their contributions have been invaluable and we’ve loved working with them. The team has put in so much time and effort, and gone above and beyond what we could have hoped for. We couldn’t be more grateful for the result of all their hard work.”

    Beth Laidler, a Partner in the Commercial Property team at Blacks, added: “Supporting deals like this that benefit the local community is highly rewarding. It’s been a fantastic experience working with the team at MAP Charity and the hard work of everyone involved has really paid off.

    “We are thrilled to see the Hope Foundry project become a reality and are looking forward to seeing how the building develops and the important part it will play in shaping the local community moving forward.”

    Following the purchase, MAP Charity is fundraising to undertake a major refurbishment of Hope Foundry. It aims to transform the building into a place where everyone can access the creative arts – incorporating new creative studios, a community café and gallery spaces. The charity is urging the public to dig deep and support its campaign to both unlock the potential of the heritage site and create a new community asset with creativity at its heart.

    Those interested can support the campaign at www.mapcharity.org

    16th December 2019

    Gateley Legal appoints Leeds Real Estate partner James Sargent

    The Leeds office of Gateley Legal has appointed James Sargent as a partner in its Real Estate practice in the city.


    James joins from Weightmans, where he worked on a mixture of national and international redevelopment projects, asset management, development and investment transactions.  Prior to this, James formed part of the core Real Estate department at DLA Piper.


    On joining Gateley Legal, James said: “One of the things that attracted me to Gateley Legal is that everyone within the business can have a stake in it which I believe is very important in attracting and retaining the very best talent in today’s society.


    “I’m delighted to join the Real Estate team here in Leeds because I’m passionate about Yorkshire and want to continue to encourage and help facilitate investment and development here.


    “The growth of the Leeds office shows how successful Gateley Legal has been in the region and has the strength and depth to be able to meet clients’ expectations.  The main differentiator with our competitors is our ability to draw on a wealth of expertise from not only the legal side of the business, but also from the wider group to deliver the best possible service for clients.”


    Phillip Gregory, partner and head of the Real Estate team in Gateley Legal’s Leeds office commented: “I’m really happy to welcome James to the team.  His wide range of experience will complement and build on our existing offering to ensure our clients have easy access to the very best legal expertise.


    “Gateley is a forward-thinking business that advises some of the biggest names in Real Estate.  James has advised clients involved in everything from the construction of solar farms through to the purchase of land for large retail warehouses to suit our ever-changing shopping habits.


    “I am sure he will quickly make a positive impact here at Gateley and will continue to encourage further investment and growth in the region.”


    The Real Estate department at Gateley Legal’s Leeds office boasts key client relationships with Lidl and construction and development business, Peveril Securities Limited

    16th December 2019

    Optimism amongst female business leaders

    As the UK’s capital, with larger inflows of investment than the rest of the country, London might seem like the leading city for nurturing entrepreneurial ambition, yet our research shows that for female entrepreneurs, Leeds is more highly regarded.

    A survey we conducted this year revealed 77% of Leeds-based female business owners would recommend the city to their peers, putting it in second place just behind Leicester (78%), ahead of eight other UK cities, while their perspectives on future business success were also markedly more upbeat than elsewhere, with 43% saying they felt optimistic about their firms’ growth prospects over the coming year, ahead of London in second place (40%).

    The findings come from a study into the attitudes and opinions of 2,000 small business owners from a range of sectors across 10 of the UK’s largest cities, which compared insights into work-life balance, growth ambitions, innovation, dynamism and diversity.

    Reasons for high praise

    The recommendation of the city was based on a range of factors female business leaders were questioned on, including their view on the strength of the city’s business community, the availability of partners and suppliers, and its talent pool. Each of these measures ranked highly among the small business cohort.

    The sentiments were echoed by Joanna Robinson (pictured), Managing Director of Mansfield Pollard, a Yorkshire Bank-supported business with over 150 years of heritage in the manufacturing sector and an established presence in West Yorkshire.

    Speaking about her experience as a female business leader in manufacturing in the region, Joanna commented: “West Yorkshire has long maintained its position as the UK’s leading location for manufacturing pioneers, with an extremely strong local supply chain and wealth of experienced talent. It’s central geographical location and excellent transport links makes it extremely attractive to not only business’ covering the UK, but also multi-nationals.

    “The diverse talent pool, as highlighted by the Bank’s survey, is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas to drive innovation and success.”

    Given the findings of the latest SME Health Check Index for Virgin Money UK, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, it’s little wonder that the city, alongside the wider Yorkshire and the Humber region, is an increasingly popular home for female business founders.

    The quarterly report from the Group found Leeds had the most diverse mix of businesses (sector-wise) out of any of the 25 cities included. The diversity of the economy is a major asset for the region, allowing it to achieve growth in a more sustainable manner with less exposure to sector-specific shocks.

    Challenges remain for female leaders

    Though the data revealed strong optimism in some areas, it also indicated there are significant challenges for female entrepreneurs at a national level.

    Female business leaders in all cities included in the survey reported facing hurdles in obtaining finance for their enterprises, with only 24% surveyed saying they found it ‘easy’ to access funding for growth, compared to around a third (32%) for men.

    “The overall results of the survey are encouraging, particularly as female business leaders reported similar levels of tangible growth to their male counterparts nationwide,” said Sue Douthwaite, Small and Medium sized Business Director at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank (pictured).

    “As a Bank with a long history of supporting Leeds-based SMEs, it was also encouraging to see Leeds rank so highly in different facets of the research results. We recognise the importance of the city to the economic growth of the wider Yorkshire area and much of this comes from its smaller firms. We will continue to support their growth plans.

    “However, clearly a larger proportion of females are finding it difficult to receive the funding they need. This is an area for us all to work on – remedying this issue can lead to greater growth across the UK and encourage a wider variety of perspectives in the business community.”

    Regional versus international perspectives

    The data also showed women generally remain more focussed on local, rather than national or international growth, compared to their male counterparts, with 60% of female entrepreneurs operating purely on a regional or national scale, vs 54% for men.

    Speaking about this finding, Joanna Robinson said: “I would encourage women-led businesses of this size to consider all routes to market, looking further afield than their local and regional markets, paying particular attention to the international and national market opportunities.

    “I would also point out the number of SMEs in this region and to look to each other for support and advice when needed.  We have some great companies in the local area, and we should all take advantage of each other’s experience and knowledge for mutual benefit.”

    Our support for female entrepreneurship

    At Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, we work with a wide range of female business leaders to help them start and scale their companies. We’re proud to be a lead sponsor of the Woman Who awards and Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards in 2019, both of which recognise womens’ crucial contributions across the UK.

    Find out more about the research at secure.ybonline.co.uk/business

    16th December 2019

    Building skills

    We spoke with Beth Ruddy, Social Value Coordinator at Esh Construction, to find out more about their pledge to the local community and how this links to the Chamber initiative, Raising the Bar.

    Why is social value important to Esh Construction?

    Social value is important to Esh as we aim to employ, educate, engage and buy ‘local’ to make a real difference to the communities in which we work.

    We work with clients, project teams and external businesses from all different sectors to deliver our award-winning programmes across West & North Yorkshire. Esh Group (Esh Construction’s holding company) was recognised for its outstanding work in the field by being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity & Social Mobility.

    How do you engage with the local community?

    Esh provides an array of employment opportunities to local people, including vulnerable groups and those furthest from the job market. We also offer work experience and apprenticeships to students aged 16 and over in trade and office-based environments, giving individuals an insight and understanding of the construction industry. We aim to employ locally, either direct or via our supply chains, including people who have been out
    of work for longer than six months. Esh also engage with local colleges, universities and employment agencies close to our sites.

    How do you further engage with young people in education?

    Building My Skills is an employability programme which provides students in Year 9-12 with a rounded introduction to the world of work. Throughout an academic year, each year group receives 4 presentations from different Yorkshire-based businesses. Each business guest provides an insight into their sector and the career opportunities within their organisation. After each session, students complete a ‘Checkpoint’ task, leading to completion of their own employability portfolio.

    The programme culminates with a Mock Interview Day, with all schools and businesses involved in the programme being invited to attend. Throughout the 2019/20 academic year we are working with 16 schools across Yorkshire and the Humber, engaging with over 2,500 students.

    ‘Get into STEM’ is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) themed Primary School programme which Esh run to engage Early Years Foundation Studies and Key Stage 1 students in construction, through an interactive workshop and a construction-themed resource kit. Esh also deliver Stay Safe presentations in primary schools located close to our schemes, to raise awareness of how to stay safe around building sites.

    Why should businesses get involved with Raising the Bar?

    We are really proud to be involved with Raising the Bar. We think it’s a fantastic initiative for businesses to showcase their work within the local community, so many businesses are doing their bit and should be proud of what they are achieving. Through Raising the Bar, Esh have evidenced their work with local education establishments, residents and charitable organisations, allowing us to share best practice across the industry and learn from other local businesses.

    15th December 2019

    Seasonal sounds for all from Opera North this Christmas

    From the youngest members of its Children’s Chorus to the most seasoned orchestral musicians and favourite guest artists, the entire Opera North company comes together this December for a Christmas programme rich in festive flavours of every kind. Committed to welcoming the widest possible audience to its work, the Leeds-based company follows its first dementia-friendly opera performance in October with the first ever Relaxed Performance at Leeds Town Hall, a thrilling seasonal double bill specially adapted for those who might otherwise be unable to experience it.


    Opera North Children’s Chorus and Young Voices get the celebrations underway with Merry Little Christmas at Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds on 7 December, a programme of seasonal favourites and much-loved Christmas carols gathered together around a telling of The Legend of the Christmas Rose. Next it’s the turn of the full Chorus of Opera North, who are joined by a brass quintet from the Orchestra to serenade Christmas shoppers in Trinity Leeds’ atrium with a lunchtime Festive Fanfare on 9 December.


    The full Orchestra of Opera North heads to Huddersfield Town Hall for its first Christmas contribution to the Kirklees Concert Season: The Nutcracker and The Snowman on 11 December. An enchanted world of princes, Sugar Plum Fairies and toy soldiers is brought to life through Tchaikovsky’s twinkling ballet score, hand-drawn illustrations, and narration by former Teletubby and CBeebies favourite Pui Fan Lee. Raymond Briggs’ classic festive animation completes the evening, accompanied live by the Orchestra.


    Pui is back with the Orchestra at Leeds Town Hall on 22 December, to tell the story of Peter and the Wolf. With each character in Prokofiev’s charming tale represented by a different instrument, it’s an ideal introduction to orchestral music, and the programme is completed by another outing for The Snowman. At 2.30pm, this festive double bill is presented in Leeds Town Hall’s first ever Relaxed Performance, open to all and designed to welcome people with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disability, dementia or sensory and communication disorder. A standard performance follows at 4.30pm.


    The centrepiece of the company’s Christmas celebrations, the get-together of the Orchestra of Opera North with the company’s Chorus and Youth Chorus at Dewsbury Town Hall takes place this year on 12 December, under the baton of Music Director designate Garry Walker. From wintry medieval minstrels’ songs, through much-loved carols including O Little Town of Bethlehem and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, to the MGM magic of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Opera North’s Christmas Concert brings festive sounds from down the ages to the historic, holly-decked Town Hall.


    Polkas by the Strauss family conjure the spirits of Viennese Christmas past, Leroy Anderson’s 1948 Sleigh Ride takes a dash through the snow, and Jacques Ibert’s wonderfully witty Divertissement and some treasures from the world of American band music weave a playful thread through the evening. Vaughan Williams’ beautiful Fantasia on Christmas Carols takes in English folk tunes and more well-known festive songs; and of course, there’ll be an opportunity to join in with audience carols.


    Kirklees Borough Organist Gordon Stewart gets the Huddersfield Lunchtime Concert Season into the Christmas spirit with an 80th birthday tribute to York-based composer and Carols from King’s favourite Andrew Carter on 2 December, joined by Hallé trumpeter Tom Osborne and mezzo-soprano Elinor Carter, Andrew’s daughter. The University of Huddersfield Brass Band’s lunchtime Christmas Concert comes to Huddersfield on 9 December and Dewsbury on 11 December, and Gordon is back at the console of Huddersfield’s stunning Father Willis organ, joined by the Huddersfield Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs in Music for Christmas on 23 December.


    After a brief and well-earned break for some festivities of their own, the Orchestra of Opera North hitches up the sleigh again to bring the pomp, pageantry and playfulness of the Wiener Musikverein to Yorkshire with three Viennese Whirl concerts in some of the region’s most magnificent civic buildings: Leeds Town Hall on 29 December, Huddersfield Town Hall on 30 December, and Hull City Hall on 31 December.


    For these traditional New Year celebrations, they’ll be joined by old acquaintances Paul Daniel, Opera North’s former Head of Music, on the podium, and Gavan Ring, an Opera North mainstage favourite. Having made the move up from baritone earlier this year, Gavan’s company debut as a tenor includes selections from Lehár and splashes of Neapolitan colour from De Curtis and Tosti, sprinkled in among the sumptuous waltzes, polkas and marches to usher in the new decade in style.

    13th December 2019

    Tech savvy manufacturers across Yorkshire set for £1.675bn boost as they cut...

    • A new Barclays report reveals that manufacturers in Yorkshire that adopt a Direct to Consumer (DTC) sales strategy stand to gain £1.675bn in revenue in the next five years.
    • This comes as nearly two in three (64%) in Yorkshire have already adopted this trend as part of their business strategy.
    • More than half (56%) believe selling DTC and cutting out the ‘middlemen’ is good news for both consumers and manufacturers in Yorkshire.


    Entrepreneurial British manufacturers across Yorkshire are expected to benefit from a massive £1.675bn boost as they increasingly cut out retailers and wholesalers and sell their products direct to consumers in one of the biggest shake-ups the industry has seen in generations, according to a new Barclays Corporate Banking Manufacturing report, Going direct: Is direct to consumer selling set to revolutionise the manufacturing sector?


    The traditional model of selling goods via wholesalers and retailers is under pressure like never before, as Yorkshire companies embrace technology to sell and distribute their own goods via social media and the internet.


    Nearly two in three companies now sell direct to consumers (64%) in Yorkshire and over the last five years, Yorkshire’s direct to consumer sales have soared by 36%. DTC now accounts for 16% of all manufacturing sales in the UK, an in-depth industry survey of 500 manufacturing companies found.


    UK manufacturers who have invested in a DTC sales strategy said they had benefited from increased revenue (45%), growth in their customer base (38%) and increased speed to market (32%).


    Sportswear giant Nike became the latest big brand to launch their own direct sales channel last year, ‘Nike Direct’, whereas start-ups such as Eve Mattresses and Harry’s razors began as DTC brands and have now expanded to selling into shops.


    The value of goods sold through DTC is forecast to continue to expand rapidly as both well-established global brands and start-ups invest in the potential around selling direct to customers.


    Economic modelling commissioned by Barclays, which analysed current growth rates, customer demand and investment in DTC channels, estimates that value of the DTC market will boom to £13bn by 2025. Beyond the manufacturing sector, DTC activity could also provide a much needed boost to the wider UK economy by up to £32.5bn in the next five years.


    Lee Collinson, Head of Manufacturing at Barclays, comments:


    “The rise in businesses selling direct to customers is one of the biggest changes the manufacturing industry has seen in generations.  As companies go it alone, bypassing wholesalers and retailers, they are increasingly embracing social media and digital channels to advertise and sell their products direct from the factory, and then managing the sales, distribution and after-care themselves.


    “It’s a massive shift and the rewards are potentially huge, with nearly half of companies selling DTC reporting an increase in revenues as a result, along with a bigger customer base and the ability to personalise products.


    “Wholesalers and retailers are aware of the challenge and will need to continue to find ways to adapt and flex their approach. DTC comes with its own challenges and requires investment in services, training and IT. The future is likely to involve a mix of DTC, wholesale and retail and there will still be a role for all three channels.”


    The role of technology


    Technology has been a key driver in the adoption of DTC with nearly all manufacturers (96%) across the country now selling directly through their own websites. Social media is also of increasing importance to manufacturers with over three-quarters (79%) currently using or planning to sell via Facebook and nearly three-quarters (72%) currently using or planning to sell via Instagram. This comes as nearly half of manufacturers in Yorkshire (44%) plan to digitalise their distribution processes in the next five years.


    Disruption to the retail model


    Manufacturers are increasingly confident about the potential DTC represents with over half (56%) in Yorkshire agreeing that selling direct to consumers cuts out the middleman and is good news for both consumers and manufacturers.


    Challenge to manufacturers going on their own


    Adopting a DTC strategy does not come without its challenges. One in five (21%) British companies said they had not launched a DTC channel because they feared the impact it would have on their relationship with wholesalers, with a similar number (19%) concerned about the response from retailers.


    Businesses that also increase their responsibility for distributing products cite a number of new challenges with this approach, including building brand loyalty (41%), having increased responsibility for every touchpoint within the supply chain (32%) as well as managing customer interaction (31%).

    13th December 2019

    Top 100 Businesses in York named by York Business School

    The city’s best performing businesses revealed at prestigious awards event hosted by York St John University in partnership with Make It York and The Press, York.


    Now an integral part of York Business Week, the awards ceremony saw business leaders from around the city eagerly awaiting the results of this year’s Top 100. Alongside the coveted First Place, awards up for grabs this year were Highest Climber, Highest New Entry, One to Watch and for the first time, Global Reach and Community Engagement and Social Mobility.


    Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of York St John University, who opened the event, said: “We are delighted to support York Business Week by presenting the Top 100 Business Awards for the third year. The list of York’s most significant employers is made possible due to extensive analysis of financial reporting data, undertaken by our talented team of York Business School staff & students. We all take great pride in giving local businesses the opportunity to celebrate their hard work and be recognised for their contribution to the city’s economic success”.


    Recognised for their continued growth in the housing industry, it was Persimmon Homes who took First Place for a third time. Managing Director, Simon Usher collected the award and said: “It’s an honour to receive this recognition. 2019 has been all about regaining positivity and putting customers first delivering on our social and environmental responsibilities”


    Shepherd Group, Pavers Shoes, Gear4Music and TSYS all achieved a place in the top five.


    The Highest Climber award was presented to laboratory technology firm Abingdon Health LTD, who were also honoured in last year’s Top 100 as the One to Watch. York Pullman, a transport business first founded in York in 1926, took the award for the Highest New Entrant this year.


    Piksel Limited were awarded with the One to Watch for their increasing position in the media industry, IT solutions and cloud governance. General Manager Tim Williams picked up the award and praised the city’s sense of community: “In the IT sector here, we all talk to each other. York itself is the ‘one to watch’ as a business community: with all the tech, all the start- ups we’ve got a bright future in front of us.”


    This year saw six awards in total, with the introduction of the Global Reach and Community Engagement and Social Mobility categories.


    Cellhire CEO Martyn Stevens collected the Global Reach award for their business that began by renting out “big brick cell phones in 1987”. He said that York has huge advantages when working with global partners: “York is a fantastic backdrop when we welcome our customers and partners. I’m always asked to walk colleagues down ‘Harry Potter street’.”


    The inaugural Community Engagement and Social Mobility award went to Choose 2 Youth, a not for profit Social Enterprise working with children, young people and adults with disabilities and additional needs. Director Rachel Smith collected the award and said: “This is really special to us, we’re a really small community interest company, started just 5 years ago. Our main aim is to make young people that we work with able to be part of their community in York. We work really hard to help them gain those skills and live independently. Working with businesses to secure opportunities for them makes all the difference to our young people.”


    The full list of Top 100 Businesses is revealed in a 48-page supplement alongside insightful editorial, charity and business profiles, was published in The Press on 13 November.

    13th December 2019

    Leeds College of Building Rated ‘Good’ in Ofsted Report

    The Principal of the UK’s only specialist further education construction college says he is “delighted” after Leeds College of Building was graded ‘Good’ in all areas in its most recent Ofsted inspection.

    Since the previous inspection, staff have spent the past two years working to improve standards. Ofsted has recognised the advances made by classing the overall effectiveness grade as ‘Good.’

    The quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, programmes for young people, adult learning, apprenticeships, and provision for learners with high needs all achieved the same ‘Good’ classification.

    Ofsted’s verdict came following a full four-day inspection late last month (21-24 October). In the report, Ofsted said:

    “Students develop professional workplace behaviours and practices that employers expect in the construction and the built environment sectors.

    “Students and apprentices work with and use high-quality industry-standard resources to support the development of their practical skills. Teachers are skilled experts and have good experience in the construction and built environment industries.”

    They added:

    “Senior leaders and managers successfully provide a curriculum that meets the specific needs of the construction and the built environment employment sectors. The curriculum is informed and developed through highly effective links with employer groups across the city region of Leeds and nationally.”

    Derek Whitehead, Leeds College of Building Principal, said:

    “We’re delighted with this Ofsted result. It is recognition of the hard work and dedication of each and every member of our staff, governors, students, and many external partners.

    “The report celebrates our inclusive and respectful learning environment, supported by tutors who are industry experts. It also highlights the positive attitudes of our students who are learning the hands-on and soft skills sought by employers. A huge thanks go to everyone involved in achieving this brilliant result.”

    Julia Evans, Chair of the Leeds College of Building Board of Governors, said:

    “This fantastic report demonstrates College excellence. It’s one of the latest conducted under the new Ofsted framework, which focusses less on data and more on the standard of curriculum received by students. It’s tremendous that this quality of education is demonstrated at the College.

    “Ofsted praised our teachers as ‘skilled experts’ who support the development of practical skills, enhanced by fantastic links with industry. We’re delighted they confirm that our senior leaders and managers successfully provide a curriculum that meets the specific needs of the construction and the built environment employment sectors. Well done to everyone involved.”

    13th December 2019

    A winning week for Christeyns

    Laundry chemical manufacturer Christeyns is celebrating after winning at the prestigious laundry industry awards, recognized for its continued work in the development of innovative and sustainable laundry solutions.


    Last Thursday Christeyns won the Best New Product category at the Laundry and Dry Cleaning Awards (LADAs) held at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey.


    Christeyns won the award for its PureSan wash concept, aimed at improving the wash quality for hospitality linen in commercial laundries.  Renowned worldwide for its sustainable wash solutions, PureSan is no exception and has received the EU Ecolabel as confirmation of its green credentials


    “We were delighted with the award win which recognizes our contribution to the industry and underlines our continuous work to find improved and more sustainable solutions in the laundry sector,” said Operations Director Justin Kerslake.


    The LADAs are an annual event aimed at highlighting the best in the UK laundry and drycleaning business, recognising exceptional individuals, companies and products that bring a new level of customer service and professionalism to the industry, helping it face the challenges of changing society and technology head-on.


    Christeyns UK is based in Bradford. Its principal focus is the manufacture and supply of detergents and supporting chemicals for the commercial laundry sector across the UK in which it is the market leader.

    13th December 2019

    Yorkshire’s Leading Ladies mark 35 years of co-education at independent school

    LEADING Ladies from across Yorkshire were guests of honour at a special event held to mark 35 years since Bradford Grammar School (BGS) first welcomed girls through its doors.


    The school saw girls enter the Sixth Form in 1984, before going fully co-educational 15 years later. Since then, many female Old Bradfordians have gone on to have thriving careers and lives following their time at BGS.


    To mark the start of a year of celebrations, a Leading Ladies event saw six Old Bradfordians and Bradfordians take part in a panel discussion in the school’s historic Price Hall in front of an audience of more than 80.


    The panel, which had ‘What Makes a Leading Lady in 2019?’ as its theme included:

    • Sabbiyah Pervez, BBC Look North’s communities reporter
    • Abby-Mae Parkinson, Team GB cyclist
    • Helen Haigh, Army Reserve Captain and senior project manager
    • Suzanne Watson, President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce and owner of Approach PR
    • Jane Chapman, BGS’s assistant head (pastoral)
    • Jaya Krishna, BGS Sixth Form student and women’s rights ambassador,


    Lindsey Davis, director of development at BGS, said: “There are so many inspirational, strong women who have forged great careers and lives following their time at Bradford Grammar School. We’re looking forward to celebrating the role they’ve played in school life this year and marking their significant achievements through our programme of events.”


    Simon Hinchliffe, headmaster at BGS, said: “Successful schools move with the times and BGS is one such example with a school community today balanced between boys and girls. The Leading Ladies event was a great way to celebrate the role that women have played in school life, both at BGS and in the wider world. It was wonderful, personally, to meet so many female Old Bradfordians and see how they have embodied the school motto Hoc Age, meaning ‘get on and do’.”

    13th December 2019

    It’s the business for Harrogate! Sunday free electric buses to run until...

    Harrogate BID sponsors popular free journeys to boost town’s thriving Sunday economy … as 70 per cent more people hop on board for Sunday shopping and leisure

    It’s an amazing early Christmas present for Harrogate – thanks to the town’s leading local businesses!

    The hugely successful free Sunday journeys on Harrogate’s ground-breaking electric buses are to continue running all the way to Christmas, with support from Harrogate BID – the Business Improvement District set up earlier this year, bringing local firms together to provide extra services and attract more people into the heart of town.

    The good news comes after a highly successful summer on the town’s electric buses run by The Harrogate Bus Company, promoted far and wide as ‘Sunday Freeway’, with 70 per cent more people now taking the bus for free on Sundays on three local routes linking many of Harrogate’s residential areas with the town centre.

    Harrogate Electrics 2A, 2B, 3 and 6, which link Bilton, Dene Park, The Knox, Jennyfield and Pannal Ash with the town centre, will now continue to be free to use every Sunday until Christmas, thanks to the exclusive deal with Harrogate BID.

    Harrogate BID Chairman John Fox said: “It’s clear that the innovative Sunday Freeway buses are making a vital contribution to the economic viability of the town centre on Sundays.

    “Our key objectives as an organisation promoting business success in the town include increasing footfall for our local shopping and leisure destinations, while addressing issues such as accessibility and road congestion and protecting Harrogate’s environment.

    “The Sunday Freeway electric buses are proving highly successful in making access to our wonderful town centre easier for everyone – and with the all-important build-up to Christmas and the New Year festivities not far away, it’s the ideal time for us to get on board and help to keep this superb free asset on the road for everyone in Harrogate.”

    The new deal with Harrogate BID follows on from two successful partnerships between the bus operator and two of the town’s best-known businesses, Harrogate Water Brands and The Spirit of Harrogate, makers of Slingsby Gin. Support from both firms has helped the electric buses to provide free travel for all customers this spring and summer.

    The Harrogate Bus Company’s CEO Alex Hornby said: “People said free buses couldn’t go on for long, but thanks to amazing support from Harrogate’s business community, we’re attracting more and more people to travel into the heart of our beautiful town.

    “Our free Harrogate Electrics buses every Sunday deliver a significant boost to other locally owned businesses in the town centre, with up to a 70 per cent increase in customer numbers on three routes into town since we began providing free journeys in March of this year.

    “This new agreement with Harrogate BID means that by the end of the year, as many as 40,000 people will have travelled for free with us on the Sunday Freeway and we’ll have provided free travel on 43 successive Sundays – great news for Harrogate’s economy and environment.

    “With great shopping and leisure attractions, and events including the ever-popular Harrogate Christmas Markets to come, we’re looking forward to welcoming even more people to leave the car at home, hop on a free bus, and enjoy a relaxing family Sunday in the heart of Harrogate.”

    Today’s news means free travel for all customers on routes 2A, 2B, 3 and 6 will continue for at least another three months, until Christmas.

    Timetables for the free Sunday buses and all of The Harrogate Bus Company’s services are available online at: http://www.harrogatebus.co.uk, from the travel kiosk at Harrogate Bus Station, or via the Transdev Go mobile app, available to download free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

    13th December 2019

    Aspire-igen’s Learners to cater Igniting Inspiration Awards

    On Thursday 28th November, training provider aspire-igen will have the privilege of hosting the Igniting Inspiration Awards for a third successive year. The event space, housed within aspire igen’s opportunity centre, will once again provide the backdrop to a fabulous evening of celebration and community.

    The Igniting Inspiration Awards are set up to celebrate the achievements of women from the North of England who are making a positive difference in society. Set up by Anj Handa, the Founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers, a global, inclusive movement of people who want to see the world become a safer, fairer place for women, wherever they live and whatever they do.

    Anj Handa said “We are delighted to partner with aspire-igen for a third year. I set up Igniting Inspiration in a way that turns the usual awards event format on its head. Social impact is woven throughout: from the stories of the nominees, to the artists and sponsors who support us, to giving young people the opportunity to provide hospitality at this scale for the first time. Our guests love to chat with the learners and witness their confidence grow as the night goes on.”

    At this year’s awards, learners on aspire igen’s Study to Work programme will be preparing and serving up a Spanish-influenced feast which they will create under supervision of Catering and Hospitality Manager Joe Grant.

    “This is one of my favourite styles of food to cook with the learners. We have developed the entire menu together and I feel it is a great reflection of their personalities and passion. This will be a feast for the eyes and the taste buds, with a menu full of bold colours and flavours.  We also have planned some pleasant surprises. We can’t wait!”

    “The learners whom were involved in last year’s Igniting Inspiration awards were certainly a hit with guests and our current cohort are very much looking forward to this year’s evening. These opportunities are so important for our learners. It provides them with a platform where they can once again get a chance to showcase just what they are capable of!”

    Aspire-igen is a social enterprise committed to changing young people’s lives for the better through learning and work. Its Opportunity Centre in Bradford is based on Cheapside in the former Council Chambers building.  It’s second floor event space boasts original features and impressive rooms all with up to date IT facilities, available to hire for meetings, training days and even awards evenings.

    13th December 2019

    Law firm serves up show-stopping cakes to raise funds for Martin House...

    Building upon the success of previous years, AWB Charlesworth Solicitors, based in Skipton, Keighley, Bingley and Bradford enjoyed a fun-filled firm-wide Bake-Off, in support of Martin House Hospice.

    Staff produced eighteen show-stopping cakes across the offices and Roma Turner, Ambassador for Skipton from Martin House acted as Judge.  The winners of the “2019 Great AWB Charlesworth Bake-Off” were Carole Conroy with her Red Velvet Cake, Dawn Hargreaves with her Orange Cake and Irene Duxbury with her Chocolate Cake. All the cakes were then swiftly bought and enjoyed by staff, clients and contacts, raising a total of £250.


    Declan Hayes, Director, said “We are pleased to continue our support for Martin House with our seventh annual Bake-Off. A special thank you is due to all our staff who put in a tremendous effort to make our charity fundraisers such a great success, and to our local colleagues and contacts who supported the event by buying and enjoying the cakes.”


    If you would like more information about Martin House and would like to find out how you can get involved in raising money please visit their website at www.martinhouse.org.uk

    13th December 2019

    Leeds’ conferencing venues receive training on show round excellence

    Last month, ConferenceLeeds, the conference bureau for the city of Leeds, hosted an event for its partners in the conferencing space at The University of Leeds. The event aimed to bring together the conference venues in the city, alert them to key developments taking place and provide an update on Leeds’ sector strengths, as well as give them the opportunity to work together and get involved in wider activity and collaboration. This recent session also offered each of the venues the ability to develop their skills with a workshop on showround excellence, delivered by a professional trainer.


    Following a talk from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) about Leeds’ uniquely positioned sector strengths, James Lee from James Lee Associates was able to work with venues such as Leeds Playhouse, Horizon, The Studio, The Queens Hotel and many others to enhance their staff’s showround skills – ensuring that they are best positioned to host organisers and present their venues in the best possible light. The session was centred around all of the ways that the venues can make simple changes to achieve a higher standard of showround excellence, with the knowledge that a good showround can improve the chances of an organiser choosing the venue for their conference or event, and ultimately drive more conference business into the city of Leeds.


    James Lee said: “The principles we discussed in the session were really all about seizing the opportunity when working with a client and showing them around a given venue. For too long, showrounds have been treated with scant regard when you take into account the value of the opportunity they present. So we discussed how these opportunities are about taking your chance, standing out in a crowd and demonstrating to the customer that you really understand their event and are a safe pair of hands in helping them deliver. The session took the form of an interactive workshop, and gave venues food for thought, as well as some tips for when it comes to improving the simplest of things to make the biggest difference.


    “They have all taken away the value of teamwork when it comes to winning business, which is something that does seem to be embedded within Leeds’ conferencing proposition. I work with a large number of organisations and love working with people who are open to doing things differently. It was a great pleasure working with the Leeds venues and I have had some amazing feedback as well as interest in further opportunities to work with them all again.”


    Claire Heap, Head of ConferenceLeeds, said: “We are always delighted to host the partner event and see all of our venues come together in one place to discuss the current position and future goals of conferencing in Leeds.. This session was particularly interesting because we were able to welcome James Lee, who offered a great deal of insight and expertise to our venues in showround excellence. Being able to provide partners with these skills will be incredibly beneficial for Leeds, as strong showrounds will of course help to drive more conferencing business into the city.”


    James Lee is a qualified training consultant with over 15 years of training experience and has been working in the hospitality arena for over 25 years; with hotels, conference centres, academic venues and others from across the sector. He now works with people across the hospitality industry – supporting, training and coaching teams from a range of venues, in areas ranging from sales to customer service and senior management.


    For more information on ConferenceLeeds, visit https://www.visitleeds.co.uk/conferences/ follow ConferenceLeeds on Twitter @conferenceleeds or call the team to discuss your conference requirements on 0113 378 1183.

    12th December 2019

    Leeds Playhouse announce new partnership with Gateley

    Leeds Playhouse has secured a new sponsorship agreement with legal and professional services group, Gateley.


    The deal sees the Leeds office of Gateley partner with the theatre over the next 12 months including sponsorship for the upcoming Christmas production, The Wizard of Oz.


    Leeds Playhouse, which sits within the city’s cultural quarter, reopened last month following a major £15.8m redevelopment, which marks an important new chapter for the theatre and this production of The Wizard of Oz is the centrepiece of its reopening season.


    Leeds Playhouse artistic director, James Brining, said: “This is an exciting time for Leeds Playhouse and we are delighted to have the support from everyone at Gateley.


    “The Wizard of Oz is a household favourite full of adventure, excitement and magic, which we’ve brought to life in a fresh and thrilling way. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to our reopening season.”


    Leeds is one of nine Gateley offices across the UK and has seen significant growth and investment over recent years. Established in 2012, the office employs over 100 legal professionals making it the third largest office within the Gateley network.


    Andrew Johnson, partner and head of Gateley’s Leeds office, said: “To coin a phrase from the musical; there really is no place like Leeds. Like the Playhouse, this is an exciting time for Gateley in Leeds which is why we are incredibly excited to bring our two organisations together in this way.”


    The Wizard of Oz plays at Leeds Playhouse from 20 November 2019 to 25 January 2020. To book your tickets visit leedsplayhouse.org.uk or call the box office on 0113 213 7700.

    12th December 2019