‘Adopted Yorkshireman’ relocates from Australia for Garden Centre role

An HR professional has relocated from Melbourne to Saltaire to take up a top role at a Bradford garden centre.

Neil Barwise joins the team at multi award-winning Tong Garden Centre in the newly created position of Head of People and Culture.  He joins the Tong Lane business from a weddings and events business and brings a wealth of HR experience to Tong, Managing Director, Mark Farnsworth said: “We are delighted to welcome Neil to the team. His role will be to manage all the day to day HR responsibilities and to develop our biggest asset – our people – as the business expands from our single site to a multi-site operation.”

Mr Barwise is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead: “I’m looking forward to building a strong culture to take us forward, evolving our shared values and purpose to continually engage, develop and motivate our growing team.

“The purpose of my role is to make sure that we attract, recruit, retain and develop the best people, but also to make sure that Tong continues to be a great place to work.

“I’m originally from Whitehaven in Cumbria, but studied HR in Leeds, so I feel like an adopted Yorkshire man now and it’s good to be back.”

When he’s not working, Barwise works out, follows Rugby League and is currently planning his wedding in August.

Tong Garden Centre’s owners acquired the centre in 2015 and are currently completing an ambitious £4m investment that includes a new soft play centre opening this summer and are actively seeking additional sites to replicate the successful formula.