TopicUK June 2021

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a central pillar of the UK music industry

New Leeds hospitals on track despite Covid


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This issue

Group Editor Gill Laidler


This edition, our cover story features Andy Hobson, managing director of Fantastic Media based in Dock Street Leeds. Fantastic Media are this year celebrating 15 successful years in business. Read all about them on page 14.

Rob Blackwell

Business Executive Mandy Taylor

Associate editor Ed Asquith

Distribution Manager James Longbottom

Official Photographers

Roth Read Photography

Legal Matters

Ramsdens Solicitors Chadwick Lawrence

Recruitment Stafflex

Information technology

Paul Heigham, Bellingham IT

Cover : Andy Hobson Image : Roth Read Photography -

Barclays Bank

Triple Award for Backstage Academy


Fantastic Media 15 years young


IoD appoints East Yorkshire chair

Improving productivity is about systems Tileyard, a central pillar of the UK music industry

Printed By: Charlesworth Press Wakefield



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page page

08 14 24 48 50


Laura Bartlett

workplace innovation Tim Guest

To Partner TopicUK

Tel: 07711 539047 

The views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily those held by the publishers and therefore, no responsibility can be held by the publisher for misinterpretation. Reproduction of this magazine without the express permission of the publisher is prohibited. Whilst every care is taken in the production of this magazine, the publisher/ editor and staff cannot accept any responsibility for errors in articles, advertisements or programme schedules. To subscribe to this magazine contact 07711 539047 or email Published by Ghost Publishing Limited, Paragon Point, Paragon Business Village, Red Hall Crescent, Wakefield WF1 2DF. Law pages are written by Chadwick Lawrence & Ramsdens Solicitors LLP and TopicUK is not responsible for any advice given.


Editors notes

By group editor Gill Laidler

OUR PARTNERS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

yaba global diversity Tilyard North Paladin MARKETING Yorkshire sculpture park CONNECT YORKSHIRE Community Foundation Calderdale The Piece Hall BACKSTAGE ACADEMY Ramsdens Solicitors Chadwick Lawrence Bellingham IT KC Communications Wakefield Council Ad:Venture CityFibre Eaton Smith Solicitors Stafflex Wakefield Theatre Scriba PR Kirklees College University of Law Avenue hq/Barclays Eagle Lab Yorkshire Payments Welcome to Yorkshire Contedia BeVic Town Hall Dental Fantastic Media WAKEFIELD HOSPICE Halifax Bid Beanie Media LEULY PPR HALSTON MARKETING youbee media DAKOTA HOTEL LEEDS

Welcome to edition 48 of TopicUK. It seems, if I’m not speaking too soon, that we are seeing the end of the Pandemic with bars and restaurants now open and the remainder of hospitality scheduled to open a couple of weeks after we publish. This is most likely down to the vaccination programme which is a credit to our amazing NHS. Holidays overseas are still a bit of a grey area as we go to print, but I have a break booked in beautiful North Yorkshire this year, why not stay home and enjoy the glorious British Isles which will help our economic recovery too. I would like to welcome new partners YouBee Media joining us from this edition. This new company offers marketing services, social media, websites, email marketing and blogs. Although they are quite a new business, they already represent 12 different brands and are growing fast. We would also like to welcome returning partners Wakefield Council and City Fibre. Delighted Our cover this time features Andy Hobson, managing director of Fantastic Media. Long-time readers of TopicUK from the Huddersfield area will remember Andy who we featured on the first cover of our Kirklees / Calderdale edition when we produced magazines by town rather than county. Fantastic Media are long standing partners and are celebrating their 15th Birthday this year.

We feature project updates from new partners Tileyard North as well as Leeds Teaching Hospitals who are still on track with the new hospital build, despite the Covid pandemic. You can read about these on pages 50 and 74 respectively. Celebrity We are delighted to announce that our sister publication Yorkshire Businesswoman will be going into print from next edition. This handy handbag size magazine features businesses across the region, led by women and alongside, we have launched a members group where women will be able to collaborate, network and support one another. Membership is just £20 per month which will include entry to planned networking events with our partners Dakota Hotel Leeds, along with many other benefits, offers and discounts. Our first event is scheduled for Friday 2nd July at Dakota, with guest speaker Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, CEO of The Piece Hall. Also joining us will be Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, who is an ambassador for our brand, celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton and Calendar News presenter Christine Talbot. Check out the website https:// to find out how you can sign up.

Contents & Comments



Until next time

TopicUK June 2021


N E W S U P D AT E the agency team, I’ve always been given the freedom and encouragement to respond to opportunities as they arise, whether clients are looking for investment opportunities or buying development sites. “This has led to me evolving into a role working across several divisions and it’s these types of opportunities that differentiate GV from many other property companies.” Matt added: “Our building consultancy team has had a very busy 12 months. We are now working on a vast range of refurbishment schemes and new build projects driven by high demand from landlords, occupiers and investors across the industrial market and all other property sectors. Receiving this promotion is part of it being a new era at GV and comes at a really exciting time for our team.”

Property firm builds for the future Leeds property consultancy Gent Visick (GV) has promoted Daniel Walker and Matt Harriman to associate director level as the company gears up for further growth. Matt works in GV’s building consultancy division and Daniel works across the company’s agency and investment divisions. The pair have significantly expanded their roles and responsibilities in the last 12 months as the business goes from strength to strength and capitalises on the UK’s high performing industrial property market.

400,000 sq ft distribution centre off Junction 31 of the M62, the acquisition of 90,000 sq ft at

Stakehill Industrial Estate and overseeing Total Park, a new 195,000 sq ft logistics development to the east of Leeds on Pontefract Lane. D aniel said: “I’m absolutely delighted with this promotion. We work in a fast-moving environment and although I initially worked in

Matt oversees an array of projects, including recently negotiating more than £1.6m worth of dilapidations claims as well as project managing the conversion of the 25,000 sq ft former Topshop building on Cambridge Street in Harrogate into a mixed-use retail and office development. Daniel has been involved in several notable deals over the past 12 months. These include leasing a


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GV is a leading niche property consultancy providing support during acquisitions, sales, lettings and investment transactions, with offices in Leeds and London. Its services include industrial agency, building consultancy, investment and strategic consultancy.


Digital development team growth for Leeds based agency Leeds based integrated agency Fantastic Media have appointed two new members of staff to the digital studio, supporting the ongoing and increasing demand for webbased services. The agency is experiencing growth in an already strong online offering, with a key focus on ecommerce, SEO, PPC and Paid Social Media and the increase in demand has called for a significant boast to the team. Recent successes include new client wins; with Leedsbased architects JRP, modular and portable building suppliers Thurston Group, Direct Marketing Group and Yorkshire Packaging Systems. Alan Roddy and Anna Whitwam both join the agency as full-stack Web developers.

Alan has 15 years’ experience in Applications & Support and has worked with internationally renowned clients such as Kerrygold, WWE, and Gumtree. As a Senior Web Developer, Alan will also play a key role in mentoring and developing the junior developers.

Anna joins the agency from The Design Bank, Huddersfield, where she began her career after studying Creative Media Technology at Leeds Beckett University. Sam Birkhead, Senior Account and Development Team Manager

commented, “We are delighted to bring Alan and Anna into the team, adding new skills and an abundance of experience to an already strong team. Both individuals have extensive knowledge and crucially, a passion for their roles. We are sure to see Fantastic things from both in the future!”

Bringing you safely back As a leading supplier of window opening actuators in the UK, Window Control Systems Ltd have expanded their team in readiness for the easing of lockdown restrictions. Directors of the business identified a need for better ventilation in all buildings. As a result, they have recruited a new business

development manager Graeme Hogg, and plan to recruit further in 2021. The importance of opening a window and letting fresh air flow has become paramount. However, the ease of opening a window for many schools, care homes, offices, factories and the medical sector can be a problem. The solutions from Window Control Systems allow for one, or several

windows to be opened at once with a touch or a button or turn of a handle. Clean air reduces bacteria particles and CO2, as well as allows for a more comfortable environment and a controlled temperature. Managing director, Sam Hague says “The business has always thrived on word-of-mouth referrals and interest from existing partners and installers. We started to get calls

from businesses across all sectors and we knew then that we needed to act”. In 2021, the business aims to increase awareness and educate more people that there is a solution. Graeme says, “Many businesses aren’t sure what the options are, and are surprised at how easily an actuator can be installed, and the benefits that will be achieve for air ventilation.” TopicUK June 2021



Yorkshire’s live events campus scoops several Educate North Awards. The annual Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of further and higher education institutions across the region, recognising best practice and excellence in the educational sector. Offering degrees, short courses and bespoke training in the live events industry, the South-Kirby-based institution achieved recognition from judges across three categories: the Student Experience Award, the Employer Engagement Award and Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Academy’s chairman and founder, Adrian Brooks. Rachel Nicholson, the head of institution, says the clutch of award wins will further bolster Backstage Academy’s trophy cabinet, as it sets its sights on full University accreditation over the next few years.

Triple award win for Backstage Academy

Rachel comments: “This is a fantastic reflection of the hard work and passion from our students, staff and partners at Backstage Academy, which I think we can all be really proud of. “It is also particularly pleasing that Adrian Brooks, was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of his contribution to the future growth of the sector.” Backstage Academy was recognised by the judging panel for the Student Experience Award for putting students at the heart of their institution, whilst the Employer Engagement Award recognised the institution’s excellence in engaging with employers and industry Above: Backstage professionals.

value, student experience and its focus on arming students with the skills to excel in the industry. Rachel continues: “From industry-partner masterclasses to hands on use of cuttingedge equipment, software and technology, our students experience real-life industry opportunities and experiences with worldleading companies day-in day-out. “We’re proud that our students get to experience working with industry specialists, experiment with pioneering products, and gain dream opportunities before becoming live events professionals themselves.

“The judging panel identified our work opportunities programme as a particular driver of our students’ experience. By shaping the degree programmes with a substantial emphasis on student experience and employability, our students enter the world Academy’s of work with a network of industry contacts, industry T h e j u d g e s c e l e b r a t e d t h e partnership with an impressive portfolio of work experience, Academy’s outstanding educational Riedel and a passion for their craft.


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“We’re also delighted Adrian was recognised for his drive, passion and unwavering commitment to the live events industry and education of its future generations. “The judging panel recognised Adrian’s vision; from starting out as a bingo caller and road sweeper, to setting up an innovative, worldleading aluminium scaffolding business, Litestructures. It was then that Adrian recognised the need for investment in live events education before he launched the academy in 2009. “We are honoured to have been in the running against some of the best education providers across the North. From our humble beginnings, it is a testament to the passion and love of live events from our students and staff that has made these awards possible.” On his award win, Adrian Brooks said: “I’m thrilled for the recognition, but more than that, I am grateful to the team who have worked around me over the last 12 to 14 years to develop Backstage Academy into what it is today.”



Phoenix Health and Wellbeing receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise Leeds social enterprise Phoenix Health and We l l b e i n g h a s b e e n awarded one of the UK’s most prestigious business awards. In an announcement on the 29th April 2021, the Charity heard that it has been recognised for its outstanding commitment to sustainable development. Of the 205 organisations from across the UK that have been personally chosen by Her Majesty The Queen to receive an award, Phoenix Health and Wellbeing is just one of 17 in the Sustainable Development category. Commenting on their remarkable success, founder Gill Trevor said: “We are absolutely over the moon, this is an incredible honour and it will have a hugely beneficial impact on our social enterprise. “It has already given us all an enormous morale boost. Everyone at Phoenix is so dedicated and has worked incredibly hard over the past 12 months supporting our clients whose lives have been heavily impacted during the pandemic. It will also help raise awareness about the services we provide so that more people in Leeds will be able to get the health and wellbeing support they need regardless of their income. “And, I really hope it will inspire other business owners to create social enterprises, there still aren’t enough of us about. I can thoroughly recommend it, there’s nothing quite like the positivity gained from

running a successful socially sustainable business, it’s the best Karma there is!”

and want to thank everyone who has supported us”.

Based in Park Place, Leeds, Phoenix Health and Wellbeing is a registered charity that was set up in 2013 with the aim of providing wellbeing support to local people. Its staff, therapists and volunteers provide counselling, massage and acupuncture to people who have chronic health issues and low incomes. These people are referred to the service by medical and healthcare professionals.

“We are a charitable social enterprise,” Gill explains, “for every £10 someone spends with us £4 goes towards funding treatments for local people who couldn’t normally afford the support we can give them. We help people with depression and anxiety or physical conditions such as chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and forms of cancer.”

for every £10 someone spends with us £4 goes towards funding treatments for local people ...’

This support is funded by providing the same services to the general public and workplace wellbeing services to local employers. The public and employers pay the market rate with proceeds going to the charitable fund.

In the last year, during the pandemic, demand for the service has been rising. Gill commented: “O ver the last 12 months, despite the lockdowns, we have supported just under 400 individuals who were referred to us due to their emotional, mental or physical health issues. We couldn’t do this without the support of local businesses or the public

Gill left a successful career in marketing and business planning with O2 to retrain in wellbeing therapies after a family member became unwell. She completed a Diploma in massage, reflexology and aromatherapy, then in 2009 she went on to complete her Reiki levels 1, 2 and Masters. After volunteering for several years at St Gemma’s Hospice and seeing first-hand the positive impact of complementary therapies, Gill gathered a team of highly experienced Trustees, counsellors and therapists and established Phoenix Health and Wellbeing. “Over the years our organisation has gone from strength to strength and this Queen’s Award for Enterprise is real recognition of the hard work and commitment of everyone involved,” Gill concludes. TopicUK June 2021



Study Inn Group invest £35m to deliver 350 student beds in Leeds Study Inn Group have been granted planning consent to redevelop Brotherton House in the centre of Leeds into a 350-bed purpose-built student accommodation centre with extensive study space and communal facilities The company has worked in partnership with local landowner J Pullan & Sons to deliver the scheme. The redevelopment will comprise the conversion of the prominent Brotherton House building with a glazed link to a new 15-storey building. The £35million development will

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provide a mixture of studios and ensuite serviced apartments as well as 10,400 sq. ft of study space and 6,600 sq. ft communal facilities, all within a 10-minute walk to the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. Facilities are to Study Inn’s 2nd generation standard and will include 24 x7 on site management;

room cleaning and linen services; wellness spa; sauna; steam room; hot beds; gym; yoga studio; games room; lounge; meeting space; and big screen cinema room. Study Inn is set to start construction work later this summer with opening of the first phase of the development set for September 2022.

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Commenting on the new development, Jack Jefferson, acquisitions director at Study Inn, said: “We are very pleased to have received planning consent on this landmark site. It represents a £35m investment in the city and as both a developer and an operator, it will be a testament to our belief in Leeds and in the continuing resilience of the purpose-built student accommodation sector. This will be the sixth property in our new 2nd generation of higher quality Study Inns, and we are focused on successful delivery, quality 24x7 management, and the wellbeing of our residents in a safe and secure environment.”


Businesses urged to be part of Bradford venue Businesses across Yorkshire are being invited to help breathe life into Bradford’s new entertainment venue, as the next stage of a historic regeneration project gets underway. From IT to facility management, food and beverage to printing, businesses in the local area are being invited b y the team at Bradford Live to be a part of this ambitious project. The venue is prioritising the local and regional market for suppliers from all sectors and is set to host a supplier day in mid-September, offering nearby companies the chance to meet with Bradford Live’s operating team. Operated by the UK’s leading live events business, the NEC Group, the venue hopes to welcome 300,000 visitors each year to a host of events when it opens late 2022. The supplier day will be co-hosted by NEC Group’s food and beverage director Marc Frankl and director of partnerships and media, Chris Pile. They said: “The next stage of the Bradford Live project is now underway as we search for local companies to help shape the future of the venue. “We are so excited to take the next step in regenerating this landmark and we want businesses that feel

This is an open call, no matter what your specialism, whether you are a potential supplier, sponsor or future contractor we want to hear from you...’

they can add to the project, to get in touch and join us on the journey. This is an open c a l l , n o m a t te r w h a t y o u r specialism, whether you are a potential supplier, sponsor or future contractor we want to hear from you.”

Creating around 50 full time equivale nt positions upon completion, as well as a further 60 temporary construction jobs, Bradford Live is set celebrate the city and venue’s heritage, while ensuring world-class event spaces for generations to come.

Keighley-based contractor RN Wooler & Co Ltd was recently appointed as the main contractor for the project.

To register your interest, v i s i t : h t t p s : // w w w . TopicUK June 2021



Re-opening and recovery: how The Piece Hall is set to spark the revival of Yorkshire tourism The past few months have seen us experience some of the things we appreciate the most again - like browsing our favourite shop, sipping a coffee at our local independent and spending quality time with loved ones. These small but important acts of freedom have once again breathed life into our day-to-day lives and inspired a renewed sense of hope and optimism. At The Piece Hall in Halifax, witnessing the public joy - and relief - as people returned through our famous gates to visit our traders, enjoy an al-fresco bite to eat and relax in the comfort of our spacious courtyard has been an emotional experience for myself and the rest of The Piece Hall ‘family’. Cherished community assets such as ours

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are already creating safe spaces for people to reconnect. But places like The Piece Hall also play a wide r economic role in attracting people into towns and cities from further afield. There is now a significant opportunity to shape the revival of the tourism sector. In Yorkshire, rightly on a pedestal when it comes to domestic tourism, The Piece Hall remains a jewel in the crown. With its unique cultural, heritage, leisure, hospitality and retail offer, it has the potential to unlock prosperity by enticing

tourists looking to travel within the country this year. We’re confident that The Piece Hall will support Yorkshire’s recovery, because its potential for success is proven. In April, The Piece Hall Trust published its 2019/2020 annual review, showcasing the vast social and economic impacts that were generated throughout that unforgettable year. A big part of this was due to our growing reputation amongst national and international visitors, who came from far and wide to experience big-name artists like Elbow and Embrace perform open-air gigs and attend high-profile events like the Tour de Yorkshire. Our exciting calendar of events, unique independent traders and

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diverse heritage offer, framed within the breathtaking setting of the only remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world, proved a magnet for tourists to Halifax and the wider region. 84% of visitors to Halifax say that The Piece Hall is the main reason for their visit and The Piece Hall was a key contributor to a 14% increase in tourism to Calderdale in 2019. These statistics prove the significant role that much-loved gems like The Piece Hall play in reviving not only their immediate surroundings, but the wider region. Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, CEO at The Piece Hall Trust

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Shoppers in Calderdale are now able to donate to charity through a unique contactless payment point. The Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) has partnered with Halifax BID, Woolshops Shopping Centre, Yorkshire Payments, and Briggs Priestley Signs to launch the first permanent contactless card donation point in the area so shoppers can donate safely and help local charities. We have all had to change the way we operate, and CFFC have adapted by responding to people using less cash and wanting to keep safe whilst still wanting to donate.

Mandy Clarke, Helen Charles, Jason Gregg, Rachel Oates, Lewis Parry and James Slavin launch the first permanent contactless card donation point in Calderdale for CFFC

has affected everyone in lockdown as no one has ever lived through a pandemic before. By tapping your debit card and donating £3 at the unit in the Woolshops, you will be contributing to grants we give to help mental health charities who help people in Calderdale.”

CEO of the Foundation, Steve Duncan explained, “Mental health TopicUK June 2021



Fantastic Media

Years Young

Images : Roth Read Photography

Leeds-based strategic marketing agency Fantastic Media turns 15 later this year, to mark the achievement, we sat down with Managing Director Andy Hobson.

With a career that has featured highlights including looking after F1 racing teams, household name brands, and some of the most recognisable footballers in a generation, including David Beckham, Alan Sheare r and Michael Owen, we looked back on the last 15 years of Fantastic Media to reflect on his biggest successes, challenges and what the future holds for the evergrowing and evolving agency. Andy, congratulations on 15 years of Fantastic Media! Looking back, what inspired you to set up the business? At the time, I was a partner in a design agency and whilst the work was great, I’ve always been more business focused than just on marketing. I’d always thought that businesses needed a more

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results-driven approach to success. I saw that there was a real gap there for an agency that could do a great job by delivering a tangible impact on a business’s bottom line. My drive and passion is to grow a business with a client rather than winning design or industry awards. Marketing is about return on investment and going on a journey with business owners. It’s the approach that I started with 15 years ago and stay true to today. How has the marketing landscape in the industry changed over the last 15 years? New marketing channels come and go, and that has never changed. However, without a clear understanding of a business’s objectives and creative ideas and an understanding of those channels, success can’t and won’t be achieved.

My drive and passion is to grow a business with a client rather than winning design or industry awards...

The technology has changed, the way that we deliver the messages has changed and the way that people digest the information has changed. What stays the same is that messages have to be clear and there has to be a return on investment for the client. So, whilst channels change, the end result hasn’t. Fantastic Media is known for strategic marketing. What does that look like in practice? The work that we do means we’re advisors on a business level. We’re

COVERSTORY business consultants as well as marketers. We advise on what are the best channels for our clients to spend their marketing budget so that they can get the best return on their investment. For our clients, we’re trusted partners. We don’t do the ‘fluff’ or do something just because it’s fashionable or ontrend. We work with our clients to get inside of their business and we think strategically. We really get to know our clients and their business and understand it from their side of the table. Over the last 15 years, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered during your time running Fantastic? We’re channel neutral, we don’t just sell what makes us money. Until we understand a business’s audience, stakeholders, etc we don’t propose anything, so we don’t pitch. That can be a challenge as trends grow and we look to articulate that to our clients. When they first come to us, some clients think that the flavour of the month is the way to go. It then becomes our role to make sure that what we propose is right for them. Being honest and upfront from the outset can be a challenge, especially if it isn’t what someone is expecting to hear, but it’s why we’re still thriving after 15 years. Something that I’ve always believed in is that marketing won’t make a bad business good, but marketing will make a good business better. A lot of businesses that come to us and are doing well are getting their ‘fair share of business’. After they’ve worked with us, they get what I call their ‘unfair share of businesses’ and get some of the market share that their TopicUK June 2021



competitors are getting - something they may have thought was not possible previously. That is what we do for our clients.

the Fantastic family and that we’ve made a real difference and impact on their business. And biggest failure?

What’s your biggest success? The continuation of the business. T h e c o n t i n u e d g ro w t h , t h e movement into new channels, adapting to new technologies and being continually profitable. We’ve got clients that have been with us from day one and I can’t understate how important that is to me personally. They like our honesty, hard work and success and that we’re going to tell them straight. Long term, that’s my biggest success. On a day-to-day basis, success for me is that I want our clients to be proud of the fact that they’re part of

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I like to be hands on with everything that we do. It’s just who I am as a person. That does mean that, sometimes, I’m not the best at delegation. If I would have learned to do that much earlier on, I’d be enjoying a beer on a beach in Whitby by now and someone else would be doing this interview. Now though, I’ve got a fantastic team around me that allows me to feel confident to delegate and lean on them and their expertise. It’s something I’m feeling far more comfortable doing. Delegating allows me to plan for the future far more.

How has the last year been? My strategy from the very inception of Fantastic Media was that no client becomes a dominance in the business, and we have a solid spread of B2B and B2C clients across a multitude of channels. While I still run the business with those principles, it means we’ve been very fortunate during what has been a potentially difficult period. We’re fortunate that we have a number of B2B clients in a variety of sectors such as manufacturing, construction and trade and that has been good for us, as really those sectors have never stopped, so it means neither have we. Where we have B2C clients, we’ve managed to onboard their digital

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aspirations in a swift, strong way and helped them adapt as things have changed. What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced over the past 12 to 14 months? Not being surrounded by my team physically has been my biggest challenge personally. I love being able to mentor younger members of the team, whilst learning from them as well. I very much believe that the younger people in this industry sector are the ones that are suffering from not having the mentoring from being in the office on a day-to-day basis. I do believe we will have a full office, fully back in Leeds. Continuing to

COVERSTORY create concepts and strategies for clients in person when the full lockdown ends. We’ll be as flexible as the team needs to be, but we will continue to grow our office. There is only so much communication that you can do via Zoom or Teams before things get diluted. People buy people in professional services, consultative businesses. If emotional connections are lost, business will be lost. 15 years with Fantastic Media, is there any abiding principle or approach to business that has helped you last this long? I don’t need to sell something to everyone, and I’ll happily tell a business that comes to us just that. If what we do as a business isn’t right for someone at the time, I’ll tell them. That honest approach buys us credibility with that business and more than a few have come back to us six months, a year, 18 months later when they’re in a proposition to progress with us. What does the next phase of Fantastic look like? It looks exciting. I’m at the stage where I can build a succession team. We’re entering a new stage in our life as a business, but we won’t ever change what has made us successful. I’ve had numerous offers over the years for people to buy the business but that doesn’t excite me and get me up and out of bed in the morning. What still drives me is doing right by our clients, helping their business grow and having a tangible impact. Over the next few months and years, I’m looking to add more additions to our great management team. ‘I’m still fit under 50’ but maybe one day in the next 15 years, I may think about handing on the baton. TopicUK June 2021



Third time winners at the UK Probate Research Awards 2021

host their usual charity fundraiser they donated half of the funds received from nominations to Reengage. Reengage is a charity that is positive about older age and committed to fighting loneliness to that people can have social lives and friendship groups however old they are.

Ramsdens Solicitors private client team have won the ‘Best Probate Law Firm North England’ at the UK Probate Research Awards 2021 for the third year in a row against stiff competition.

Paul Joyce, managing partner said: “Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. It’s been a challenging year but we’re incredibly proud of how our team continued to delive r the same high quality of service our clients expect and deserve. The virtual 2021 awards were hosted by British criminal barrister and television personality Rob Rinder and whilst they weren’t able to

Winning this award for the third year in a row is a great achievement for every single member of the team.”

N E W S U P D AT E technology company Laduma in 2015 and in 2019 became president of the Really Epic Dog Group, overseeing eight businesses across four continents.

The Piece Hall Trust reveals new Board of Trustees The Piece Hall Trust has announced the appointment of five, new influential Trustees who will help drive the strategic direction of The Piece Hall as a unique cultural, heritage, retail, leisure and hospitality offer. The news follows the recent reopening of the Grade I listed building, which closed during the pandemic, and marks a renewed focus in supporting both the local economy and the recovery of the wider Yorkshire tourism sector from the pandemic as well as developing The Piece Hall’s reputation amongst national and international audiences. The new trustees: Senior businesswoman, passionate mentor and diversity champion Noor Ali. Noor is senior buying manager for World Foods, Free From and Health & Wellbeing at Morrisons and brings sound business advice to the Board, reflected in the numerous accolades she has earned throughout

her career including Businesswoman of the Year 2011 at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and British Empire Medal in June 2017 for Services to Diversity in the Retail Industry. She will also support the Trust in developing the culture and diversity of the venue. Syima Aslam, is founder and director of Bradford Literature Festival, which welcomes over 70,000 visitors to Bradford annually and is celebrated as the most socioeconomically and ethnically diverse literary festival in the UK. Having grown-up in Halifax, Syima has fond memories of The Piece Hall from an early age, and will help to shape a diverse and successful future for the venue as a Trustee.

Bringing artistic insight to the Board, innovative musician Gregory Batsleer will also help to drive the success of one of the most exciting cultural spaces in the UK. Having previously assumed the role of artistic director of the National Portrait Gallery’s Choir; curated performances at Latitude Festival and Wilderness Festival; and worked as an artistic adviser and collaborator with artists including Elbow and Simon Armitage, Gregory now enjoys a varied career and is well-immersed in the artistic and cultural spheres. Ben Smith brings a wealth of experience from across the technology and entertainment sectors to his role as Trustee. Having worked on highprofile films including 28 Days Later and Hannibal before moving into digital media to work for the likes of the BBC and The Times. Ben then co-founded acclaimed

Having worked for the BBC for 30 years serving local, regional and national audiences, holding posts including head of BBC Yorkshire and editor of BBC Look North, Tim Smith played a part in bringing Children in Need to The Piece Hall in 2017 and the Antiques Roadshow into its vast courtyard the following year. He now brings leadership experience and a passion for giving something back to the venue in his role as Trustee. Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of The Piece Hall Trust, said: “This is an exciting new chapter for The Piece Hall Trust. We’re delighted to be bringing together such a diverse and experienced range of Trustees who, together with the Executive Team, will help shape the future of this unique and iconic building.” “Our new Trustees come from a wide range of backgrounds spanning media, retail, culture and business. We’re confident that their expertise and insights, along with their networks, will play an important part in helping create strategies that will secure The Piece Hall’s rightful place on the world’s stage.” The announcement follows the publication of The Piece Hall Trust’s 2019/2020 annual review which documented its ‘exemplar’ performance, which included the generation of £26m to the local economy since its landmark renovation in 2017. Prior to the building closing, due to the pandemic, total visitor numbers exceeded seven million. The Piece Hall Trust will support the recovery and rebuilding of the local and regional economy through its proven economic capacity as a destination that continues to attract visitors. TopicUK June 2021



It is only when you consider what sensitive or personal data your organisation holds and the potential damage should any of it be leaked into the public realm, that you realise the value of putting adequate protection in place to avoid an inevitable hack or data breach. Cyber Security should be a standing item on your board’s agenda, the responsibility for this cannot be placed solely with the tech team anymore. Cyber Essentials is a government backed initiative which, if followed, will give a business or charity a baseline protection level against most common forms of attack and vulnerability. It provides evidence which indicates that you have taken appropriate steps to mitigate simple and easily overlooked areas within your IT infrastructure as well as increasing the awareness and importance among your staff. It is undoubtedly only a simple matter of time before you are subject to some form of network breach, malware, or ransomware attack. You will have most likely got away with it up until now and potentially think that only the big, multi-national corporations are the only ones at risk.

Cyber Essentials: requirements for IT infrastructure By Paul Heigham - director of Bellingham IT You need to consider what would happen if any of that was accessed and personal data was sold on. This could be customer, suppliers, employers, or members data.

Expanded the Fire walls control to clarify position on when/where software firewalls are acceptable as the internet boundary.

Expanded the User access control to include third party accounts that have access to the certifying organisations data and services.

There has been a very recent amendment / change to the Cyber Essentials accreditation which now contains five technical control themes: •


Secure Configuration

User access control

Malware protection

Security update management

O rganisational data and organisational services to assist in applying the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) requirements.

Benefits of Cyber Essentials “Why would anyone want the information we hold?” It is important to think about what details you have in your database, the spreadsheet on your desktop, the documents or pictures in your cloud storage, the emails that you send internally to your colleagues.


Protects your organisation from 80% of common cyber threats.

Increased credibility and reputation.

Win government contracts and open business opportunities.

So, what’s new? •

New definitions of a corporate virtual private network.

Eligible for free cyber insurance cover.

The accreditation, which focuses on making systems more secure, comes as result of any IT support and services company commitment to safeguarding itself and its customers from cyber-attacks and other technology threats found online. Paul Lockwood, O pe rations Manager comments: “In my opinion, I believe it is essential for companies to be accredited. Some businesses only accept companies who are accredited as it shows commitment to protecting your own data and that of your customers and clients. Being accredited increases the reputation of your business and shows your organisation is taking preventative actions to reduce all threats.”



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DWF adds four senior hires in Leeds

combination of DWF’s culture and global strategy are an attractive proposition in the legal market.” In the Real Estate practice, Andrew Batterton has joined this week to head the planning team while construction specialist Naithan McBride will join in June as a legal director in the global construction team. Andrew and Naithan are also joining from DLA Piper and will have a national and international outlook. They are the newest additions to the growing global real estate team which spans most of DWF’s international locations. Andrew boasts significant experience as a planning, infrastructure and compulsory purchase legal advisor specialising in major regeneration, transport and energy projects for more than 20 years. He is also involved with sustainability including the promotion of ambitious projects and initiatives to achieve international carbon zero projects.

Wendy Harrison and Jonathan Procter, formerly senior corporate partners at DLA Piper are joining the UK corporate practice.

Wendy has vast experience in international M&A transactions with a particular specialism in the hospitality and leisure sector. A lawyer for 30 years, she also has significant experience of private equity transactions acting either for investors or management. Jonathan is a corporate deal maker with a strong core practice in mergers, acquisitions, private equity, equity capital markets and corporate governance. His work is particularly focused in the services, food and beverage,


financial services and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. Frank Shephard, global head of corporate said: “ We continue to be extremely active in significant acquisitions, disposals and private equity transactions and deal flow remains strong. We are always looking to bring talent into the team and Wendy and Jonathan, each with their own wellestablished skillsets and experience, will enable us to further build on As a practice we this momentum.”

continue to be extremely active in significant acquisitions...

Allison Page, regional managing partner (UK and Ireland) said: “I am delighted that we have taken the successful first step in our growth plans for the global corporate practice. The appointment of such highly respected corporate partners confirms that the

Naithan is a construction disputes lawyer providing both operational and dispute resolution advice to clients with a focus on dispute avoidance and managing project risk. He advises contractors and specialist subcontractors and employers in the public and private sectors. Toby Askin, global head of real estate said: “Andrew adds senior leadership and technical capability to a strong and growing team while Naithan’s expertise in dispute resolution will complement our existing offering. Both Andrew and Naithan are leading practitioners in the global energy and infrastructure sector and add significant bench strength in their respective disciplines. I am thrilled they have chosen to join us.” Allison who herself joined recently from DLA Piper, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working with Andrew and Naithan again. They are two of the key appointments DWF has made recently as part of an ambitious growth strategy for the UK practice.”


Eddisons secures major lease advisory contract for NHS Property Services Transactional services and property advisory business Eddisons, whose head office is in Leeds, has been appointed by NHS Property Services to provide lease advisory and related property services. Under the terms of the contract Eddisons will provide lease advice, where the NHS acts as landlord or tenant, as well as related property services including lettings. The NHS has £3bn portfolio of over 4,000 properties. Head of public sector, Javid Patel, said: “We are excited to be appointed by NHS Property Services and are looking forward to partnering with

appointed to support its property services team. This award recognises the development of our capability over recent years and the outstanding commitment of our people”.

them to deliver professional advice on their leasehold interests. “Our approach is always client-centric and to enable us to most effectively support one of the largest primary care estate owners in the UK, we will be deploying a dedicated NHS advisory

team to ensure the highest levels of service. This prestigious appointment reflects our commitment to be the adviser of choice for the public sector.” Anthony Spencer, managing partner, added: “It is a critical time for the NHS and I’m thrilled that we have been

Adrian Metcalfe, portfolio contracts manager for NHS Property Services said: “We look forward to partnering with the Eddisons team on leasing matters and benefiting from their expertise in the healthcare sector as we drive forward our strategy to support delivery of the NHS longterm plan and enable excellent patient care. “The new partnership will help document our occupation portfolio, ensuring we maximise the potential of our estate and enabling our clinical tenants to provide excellent patient care.”


IoD appoints new East Yorkshire chair

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has appointed Debra Leeves to lead its East Yorkshire branch

including financial assistance for wage bills and changes to insolvency rules. Debra said: “I am honoured to be selected as chair. The region has an abundance of successful e ntre pre ne urs and self-made business leaders with a strong presence in energy, manufacturing and engineering, technology and digital, agri-foods and bio-renewables, as well as ports and logistics. “As chair I want to ensure that, in the post-pandemic world, all directors are as prepared as they can be to trade and accelerate their business operations. My aims are to help shape the IoD agenda and make it relevant to all directors in the region while promoting East Yorkshire to the wider IoD community and government policy makers.” Delroy Beverley, IoD regional chair for the Yorkshire and the North East, said: “We were looking for a leader of leaders and Debra is the ideal candidate. She will continue the legacy of inspiring local directors, amplify their voices and provide regular opportunities to expand their network and skills. In addition, she will bring a commercial thought process that will galvanise the wider region, whilst remaining true to the one IoD methodology.

Debra is chief executive of Vertual, a technology spin-out from the University of Hull that specialises in virtual reality training systems in radiation therapy.

Debra has worked in technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals for 25 years, managing companies in the US, Middle East and Europe. Debra has held several board positions and is currently on the board of AIM-listed technology company Cambridge Cognition.

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As IoD chair, she has responsibility for setting professional standards, providing branch leadership and offering commercial guidance. Debra will support members across East Yorkshire to build connections, gain professional development and influence decision-makers. The IoD secured vital support for directors during the Covid-19 pandemic,

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“Debra also shares my passion for mentoring the next generation of leaders. As we emerge from the pandemic and build back better, we will open up relationships between business and education providers to ensure that young people in East Yorkshire are supported as they climb the career ladder and become tomorrow’s directors.” Debra succeeds Pat Coyle of law firm Rollits, who stepped down upon the successful completion of her full term as chair. Delroy added: “We owe Pat a debt of gratitude for all she has done for the branch network, but also for the wider business community.”


New Gormley sculpture arrives at Kirklees College Pioneer Higher Skills Centre A new sculpture by world-renowned sculptor Antony Gormley has been unveiled at the Kirklees College Pioneer Higher Skills Centre in Dewsbury.

Marie Gilluley, Principal and Chief Executive of Kirklees College added: “We have heavily invested in the regeneration of Dewsbury and are proud that this new sculpture will help to raise the profile of both the town and the arts within the local community and beyond. The installation of WORK will allow us to interact with people of all ages through our school’s engagement project in Kirklees and offer a unique learning environment for our staff and students.”

The sculpture, titled WORK, marks the final instalment in the renovation of the iconic Grade II listed building into a higher skills and education facility which opened in November 2020. Made of cast iron, the 286kg sculpture is part of Antony Gormley’s ‘Beamer’ series and proudly stands six feet tall on the rooftop of the centre looking outwards to the horizon. Speaking about the installation, Antony Gormley said: “I am delighted to mount WORK on the roof of Pioneer House as a celebration of our hands-on making culture. It is an honour for me to have a work on the skyline of this fine building created by the co-

For more information about the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre, please visit https://

operative movement, that expresses so well the spirit of the town and region. I intend the work to be part of that history and of the building, but also to look out to the wider world.”


Shortlister appoints COO to aid accelerated growth

David Dewy and Paul Dickens

Video interviewing software solutions provider, Shortlister, has appointed Paul Dickens as chief operating officer as part of its bold plans for fast-tracked growth.

Encompassing all aspects of the business, Paul’s role will see him set the framework for strategic expansion at the Yorkheadquartered firm as it steps up operations, including developing the commercial team and ensuring customer success through product direction. Joining the business from Ganymede — part of the AIM listed RTC group — where he was operations director, Paul brings 18 years of experience in sales, recruitment, technology, and people management, specifically in

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the digital sector, and has a proven track record of leading businesses through successful rapid growth periods. David Dewey, CEO explained: “We’re thrilled to have Paul come on board to help us take the company to the next level. His wealth of experience, passion, and drive for the industry are immediately apparent and I’m sure will add real value.”

We’re thrilled to have Paul come on board to help us take the company to the next level...

“We’re extremely peoplefocused, taking the view that our colleagues are our real assets, which is why we’re investing heavily in the development of our workforce.”

Commenting on his appointment, P a u l s a i d :“I’m very excited to be joining the team. I’ve had a longstanding interest in the technology and market innovation that the firm has defined,

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and David’s vision for the future is truly inspiring. “The refreshing and vibrant culture is perfect for technical and commercial innovation, and with a hybrid working model, we have a mix of a fantastic base in York city centre coupled with a remote, flexible working culture. “In just a short time, it’s become clear that everyone within the business has a voice, and David’s efforts to encourage this practice will be the blueprint of our future success and staff development opportunities. “It’s a really great time to come on board. I can’t wait to be a part of driving the next stage of growth for both the organisation and the team.” Due to its advancement into its phase two expansion stage, Shortlister is now recruiting for several key roles across sales, customer success and marketing.


Leeds-based website performance and cybersecurity company RapidSpike has made a further two appointments to its fast-growing team. Joining are sales/account manager Janie Gonsalez and customer success engineer, Harry Burton, bringing the total headcount to 17. Janie joined following a six-year long career in events and business development for companies including The Yorkshire Mafia and Think Summits. Janie is responsible for nurturing and maintaining key client relationships; this includes regular engagement with current and prospective customers and helping businesses to boost website performance and cybersecurity through the RapidSpike platform. Harry joins with two years marketing and sales experience and his role will see Harry supporting customers by assisting with queries. He will be producing helpful tutorials and knowledge base articles to make sure each client get the most from the firm.

New appointments for website performance and cybersecurity specialists Both recruits will also be supporting clients to ensure their websites are performing against a new set of metrics specified by Google, called Core Web Vitals. The changes roll out in June 2021 and RapidSpike has seen a significant increase in demand from clients requesting an audit on how their sites are currently performing. Commenting on the appointments, CEO

Gav Winter said: “Ultimately, clients come to us to help their business grow, and there are a number of ways we can help them do that through our next generation website monitoring. Both Janie and Harry showed us that they understood our mission and the needs of our clients, so we’re confident they will play a vital part towards making websites safer, faster and more reliable for everyone.”

Out of Office with …

Gemma Birbeck, director at Loaded PR

You arrive home on Friday night after a busy week. What’s the first thing you do? Well, after our dogs Ned and Odin have greeted me over excitedly, I head straight up stairs to put the heating on, run a bath and pick out a fresh pair of pyjamas. I admit, I have the heating on for most of the year as I like to feel cosey. I’ll usually spend around an hour in the bath, then head downstairs to cook with my son and partner. It’s time for the weekend. What are we most likely to find you doing, and where?

I am a massive fan of the outdoors – the greener and more rural the better! So, if you’re looking for me at the weekend, you’ll likely find me walking in the woods or at a reservoir/lake. Both my partner and son play rugby, so you can guarantee I will be on the rugby pitch at some point during the weekend as well. At the moment, I have a massive addiction to Starbucks soya cappuccinos – I am vegan – so there’s a possibility that a coffee is involved at some point too. Saturday night arrives. What’s your idea of the perfect way to spend it? That’s difficult. If it was doable, I’d be in a hut in the middle of nowhere with a fire burning and surrounding by my son, partner and dogs. My son has recently taken an interest in stars, so as cliché as it sounds, I’d love to be stargazing. I’ve always been a big

believer that our energies come from the earth, and I am an advocate for nature being a good form of healing and part of a healthy lifestyle. For that reason, I’m at my happiest when surrounded by nothing but trees, water and nature. It’s Sunday already. What tasks are usually on your ‘to-do’ list? Sunday morning is rugby, followed by a dog walk and then home to do life admin. I’ll usually spend an hour or two getting our son’s uniform ironed, touching up the house and planning meals. Pretty boring, I know. Work again tomorrow. Do you get the Sunday blues or look forward to getting back – and why? No! I love my job. I am really invested in all of our client’s businesses and

have brilliant relationships with them, so work really matters to me. I know how much value we bring and how much the work we do for our clients means to them, so it’s only fair that I demonstrate passion 100% of the time. Sometimes, I still can’t believe how the business has evolved and how far I have come personally, so I count my lucky stars every day and that really helps keep me motivated. The weekend’s almost over. What’s the last thing you do before you hit the hay ahead of another week? Meditate. I’ve really gotten into it during the pandemic. There are a number of guided meditation sessions which play throughout the night as you sleep, and I find they are really helpful to listen to on a Sunday. You feel motivated and prepared when you wake up on Monday morning then. TopicUK June 2021



The youth hostel at Hawes in Wensleydale has been sold for £100,000 to a head teacher who plans to widen the scope of the business to enable it to provide much-needed work placements for young people with learning disabilities.

Originally from Newcastle, David Miller, the head teacher of a special educational needs and disability (SEND) school in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has bought the 14-room, 52-bed hostel franchise after it was put on the market by commercial property estate agent Ernest Wilson. The youth hostel is popular with groups of walkers and mountain bikers and has provided budget accommodation as a base for exploring the Yorkshire Dales since 1972. It will reopen to guests on 17 May when Government Covid restrictions are relaxed. David, 57, who plans to continue in his role as a headteacher, has recruited local hospitality professional Steve Bussey to manage the hostel and intends to introduce work experience placements for young people with learning disabilities from 2022. “I know from my work as a head teacher that workplace opportunities for young people with learning difficulties are nowhere near as widely available as they should be. At Hawes Youth Hostel we hope to be one of the few businesses linking up with SEND schools and colleges nationally to provide

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Yorkshire Dales youth hostel to pioneer work placements short and long-term placements for 18-25-year-olds in areas such as housekeeping, catering and grounds maintenance. We will also be looking into the prospect of employing a full-time tutor to oversee the work experience programme,” said David. “This kind of opportunity can be transformational for the lives of these young people and I see this as my chance to create something really positive that can continue to make an impact long after my time, in the form of a charitable trust.” Michael Peel, sales manager at Ernest Wilson, said: “As the new

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the hallmark of small business owners.

owner of Hawes Youth Hostel, David’s plans are truly inspiring and demonstrate the ingenuity and creativity that are often 

“When a business changes hands it’s an opportunity to open a new chapter for an organisation and widening the scope of this successful hospitality business to help youngsters with learning difficulties is a fantastic idea. In our experience, the post-pandemic demand for businesses is outstripping supply and it will be interesting to see how business owners develop a new generation of ventures in the current economic landscape.”

Smarter entertainment:

How full fibre can transform our downtime and upgrade our lives

N E W S U P D AT E Of course, it’s not just within the home that full fibre can make a colossal difference. With events back on the h o r i z o n , o r g a n i s e r s a re looking to grab attention in an increasingly competitive landscape and full fibre has a part to play in that. One example is a partnership between Vodafone and Wasps rugby club, where they used 5G – underpinned by full fibre - to transform the fan experience at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry (which benefits from a connection to CityFibre’s network). For fans in #5Gamechanger seats, they were able to use a smartphone to livestream footage from 360° cameras around the pitch and enjoy an augmented reality experience at half-time.

Rapid growth of home broadband has changed all of our lives and has had a transformative impact on the entertainment we consume. Netflix, which started life as a home DVD rental company, realised that with speeds continuing to get faster they could empower people to stream directly onto their screens. Now, Netflix is an industry giant. By the end of 2020, it had a total of 200 million subscribers, enormous revenue numbers and more than 500 new TV shows and movies preparing to launch.

be possible without robust broadband infrastructure, which is why CityFibre is working to bring full fibre technology to towns and cities across the UK, including across the Yorkshire region.

Also known as ‘Over The Top’ services, PWC predicts a surge in revenues in the space - from $46.4 billion in 2019 to $86.8 billion in 2024. In parallel, global data consumption is also predicted to rise significantly in that period, from 1.9 quadrillion megabytes to 4.9 quadrillion megabytes.

Full fibre networks, unlike many of the copper-based ‘fibre broadband’ services available, use 100% fibre optic cables to carry data at light speed all the way from the home to the connection point. This gives users speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps for upload and download, near limitless bandwidth and connectivity users can depend on.

This explosive growth wouldn’t

These networks won’t just make streaming T V and movies easier. According to a report, the UK video games market generated £7 billion in 2020, driven by increased use due to the pandemic. Of that, some £4.55 billion was spent on software and a staggering 85% was on digital rather than physical boxed games. T h a t g o e s s o m e w ay to understanding Sony’s decision to launch two versions of its next-gen PlayStation 5 console, one with a disc drive and one without. With the latter, that means games must be downloaded via the internet – and with games getting bigger, that puts enormous strain on digital infrastructure, unless you have gigabit-speeds powered by full fibre.

And further innovations are underway, like the 5G Festival project in Brighton which aims to stream live music gigs to audiences across the globe by integrating 5G into venues in the city. Again, none of these experiences would be possible without full fibre. With technology driving so much change in the entertainment landscape, it’s vital that Yorkshire has a digital infrastructure which supports the innovations we know are coming – and the ones we’re yet to discover. To find out more about CityFibre and our work in Yorkshire and to register your interest in services, visit cityfibre. com/gigabit-cities

TopicUK June 2021


Stafflex comment on ‘Umbrella Companies’ tax dodging report

N E W S U P D AT E “Stafflex has been approached by a number of umbrella companies over the years and explored the possibility, but we have never been convinced that the umbrella company model has approval from HMRC and neither have we trusted what we’ve been told. Essentially we don’t believe it is an ethical way to do business.” “As a result of this, we have always decided not to go down that route even though it would have saved the business a lot of money.” “We welcome the government’s recent guidance on umbrella company fraud. Putting a stop to this type of practice would certainly create a more level playing field for ourselves and other businesses still using the recommended PAYE scheme.

A new report from the BBC has again put the spotlight on schemes that create sham ‘umbrella companies’ that UK temporary workers are employed through, costing the UK “hundreds of millions of pounds” in lost taxes.

B B C Ra d i o 4 ’ s Fi l e o n 4 discovered more than 48,000 of these companies have been created in the past five years.

In s u ra n c e c o n t r i b u t i o n s. The allowance was meant to encourage companies to take on more workers.

Um b r e l l a c o m p a n i e s a r e typically set up as a standard limited company that acts as an “employer” on behalf of its contractor employees.

However, some recruitment agencies exploit the allowance b y e m p l o y i n g te m p o r a r y workers through a series of mini umbrella companies.

How does it work?

Each individual umbrella company has only a small number of workers and therefore qualifies for the tax relief. These kind of arrangements can cost the taxpayer

It works by exploiting the government’s Employment Allowance - an annual discount of £4,000 per company on National

hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue a year. Companies using this model can run the risk of potential liability for unpaid national insurance contributions as well as a number of other financial penalties. HMRC warned against them as early as 2015, saying schemes designed to exploit the Employment Allowance were “too good to be true” and “simply did not work”. Our stance on umbrella companies. Brian Stahelin, Managing Director at Stafflex commented: “In our 20 year history we have never used an umbrella company and we never will.

Industrial scale tax abuse. Jo M a u g h a m , a t a x Q C and the founde r of the c a m p a i g n i n g g ro u p t h e Good Law Project, said the number of companies File on 4 discovered were set up in this way was “staggering”. “It’s not as though this is some tiny piece of tax avoidance you know, where your local minicab firm isn’t declaring all of the fares that it receives. This is industrial scale tax abuse,” he said. “I mean it’s really absolutely extraordinary, hundreds of millions of pounds if not billions of pounds is likely to have been lost due to HMRC’s apparent disinclination to tackle this abuse.” TopicUK June 2021



The importance of quality website photography Lincoln & Perrin from TopicUK's officially appointed agency Roth Read Photography, contine to share their advice with us:

to a business looking unprofessional, inferior, and consequently by-passed. If you have any resolution doubts, two figures will simply determine if it is high-res (300dpi) or low-res (72dpi). Drop the stock Avoid taking the easy route and uploading stock images. Everyone else in the world has access to them (including your competitors). You may as well have a big banner across your website saying “Move along. Nothing to see here”. Your website is your virtual shop window. All those potential new customers’ little noses pressed up against the screen looking for an incentive to click in.

Feel a sense of pride in your website “My friend has a good camera, so he’s doing our website photography”. Crikey, even writing that causes us palpitations! Of course, a camera won’t take quality website photos any more than a laptop writes a best-selling novel. All the know-how is in the hands, heads and hearts of the professionals wielding the gear.

with SEO laden text and striking colours, and it is guaranteed your brand will ride high. Why do we love images?

Hiring a professional photographer will give you a sense of pride in your website photography. More importantly though, it represents the credibility of your business to every consumer.

Human beings are visual creatures so the brain registers images much quicker than text. Whether we are flicking through a magazine or jabbing on-line links, our brain is rapidly filtering images to determine what is interesting – and what isn’t.

Combine quality website photos

Furthermore, images are saved

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If you were a High Street shop, would you dress your window the same as your friendly neighbourhood rivals? No, that would be just plain crazy. in our long-term memory whereas text is saved in our short-term memory. As a result, biology turns your website photography into a rather powerful brand. All exciting stuff but before we get too giddy, every business needs their website photography to be remembered for the right reasons. Be clear and sharpen up in the digital world it is important to understand on-line resizing, file types, pixels, high-res, lowres. It can be exasperating.

Be authentic . . . be you! Authentic website photography creates an instant connection with the use r. A story te l l i n g i m a g e n o t o n l y generates interest but instils connection and trust. Now you are standing out from your competitors because you are relatable. In an emotional sense, when you meet in person, you have already invoked a sense of familiarity and confidence.

Lincoln & Perrin Worse still, poor quality Roth Read Photography website photography leads 





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N E W S U P D AT E £500 which was raised during a quiz night fundraiser KC Communications held during Huddersfield Business Week in 2019 and match funding from the agency.

PR agency makes £1000 donation to youth-focused CIC Huddersfield based PR and marketing agency, KC Communications has donated £1000 to community interest company, Conscious Youth CIC to support their work with young people. The financial donation will help fund Huddersfield based Conscious Youth’s Voices2Action programme which supports young people

from BAME and disadvantaged communities with the skills and resources to influence change in their community. The funds are made up of

In the six years since the agency was established, it has welcomed a significant number of young people, from high school to university students, into the business to enable them to gain vital work experience helping them on a path to a successful career, including students from BAME backgrounds. KC Communications commitment to the development of young people was recognised earlier this year by the National Graduate Recruitment Awards following a nomination from the University of Huddersfield. Commenting on the donation, managing director Katrina Cliffe said “Having raised funds in 2019, we have been actively seeking out a local organisation who would benefit from an injection of cash and would

make a real difference to the lives of young people locally. “We have welcomed a number of students from BAME backgrounds over the years and witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement, it felt natural for us to support an organisation which supports young people to widen the opportunities available to them. “I look forward to seeing how the Voices2Action programme develops and seeing these young people develop into adults that make a positive difference to our local community”. Sophie Simpson, CEO of Conscious Youth added “We are extremely grateful for the support KC Communications has provided, which will allow more young people in the local area to access our upcoming programme to provide them with a range of skills to support them in both their career choices and community impact.”


Enjoy a delicious, seasonal menu of locally and sustainably sourced produce in the restaurant this spring. Browse the shop and visit The Weston Gallery to explore an exhibition of rare prints by Joan Miró Book a table at The Restaurant today 01924 930004 |

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The Media Centre begins hunt for new CEO The Media Centre is welcoming applications for a new CEO, as current leader Brent Woods announces his departure in July following 12 years with the not-for-profit organisation. He is leaving to take up the role of director of The Yorkshire and North East Film Archive. Since joining The Media Centre in 2009, Brent has connected hundreds of West Yorkshire businesses in a bid to foster collaboration and growth within the town. Home to almost 200 companies – spread across the Northumberland and Lord Street buildings – The Media Centre is a social enterprise that reinvests all profits into nurturing business startups and young people, as well as the region’s arts and culture scene. Speaking ahead of his departure, Brent Woods said: “I have enjoyed an incredible twelve years leading The Media Centre up to its 25th anniversary. We’ve reached new audiences and communities and helped countless people to

develop their creative confidence by building the right environment for people and ideas to come together. “Now, as The Media Centre enters a new era as a contemporary, flexible workspace, I am excited to offer the reigns to someone who will drive this remarkable organisation into its next chapter.” Providing a hybrid of serviced offices, co-working, and meeting spaces – as well as support for digital and creative businesses in Huddersfield – The Media Centre has seen significant growth in recent months, with brands eager to find a ‘home’ that encourages collaboration and networking between tenants and the wider region.

Brent will oversee the appointment of his replacement, with applications now open at

AMS Media Group appointed as Northern’s new media agency Train operator Northern Trains has appointed AMS Media Group as its media agency, following a competitive tendering process. The Leeds agency team will work with Northern to build awareness and understanding of the brand and promote services across the north. The £4m brief covers a broad mix of media from outdoor to broadcast and paid social media. Claire Rowland, head of sales and marketing at Northern, said: “As we hopefully return to some normality, it is important we have a partner that can be flexible, that can be adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers. We hired AMS Media Group because of their data-led approach and strong audience insight, allied with really strong

regional media relationships that set them apart.”

in a generation that is transforming travel in the north of England.

Northern recently announced the introduction of its 100th brand new train, which is part of the most extensive modernisation programme

Steve Empson, director of AMS Group Leeds, said: “It’s now more important than ever to bring a deep understanding of the client’s

business, audience and media landscape as things are changing so quickly, flexibility and agility are key to delivering impactful and relevant campaigns. We have a fantastic, experienced client-focused team at AMS that gets this totally.” TopicUK June 2021




for the economic health of the region’s export markets and the latest reading saw a modest improvement in export conditions faced by businesses.

Taking a look at Yorkshire’s economic and recruitment activity in the manufacturing sector.

The upturn was primarily driven by sharp activity expansion in the US and the Netherlands

Spotlight inYorkshire – Q1 2021

Demand for skills Recruitment agencies in the region reported encountering skills shortages in the following areas: •

Drivers including FLT

Machine Operators

Warehouse Operative

Stafflex’s perspective

Solid performance in the manufacturing sector is a crucially important for the economic recovery in Yorkshire.

how the sector is performing in terms of economic activity:

The manufacturing sector in Yorkshire is regarded as an integral economic activity in the region as well as across the UK, providing countless jobs and stimulating development in key areas such as trade, transport, communication, education and technology.

& Humber private sector showed a slight recovery in February, posting a renewed expansion in activity. Although growth was only modest overall, the region remained one of the strongest performers in the UK.”


Machinery & Equipment **


Food & Drink **


Metals ***

“Firms are now beginning to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and are planning for an economic recovery expected later this year.”


Textiles & Clothing ***


Wood & Paper **


Transport Equipment *

Research from Siemens Financial Services (SFS) estimates that the manufacturing sector in Yorkshire is just over 15 per cent of the region’s total economic output with over 12,000 manufacturers operating in the area. Richard Topliss, Chairman of NatWest North Regional Board, said: “After January’s lockdowninduced downturn, the Yorkshire

Sector activity Based on the NatWest Yorkshire & Humber PMI sector specialisation data, we can breakdown manufacturing to show which sectors have a greater economic footprint than others, and also

Growing sectors:

Declining sectors:

Number of * indicates the size of sector in relation to others in the region

Exports Yorkshire & Humber Export Climate Index is an indicator

Gill North, Industrial manager at Stafflex commented: “There are signs of improvement albeit very slow in the manufacturing sector following a number of national lockdowns over the last 12 months.” “Employers are keen to recruit more local candidates for peace of mind that they will be able travel to work but we’re finding that candidates are reluctant to travel far without an increase to their wages. As a response to this some manufacturers are bucking the trend and offering higher salaries to attract a better calibre of candidates.” “We are also seeing manufacturers experiencing issues with their supply chain’s which has a knock-on effect on logistical operations such as waiting for shipment imports from overseas countries like China. For further information, contact Nemi Alexis, Marketing Manager at Stafflex on 01484 351010 or at

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N E W S U P D AT E Her eye for detail and impressive organisational skills will ensure that our clients find us easy to deal with, and also facilitate the smooth running of the business.”

Regulatory and quality consultancy to the global healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector, Wo o d l e y B i o R e g, i n Huddersfield, has made two new appointments following its continued growth – and to assist in meeting its long-term strategic business goals. Michelle Hirst has been appointed as a CMC quality consultant, bringing over 15 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical sector to the role. Joining Woodley BioReg from Thornton and Ross, also in Huddersfield, Michelle will be responsible for maintaining quality documentation on behalf of clients in both the drug and medical device sectors, as well as supporting their regulatory activities. The company has also appointed Jo Priestley as administration manager, heading up support for the consultancy – offering, and

Duo of hires for Regulatory Affairs Consultancy Woodley BioReg ensuring exemplary service for clients at all times. Ash Ramzan, founder and principal consultant at Woodley BioReg, commented: “We’re thrilled to have Michelle and Jo join the team, and help us to continue to serve our clients and grow our operations.

“Michelle will play an integral part in the delivery of our quality management services, with her wealth of knowledge and expertise which I’m confident will add value to all of her client projects. “Jo’s appointment comes at a time when our client base is growing.

Michelle Hirst commented: “I’m delighted to join the team at Woodley BioReg, and eager to take on the new challenges the role entails. I’m keen to put my experience in process validation and formulation, clinic trials, and pharmaceutical manufacturing to good use.” The key hires will play an integral role in the rollout of Woodley BioReg’s services to customers globally, and extend its service offering.Sophie Simpson, CEO of Conscious Youth added “We are extremely grateful for the support KC Communications has provided, which will allow more young people in the local area to access our upcoming programme to provide them with a range of skills to support them in both their career choices and community impact.”

CELEBRATING 20 YRS IN RECRUITMENT We’ve been powering Yorkshire’s workforce since 2000.










Contact us to discuss your staffing requirements…

01484 35 10 10


Non-payment of child maintenance: What happens if a parent doesn’t pay?

any arrears the paying parent already owes, though you could approach the court to enforce the consent order and recover the debt.

Zahra Nawaz, Associate Solicitor at Eaton Smith’s family law team If you arranged child maintenance through the CMS

Under a child maintenance arrangement, child maintenance is usually paid by the parent who does not have day-today care of the child or does not usually live with the child.

If the CMS collects maintenance from the paying parent on your behalf through ‘Collect and Pay’, they will know if payments have been missed. After trying to agree on a repayment schedule with the paying parent, they will use the enforcement measures outlined above to secure the arrears.

If this payment is not forthcoming, the receiving parent could launch a civil legal claim. However, this option is expensive and still leaves the issue of ensuring the paying parent complies with the judgment. Instead, where possible, you, as the receiving parent, can approach the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which has wide-ranging powers of enforcement. What measures can the CMS take if a parent fails to pay?

If the paying parent has agreed to pay you directly, known as ‘Direct Pay’, the CMS will need to be informed of non-payment before they can take action.

paying parent to recover the debt. They could:

When will the CMS act?

The CMS can secure payment using a range of powers, including: •

Ordering the paying parent’s employer to make a deduction from their wages or pension Instructing the paying parent’s bank or building society to take regular payments or a lump sum from their account

Use an ‘order for sale’ to sell the paying parent’s assets or property and take the proceeds

Place the paying parent’s debt on the Register o f Ju d g m e n t s , O rd e r s a n d Fi n e s , w h i c h w i l l hinder them from getting a mortgage, credit card or loan

Taking the paying parent to court to recover arrears via a liability order •

What is a liability order? A liability order allows the CMS to take legal action against the

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Negotiate payment using bailiffs, or ask them to seize and sell the paying parent’s belongings

Revoke the paying parent’s passport or driving licence, or prevent them from getting one

@topic_uk   @topic_uk

Send the paying parent to prison

When the CMS will act will de pe nd on whethe r you reached a private child maintenance agreement or if your agreement was arranged through the CMS. If you reached a private or ‘family-based’ agreement If a private arrangement for child maintenance has broken down due to non-payment, the CMS can step in to collect ongoing child maintenance. This is provided the arrangement was made legally binding via a consent order at least 12 months prior. The CMS cannot recoup 

Has COVID-19 affected how the CMS approaches non-payment? The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many parents’ ability to pay child maintenance. If a paying parent claims to be unable to pay due to an income reduction, the CMS may reassess their liability. In cases where the parent’s income has been reduced by 25% due to COVID-19, the CMS will make adjustments to maintenance calculations. What happens if the paying parent is furloughed? If a paying parent is in receipt of the 80% furlough payment, they will be expected to pay maintenance in full. The CMS will implement enforcement m e a s u re s i f p ay m e n t i s not forthcoming.



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Getting out of a lease

Ramsdens Solicitors

Kirsty Jackson

Businesses who lease premises but whose workforce may not all return to work when COVID-19 restrictions are eased are considering whether to look for smaller premises, or to reduce the space they rent – but need to know how they can get out of their existing lease, or vary it, to achieve what they want. What are your options? Options depend on your lease. You may be able to: •

Terminate the lease, under a break clause.

Negotiate termination with the landlord.

Serve notice to terminate if near to or at the end of contractual term.

Surrender the lease.

Assign the lease – i.e. sell it on to a new tenant.

Sub-let the premises, or part of them.

Termination under a break clause: If you can terminate at a specified point, because there is a ‘break clause’ in your lease, you may have no continuing liabilities to the landlord. Check the notice you have to give – often it will be six months - and that you have complied with conditions in the lease, such as keeping the premises in repair. Note that even the smallest of breaches may lose you the right to terminate. The courts have been very strict – for example: •

You often cannot give notice by email.

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Mail is often only deemed to arrive several days after you actually post it, even if in fact it arrives earlier.

If the lease says you have to give vacant possession when you leave, you may be in breach if you leave anything at all behind, such as partitioning that you installed.

If the break falls between quarterly rental payment dates you often have to pay the full quarter’s rent in advance in any event, rather than just an apportioned sum.

This last issue can be a particular trap if there has been an informal agreement that rent will be paid monthly, to help cash flow. If you do not want to leave, but only reduce the space you rent, the fact a break clause is coming up will help you significantly. Your landlord may be willing to let you reduce the space you rent, or move to a different, smaller part of the premises for less rent.

It is possible that under the terms of your lease the COVID pandemic gives you grounds to end the lease, but that would be very unusual.

that after the end of a contractual term they will continue by virtue of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA 1954). It is possible to simply give up possession and fully vacate the premises at the end of the contractual term but this can carry risk. You can serve a section 27 notice to expire on the contractual expiry date (not before) providing at least three months’ notice is given. You can also serve the notice to expire after the contractual expiry date, again providing three months’ notice is given. This process can be quite technical and there are limitations on when a section 27 notice can be served.

Termination if near to or at the end of contractual term: Some leases are protected which means

Assigning: Finding a new tenant to take over your lease - someone to ‘assign’ it to - is usually the best

The number of businesses looking to get out of leases may mean your landlord is reluctant to let you go, if they think they will struggle to find a replacement tenant. Be prepared for hard negotiations. It is likely to be only slightly easier if you want to stay but reduce the space you occupy.

‘Help to build’ the start of a building Revolution? On the 24th April the Housing Secretary announced his plans to provide 150 million pounds in government funding to make it easier for people to build their own homes, whether it be commissioned, made-toorder or a personal design, with the aim of enabling more people to get onto the housing ladder. This is to be known as the ‘Help to Build’ Scheme. The Government believes that in providing such a scheme, a further 30-40,000 homes per year could be built, thus contributing to the already buoyant housing market as well as benefiting smaller building firms.

Termination - no break clause: If you can negotiate termination with your landlord, you may have no ongoing liabilities to them. They will try to get you to pay costs such as fees for terminating payment of their professional fees and payment for repairs and redecoration.

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Although further details are yet to 

NA EW U TP T DEART SE LEG L SM A way of realising any value it has. However, leases for fewer than three years often prohibit assignment or you may need your landlord’s consent (although usually it cannot be unreasonably withheld). There may also be restrictions on use that limit who you can assign to. If you can assign, you will usually have legal liabilities for all future payments owed by future tenants, or have to guarantee some or all of the next tenant’s payments. The landlord will try to negotiate other payments from you that you may be able to pass on or share with the new tenant. Assignment negotiations can cost more and take longer than negotiations to terminate. First, you have to find the new tenant, and may have to pay an agent to help. Second, you have to negotiate with both the new tenant (issues such as who will pay the landlord’s professional fees, and will the new tenant pay you a premium or vice versa?) and the landlord. be revealed by the Government, the Help to Build Scheme would be set to work in the following way: •

Builders are to secure a mortgage with a 5% deposit

The mortgage lender would provide the further 95% of the funding needed

On completion of the build the government would then provide to the lender 20% of the cost of the build, thus reducing the outstanding mortgage to 75%.

Lindsey Frith, Partner and Head of Conveyancing at Ramsdens commented: “Similar in its nature to the Help to Buy Equity Loan

If your lease has less than two years to run it is often better to negotiate to terminate the lease, to avoid the costs and risks of assigning it. Sub-letting: Rental from subletting could cover part or all of your rent and leave you free to move but sub-letting won’t get you out of the lease - you retain all your liabilities as a tenant and you have the additional burden of managing your sub-tenant. Sub-letting may not be allowed check the lease for restrictions on sub-letting - or you may need the landlord’s consent. You cannot usually get around the prohibition by licensing space to someone else rather than sub-letting, as licensing will usually be prohibited in the lease too. Surrendering: In better times landlords will often allow a tenant to surrender their lease – simply ending it – but this is unlikely to be attractive to them unless they have other plans for the property, which has contributed to the boost in the supply and demand of new build homes, it was deemed that a similar scheme should be made available for self-built homes, as custom built homes continue to grow in popularity throughout the U.K. However, the key difference here being that the loan is paid to the mortgage lender on completion of the self-build, rather than to the builder on legal completion of the sale. Although more details are yet to be released by the Housing Secretary in due course, this scheme can be viewed as an apparent commitment from the Government into the diversification of the housing sector. The scheme has been described as being a ‘game changer’ for self-

such as developing it. If they have to find another tenant if you leave, surrender is not an attractive option for them. If you have a new tenant lined up for the landlord, it will help greatly. You can surrender, and the landlord can grant a new lease to the new tenant (as opposed to you assigning the existing lease to them for the remainder of its term).

landlord’s shoes and consider the following: •

Are there any potential reliable new tenants out there for your premises? The more there are, the more reasonable the landlord is likely to be with you.

D oes the landlord have cashflow problems? If so, the landlord may want a quick agreement.

Has the landlord breached the lease? Use that in your negotiations.

You need judgment, experience and a good knowledge of the local market so use both your own - and your adviser’s negotiating skills.

No matter how the lease comes to an end, there can often be termination liabilities. For example: •


Reinstatement of premises

Further rent payable depending on the termination date and how lease has come to an end

Check your lease for termination liabilities. Kirsty Jackson, Head of Commercial Property at Ramsdens commented: “Whether negotiating an assignment or termination, put yourself in the

It is crucial when considering the best way to end your lease to seek legal advice at an early stage as there are often technical issues which need to be considered.”

builders and is a step in the right direction for those that may have struggled to get the necessary funding previously.”

Lindsey Frith TopicUK June 2021


for all your legal needs, call your local solicitors


with 14 offices across Yorkshire, we’re never too far away

01484 821 500


ULaw responds to challenges facing students navigating a ‘post-pandemic’ job market The ramifications of the pandemic on employment opportunities for young people have been significant, from a reduction in part-time jobs to the impracticalities of undertaking work experience. The Office for National Statistics notes that workers aged 18-24 have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, experiencing the largest decrease in employment (2020).

impact of the digital age on the law. This enables students to leave their studies well prepared to handle the impact technology continues to have on business.

Career support and training

Pastoral Support

Although virtual solutions mitigated the impact of the pandemic on work experience, an accurate insight into day-to-day working life can be difficult to replicate online. Today’s job-seeking challenges mean that Law students are understandably anxious about their job prospects as they near the end of their degrees.

Today’s graduating classes have faced unprecedented challenges. Although here in the UK the successful rollout of the vaccination programme gives reason for cautious optimism, we cannot accurately describe the current climate as ‘postpandemic.’ The ravages of COVID-19 continue to be felt across the globe and we are particularly focused on supporting those students with personal connections to countries whose populations continue to be hardest hit.

The University of Law provides essential career support to help our students make informed choices about their futures and to support them in the application and interview process. This support involves career-focused offerings that respond to challenges and tap into trends, such as developing a session to help students identify opportunities in the current legal market. The event is designed to help students recognise that most practitioners experience cycles of boom and bust throughout their professional lives and to instil students with the confidence to succeed in a rigorous application process. Emily Roach, a former City-based Restructuring lawyer and Tutor at ULaw helped to develop the session having worked through the 2008 financial crisis. Emily commented, “financial shocks occur more frequently than students might expect. We want to capture how


the demand for legal expertise in a particular field is rarely static. Even in times of economic strength, the legal profession constantly responds to shifting demands.” Adapting to a changing profession Many students are already well equipped to demonstrate key qualities that employers look for. The current upheaval to their mode of study enables students to demonstrate their resilience and ability to adapt. Throughout their careers lawyers will experience cyclical busyness levels across

practice and employers recognise adaptability as an essential quality which ensures lawyers will continue to thrive when markets are in flux. The ability to adapt also demonstrates that students are well positioned to respond to new innovations that reflect the rapid pace of change in the legal profession. This includes technological innovations. Today’s tech-savvy students are well versed in the digital and intersections between Technology and Law are emphasised throughout contemporary legal study. ULaw has developed modules that reflect the

Despite the challenges faced by many young people today, our hope is that through career-orientated initiatives and pastoral support, we can encourage our students to think optimistically and creatively about their professional futures. The legal profession is changing by the day, and we remain confident that with guidance from our network of legal practitioners, our current cohort of students will be well placed to discover unexpected opportunities ahead. TopicUK June 2021


LNEEGWASL UMPADTATTEER S the victim of financial abuse with some immediate finances to be able to support themselves and also any children. Security in the form of housing is also a must at the outset of a case as it can take many months to bring about a final settlement. An occupation order may be necessary to provide that security. This can provide for the controlling spouse to vacate the family home and it might also be necessary to consider a non-molestation order to restrict contact between the parties to prevent the financial control continuing. Concerns around whether a perpetrator is continuing to control the finances through moving assets around in an attempt to hide them can be addressed by applying for an injunction to freeze certain assets and also forensically assessing their financial disclosure documents such as bank statements to try and trace any additional assets which have not been properly disclosed.

Divorce & Financial Abuse

Abuse can take many forms, one of which is financial abuse. Like other forms of abuse our clients report that it is a build-up of coercive, manipulating and controlling behaviour over • a period of time.

being required to live on a small amount of money or an ‘allowance’

Examples of such behaviour can include: -

forbidden from working

forced to account for any purchases

being denied access to a joint account or even an account in their sole name;

being coerced into taking on a debt (loan/credit card) that they then don’t benefit from

It is not uncommon for economic abuse to be perpetrated alongside other forms of control and abuse.

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Access to money can be used as a means to prevent one party leaving a relationship. It is common for perpetrators to try and prevent a divorce/separation through financial control and threatening unrealistic outcomes such as “you’ll be left with nothing” or “you’ll never find my money” or even “you haven’t contributed anything”. Within the context of divorce it can often be necessary to secure some form of interim maintenance early on in the case to provide

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It is also quite usual for financial abuse to continue during the divorce and financial settlement proceedings with perpetrators often refusing to provide disclosure of their own financial circumstances, moving assets around to try to hide them and continuing to control funds available to the other spouse. Other organisations that can provide advice and support to victims of financial abuse: •

National Domestic A b u s e He l p l i n e w w w.

Surviving Economic Abuse

Money Advice Service www.

Department for work & pensions


Claims on estates what does this mean?

By Section 126 of the Social Security Act 1992, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can investigate the assets held by a deceased after they have passed away. This usually takes place where the individual who has passed away was in receipt of means tested benefits so that the DWP can compare what the individual declared they owned at the time of applying for the benefits with what was owned at the date of death. If the figures do not match up, the DWP will likely require more information concerning the assets of the individual at the time they applied for those benefits to ensure that they were receiving the correct amount of benefits. If not, a sum of money may have to be repaid. A notification of an investigation usually arises after the Grant of Representation has been issued.

Can I just ignore this type of investigation? No, DWP investigations are treated as claims against the estate and the institution’s requests must be taken seriously. Due to the nature of the investigations, we do not recommend that an estate be distributed until the investigation has concluded. This is often frustrating for family members as the investigations can take some time, but it is important that compliance with the DWP is made.

What can I do if the bank or financial institution will not provide me with the information required?

declared to the DWP at the time of applying, disclosing this information now is important. What can we do to help?

If the deceased has been in receipt of means-tested benefits for many years, it may be that they applied for the benefits decades ago and the banks/financial institutions do not have records of the balances at that time. In this situation, ask the institution to provide the earliest balance possible. If you find a bank that was not

We can assist by advising you on the process of a DWP investigation and obtaining the relevant details from the institutions as at the date that they applied for the benefits to ensure a speedy response to any enquiries from the DWP. When we are dealing with the administration of an estate, we will automatically deal with the investigation as part of our service. TopicUK June 2021



Improving productivity is about your systems, not just your people

By: Tim Guest - Managing Director, Contedia

business. Better visibility leads to better predictability. There are numerous software available that are generic (, Trello, Asana, etc.), yet highly flexible and allow the work within the business to be visualised, giving others the opportunity to see what you’re doing and to react accordingly. Get creative and innovate.

As business owners and managers, whether the pressure is self-imposed or comes from above, we’re always looking to improve staff productivity – including our own. But our businesses, and those of us within them, are becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work. Most of our work, which can be buried in email and in our heads, is essentially invisible others. To achieve our goals of increased productivity we often default to training in one of the many and various time management and personal efficiency methods widely advertised. Whether by reading a best-selling book or arranging courses that are provided internally or via a third-party company, all too frequently we have a habit of focusing our attention on a sense that it’s our colleagues that need to ‘up their game’. However, no matter how well you organise your time and your inbox, with the explosion in the number of emails and other messages we receive in channels such as Teams, Slack, WhatsApp and so on, even the most organised employees can’t keep up. And, no matter how effective

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those personal productivity hacks are, their adoption can’t make enough of a difference in the business as a whole. Let’s be clear, it’s good to want to improve how individual employees manage their work and to benefit from improvements that come from having provided training and promoting adjusted behaviour. The greater challenge, though, isn’t with how productive individual employees are, but that productivity relies on the fact that staff don’t work in isolation. Because we work in businesses where efficiencies rely on complex interdependencies between data, processes and, of course, those responsible for managing the tasks therein, it is actually our systems that hold the key to the greatest continual improvement in productivity. Visibility is key. Our organisations operate uniquely,

even when comparing competing businesses that produce or deliver almost identical products or services. So, what works for one may not work for another when it comes to ‘systems’. Our systems comprise not only our documented and taught workflows and work instructions, but also the technology we use and how well we leverage it to improve efficiency, accuracy, consistency and therefore general productivity. Having, for example, a quality management system in place that has been crafted around the business and which is fit for purpose is of fundamental importance. It will inform, guide and instruct staff to carry out their roles, ensuring that the output is of a standard required – or if not, that it’s recorded, reviewed and reacted to. Embracing an ethos of continued monitoring, review and improvement will guarantee that over time you exercise every opportunity to improve productivity. But, in order to support this, you must seek ways in which you can better visualise work within the

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The pursuit of personal productivity gains is certainly healthy and worthwhile. However, unless you work independently outside of an organisation, most teachings will be of limited benefit. To make a real impact on productivity within your business you must work on its systems. It’s amazing what a difference to control a business can feel by having improved visibility of the work within it. It also allows management to reflect and identify opportunities for improved systems and processes. Perhaps the best thing you can do is to take the opportunities that become more apparent to you and apply technology to consolidate, standardise, simplify and help your workforce to become more productive. Then do it again, and again. Don’t stop after your first success. If you place a continued importance on raising yours and your colleagues’ awareness of the technology that’s available and that might be applied to your business in specific contexts, without attempting to become an expert yourself, you stand to reap huge rewards in productivity gains along the way.


Tileyard... a central pillar of the UK music industry” MUSIC BUSINESS WORLDWIDE

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Tileyard is a globally recognised creative community and is expanding to an extraordinary new space in Wakefield. Tileyard London is currently Europe’s largest creative community and home to over 250 creative organisations, artists and independent creative industry

businesses including a world leading music industry training facility. Amongst Tileyard London’s residents you’ll find the likes of The MOBO Awards and Joel Corry, The Prodigy, Hurts, Ella Eyre, Sigala, Platoon, AppleRadio, Spitfire Audio, Good Soldier, Marathon Artists, Notting Hill Music, Focusrite, Key Production, Devialet, Pioneer DJ, 13 Artists, Ultra Music, Maverick, and many more hitmakers, game changers, tastemakers and innovators.

In an exciting move representing significant investment, regeneration and job creation, Tileyard’s founders have begun work on their second site Tileyard North, based in Wakefield. Tileyard North will be a 135,000 sqft creative industries hub, based at Rutland Mills, which when re-generation is completed will transform the site into the UK’s largest creative community outside of London and will without doubt put Wakefield on the map as the

‘new creative destination in the North of England’. The regeneration plan will convert the space into a mixed-use, inclusive, creative and cultural cluster with world class facilities. The site is situated directly opposite the David Chipperfield’s Hepworth Gallery named ‘the most significant and exciting placefor sculpture in Europe’. This is the first Tileyard expansion outside of London. TopicUK June 2021


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E Let’s go back to the beginning, tell us the Tileyard Story, how did Tileyard London come to be?

Tileyard North The project represents significant investment by Tileyard into the buildings to create recording studios, post production studios, flexible workspaces, creative edit suites, an education space, delicious food and beverage offerings and aspirations for a hotel, along with investment into the public realm to form a new 30,000 sqft central courtyard/event space fully open to the public along with a new riverside walkway and improvement to the River Calder flood defences.

Tileyard founders Paul Kempe and Nick Keynes aim to promote creative inclusivity and unification across the North of England. The site will also bridge the gap between the professional creative community in London and the North. The goal is to offer more creative space and opportunities for businesses to grow and flourish in the North, whilst still retaining a relationship and stake in the London creative scene. Tileyard North will also feature a second site for Tileyard Education,a post-graduate and professional training facility housing a world-

class recording studio, tech lab, production songwriting rooms and lecture spaces. Tileyard Education delivers a suite of University validated Postgraduate programmes in Songwriting, Production, Music Business and Design alongside professional songwriting camps and events that connect aspiring creatives with industry professionals. The investment in this development is estimated to be over £40million and work commenced in April 2020. This has been backed and supported with funding of £2.89 million from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal. Investment has also come from Wakefield Council who have been a major contributor to the project. During the build the project will generate in excess of 150 construction jobs. Once completed it is estimated the first phase will provide 250+ jobs in the creative, leisure and education sectors, rising to 500+ jobs once the development is completed. Tileyard hopes it will house and support the most innovative creative companies the North has to offer, providing them with a thriving community.

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Paul: The Tileyard story started 14 years ago when I was introduced to some land and a set of buildings just north of King’s Cross, on a mostly empty light industrial estate on Tileyard road. The timing was not great as we exchanged just before Lehman`s crashed and just managed to complete which was the start of the financial crisis. The conventional office market collapsed such that we could not give the space away. It was clear that we had to look at the space in a completely different way which was the beginning of Tileyard London. Five years earlier I had invested in a small music production company as I loved music and wanted to get more involved in the sector. The production company was run by Nick Keynes and Michael Harwood who used to be in a band called Ultra and after hosting some a&r events at Tileyard we decided to see whether we could create a new music community at Tileyard as there was no possibility of letting the space conventionally. As the music industry was traditionally based in West London people thought we were mad wanting to start such a venture in Kings Cross but I was aware of the of the regeneration plans for Kings Cross and felt sure that if we could get the offering correct we could build something very special and unique within the UK. The key to success was the curation of the community to ensure that we had the right mix of creative and likeminded occupiers and this was Nick’s primary role in the early days. Michael and Nick’s company also moved to Tileyard and was rebranded as Tileyard Music, our inhouse music company that Michael now runs. Fast forward over 10 years and we now have over 120 music studio’s,

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E 250 plus independent music companies and on any pre-covid day we would expect to see over 1500 creatives at Tileyard. we have also developed Tileyard Education which offers MA music courses within the music industry, our own fitness and wellness company and our social impact company but most importantly of all we have organically developed an exceptional community of talented and creative individuals who work collaboratively together. So, why Tileyard North? Paul: We have always been interested in opening up a Tileyard North as there is so much inherent talent in the north but there has never been a central hub to provide world class facilities and the space for people to collaborate and thrive together. The reason we chose Wakefield was that I was invited to the Hepworth Wakefield by a friend who had moved from the Royal Academy to become deputy director at the Hepworth and after having experienced this exceptional gallery I became aware of the beautiful but totally dilapidated mill building’s directly opposite the gallery and immediately started enquiring as to why they had not been developed and following an introduction to the then Wakefield council leader Peter Box, the conversations started to grow further. Peter is a music lover, so we bought him down to Tileyard London for a tour of the site, and he really connected with our vision for the site. Six years later after a myriad of meetings with the local authority we obtained planning and listed building consent for the regeneration of the site. Despite this being a complex and difficult scheme we have had unwavering support from Wakefield Council.

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Wakefield have always understood and supported our vision for the site and their enthusiasm and support has been a key factor in us deciding to create Tileyard North in Wakefield. So what can we expect to see in phase one in January 2022? Paul: January 2022 will see the beginning of a new destination for Wakefield and the surrounding

areas and will bring a combination of professional recording studios, our music university Tileyard education who will be delivering masters programmes, creative office space, a cafe, an event space and a boutique hotel. Our vison for Tileyard North is that it becomes a destination for creative’s not just in Wakefield but further afield where we can offer our occupiers something more than just a space, but rather a creative hub and

vibrant community where people can work, meet, eat and stay. Tileyard North will be wholly inclusive so we look forward to welcoming creatives of all descriptions as well as the local community and the 250,000 art lovers who visit the Hepworth every year so that everyone can experience the bars, cafes and restaurants that will form part of our offering. TopicUK June 2021






Tell us about the Tileyard Story from your perspective? Nick: I started my journey in music as a musician myself, I was bassist in a 90’s pop band Ultra - which was an amazing experience and gave me a great insight into the music business. We were actually quite successful - selling nearly half a million albums - but we were also dropped (twice) by our label, so myself and ex-band mate Michael Harwood decided to call it a day and work out how we could use our passion in music to stay in business and remain creative.


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Nick Keynes

We were working out of our homes for some time, and decided to take the next step, so we bought a building in West London and built 6 studios, this was the catalyst for Tileyard. Then a chance meeting with Paul Kempe in 2007 was a life-changing experience for us, as he had the passion for music and the creative arts as we did, but we also had the business sense to support our idea and invested. I like to tell Paul that it was the smartest business decision he ever made investing in us . Partnering with Paul Kempe opened so many possibilities for us. He offered us space to run some music education events, in an estate he’d acquired on ‘Tileyard Road’, and everything after that began to fall into place. Paul asked us to help curate the estate and start to build out the initial phases of the site, and whilst everyone thought it was a crazy idea at the time, we started with 5 studios and just a couple of businesses and the community just grew organically. The rest is very much history as they say! What is your day to day role for Tileyard? Nick: Haha! That is a hard one to

define. I am like a glorified tour guide - the man on the ground, showing people around the site, my key responsibility is bringing in exciting new tenants. I really enjoy meeting with the current residents, seeing what they’re up to and how I can help to support them as well as connect them to other businesses to help to grow the collaborative element of Tileyard. I love working with people, it is the best part of my job. Coming down to Wakefield and meeting all the

talent and enthusiasm of the local people on the project has been an absolute highlight. I’m excited to see what the next 2 years brings for the project.

industries, it is why we call ourselves the ‘tastemakers and gamechangers.’ We like to support independent and interesting businesses doing interesting things, and facilitate their growth.

What does Tileyard mean to you? Nick: For me, Tileyard is about community, collaboration and storytelling. The stories made at Tileyard are the essence of its success. But also, Tileyard is about being at the forefront of trends within the creative and tech

But, Tileyard is also about inclusivity, we are always looking at new and innovative ways to continue to engage with local communities and offer events to connect people to the creative industries, this is something we’re looking forward to bringing to Wakefield.’



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“I knew I would need support to bridge my own skills gap. I had done business development before, but I had no understanding of certain things like admin or raising finance,” says Casey. Casey wanted help to grow the business and move into markets around the world, as well as within the UK. He was given a mentor, Alice Ingram, and access to AD:VENTURE’s support programmes.

“Bee keeping is really important in Africa. If you can improve pollination and improve yields and have less need for herbicides and pesticides, you can actually go a long way towards alleviating poverty and hunger.” “In the long term, we see ourselves as a pollinator brand, also working with wild bees, and not just a brand for beekeepers,” says Casey. As well as running the business, he uses his passion to give talks to schools about the role of bees.

Results AgriSound was set up in January 2020 by Dr Casey Woodward, who is an expert in animal health and agriculture. Casey, who had studied at the University of York, before doing a PhD at Hull University, was working with companies looking at using sensors in livestock farming to optimise animal health and productivity.

Casey attended a range of workshops on topics including marketing and finance, and was given one-to-one support by Alice.

“For people using bees for pollination, early detection of changes can lead to quicker treatment. And quicker treatment leads to healthier pollinator numbers.

AgriSound was awarded a £3,000 grant by AD:VENTURE to pay for a 3D printer, and also given a grant by Innovate UK through the Sustainable Innovation Fund.

“And if you think that without pollinators, bees, butterflies, moths and other bugs, we’d lose more than 70 per cent of all food crops, you can see why their welfare is so important.”

AgriSound’s operations manager Samantha Jackson joined Accelerate, which is a six-month programme of support including pre-recorded masterclasses, weekly live webinars and one-to-one support, along with advice on grants and funding. Casey says Accelerate has clearly had an impact.

He realised that very few organisations were using technology to monitor bees, which are generally kept in beehives in remote areas. With more than 90 million beehives across the world and more and more people taking up bee-keeping in lockdown, Casey thought there was a gap in the market. As well as bee keeping for honey, Casey was interested in the vital role bees play in pollinating food crops, particularly in developing countries, but also with high yield crops such as almonds, cashews and coffee, as well as beans and other legumes. “Bees are not often seen as livestock or as a simple solution to improve crop productivity for farmers. So, when it comes to innovation and research into their welfare, they fall between the two. But healthy insects support pollination that is vital for many farmers,” says Casey.

The sensors that AgriSound supply will monitor factors like humidity, temperature and weight of hives, then analyse that information and send it via 3/4G to the client. New innovations by the company are also allowing the automatic detection of wild pollinators in the field which will support sustainable agricultural practices. The company, which is currently a team of five, is headquartered in York. Project objectives

“Our technology means both new and experienced beekeepers can gain an understanding of what is going on inside the hive, and can protect against disease, predation and losses.

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Casey turned to AD:VENTURE because he realised he needed support with the practicalities of running a business.

“Since Samantha went on the programme she’s implemented protocols and procedures that we needed. She’s made sure we are Covid-secure and developed a new company handbook for employees. I’d recommend sending staff on the programme. It has made a great difference to us.” The company now has clients around the world, including in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and closer to home in western Europe. And Casey is particularly keen to work in Africa.

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The medium-term plan is to grow to a team of 20 within the next 18 months. Feedback “We’ve had lots of support from AD:VENTURE and their help has been really valuable. Working with them has helped us open lots of new doors and make new contacts,” says Casey. “And it is about supporting the whole company, you get support for the team, which has been amazing and led to some real growth. “It has also been about bringing small businesses in York together and linking us with other schemes, such as Make It York. So, as well as the direct support we have had, AD:VENTURE is also brilliant at putting local businesses in touch with each other. “I really recommend anyone setting up a business turns to AD:VENTURE for help.”

Halifax BID - keeping business working safely together Since last March we’ve been working hard to help Halifax businesses operate safely and overcome the serious impacts of COVID-19. We’ve had to react quickly, think on our feet and constantly adapt our operations and strategies, which is why addressing the pandemic has – quite rightly – been such a priority for us.

The complex process of preparing for a ballot is dictated by strict regulations, which legally require us to prepare well ahead. There’s no time to lose, because as early as August we need to have agreed and formulated our new business plan for the next five years, taking into account the views of those levypayers who accept our invitation to express them. Of course, we’re keen for all levy-payers to vote in the ballot itself, partly because it’s a way of acknowledging all of the hard work already undertaken by many of the businesses themselves, as well as by the team at BID. More importantly though, it’s also levypayers’ big chance to express support for our proposed future strategies and activities, and their only chance to make absolutely sure that our exciting new plans for the town will actually happen.

Despite this, we’ve remained conscious that this year sees us go to a renewal ballot for Halifax BID, so it’s also been important for us to focus on the future and develop ambitious yet workable strategies for implementing over the years ahead. A big part of this is making sure that we help businesses understand how they can have more say in our plans for the future. Giving levy-payers the chance to be involved in our decisions has always been crucial, and right now this is particularly true, given the likelihood of another five years during which we can continue our transformation of Halifax into a brilliant place to run a business. In light of this great opportunity, we’ve regularly invited every business to join various working groups, and we’re reiterating these invitations now. We want as many businesses as possible – from all over Halifax and every different sector – to join the groups, and especially our two newly established ones. The Halifax Experience Working Group covers areas like safety, accessibility and appearance: key elements that make our town great to visit. Meanwhile, a Marketing and Promotions Working Group focusses on the vital task

N E W S U P D AT E and behind-the-scenes work gets the recognition it deserves. We’re hoping for at least 30% of businesses to complete and return the survey, with a deadline of early June.

of promoting the town and its businesses, now more important than ever. Topics like events, communications, loyalty schemes and business support all fall under this group. Our working groups offer the perfect forum for every levy-payer to express any views, ideas or concerns; it really is their best chance to help shape our town’s future. Halifax businesses wishing to have their say should contact us as soon as possible.

We’ve achieved many wide-ranging successes since our beginnings in 2017, but it’s vital that we don’t slow down now. With this in mind, we’ve sent every levy-payer a detailed and comprehensive survey to canvas their views about Halifax and their own priorities going forwards. We’ve also included a special section to help gauge levy-payers’ awareness of the work we’ve been doing over the years, so we can make sure in the future that our less publicised

Halifax has expe rie nced an exceptionally challenging period that has significantly set back the town’s pre-COVID progress. Still, with a new 5-year BID term on our hands, we’ll get a golden opportunity to use our fantastic ideas, resources and determination to bounce back as a stronger, more attractive and more resilient destination, over the years to come.

01422 360035 Somerset House, Rawson Street, Halifax HX1 1NH

TopicUK June 2021



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‘As a teenager I had the best job in the world’ Backstage Academy is the leading live event production educational facility located on the Production Park campus just outside Wakefield. The Academy’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, which have been running since 2009, provide the academic and hands-on qualifications to secure a career in the booming live events industries. The team is headed up by head of institution, vice principal Rachel Nicholson. TopicUK recently caught up with Rachel to find out a little more about her work in this fast moving and exciting industry. Aged just 15, Rachel secured a job as the assistant projectionist at Blackfriars Arts Centre in Boston Lincolnshire. “I would put together and screen the films; learning to splice the film together and switch lenses for cinema scope films and editing the adverts of the week,” she explained.

“Our cinema was part of the Pearl and Dean distribution network, so every time I hear the classic Pearl and Dean intro, it takes me right back to being a teenager and watching the films back to front from behind the screen, with as much free coffee as I could drink. As a film mad teenager, it was probably the best job in the world!” Growing up, Rachel wanted to train as a cinematographer and work in the film industry. “It was my dream to be the first female cinematographer / director of a James Bond film,” TopicUK June 2021


S PE EWCSI AUL PF D N E AT U E RE she laughed. “My mum got the prospectus of the NFTS, but at the time, the courses were all post graduate. I called to ask them what course I should consider taking to secure a place and they said I should choose something that involved lighting, so I applied for the only lighting degree course in the UK, which resulted in me gaining a BA (Hons) Lighting Design & MA Theatre Practice (Digital Scenography) at Rose Bruford College, a drama school in South East London. I then went on to gain my teaching qualification from the University of Greenwich.”

Skilled Rachel joined Backstage Academy at the end of 2018. Prior to this she worked at a variety of venues including Sadlers Wells and the National Theatre. Rachel was also the external examiner for the Live Visual Design and Production

Typically people who work backstage are not the focus of attention, in fact we spend a lot of time trying not to be seen ...’

Course, so she was already familiar with Backstage Academy. “I began working in education in 2002 after I graduated and worked my way up from being a theatre technician to lecturer and eventually moving institutions. So, is it a difficult industry for women to excel in? “I think it’s fair to say that in the industry,

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my generation of women in live events are benefitting from the achievements of those before us, but women are still underrepresented in senior roles. Two of the challenges are: getting women into industry. Technical production is still perceived as being a very male environment and it is certainly true that men tend to outnumber women on most projects. However, we are seeing the number of women joining Backstage Academy increase each year which is a sign this may change in the future. One of the challenges is that typically people who work backstage are not the focus of attention, in fact we spend a lot of time trying not to be seen,” she laughed, “This means that most people aren’t

aware of the huge number of highly skilled people it takes to put on a production. There are lots of exciting careers available in the industry, but this isn’t something that school careers advisors are always aware of. The other issue is keeping women in the industry,” she continued. “There tends to be a drop off of women in the sector when they reach their late 20s and early 30s as touring and the intensive work pattern of late nights and long days, isn’t easy when other areas of your life have changed such as putting down roots or having a family. I hope that in future, we will see a shift in the culture of the workplace to support both men and women who return to work after having families or other career breaks.”

FACT FILE: Husband/partner: I am your typical single lady with a cat. Children: No children, but three very demanding nieces who I love. Sienna aged 10, Aurelia, 7 and Iris who is 5. What car do you drive?: VW Troc What do you do in your leisure time? Pre Covid I would spend most of my free time with friends and family. I enjoy going to shows and gigs and visiting new places. The lockdown has meant that I’ve been using the time to walk locally, indulge in some photography and I have become quite addicted to the Lego creator series as a great way to relax. Where is your favourite restaurant? It’s currently Magpie Fish and Chips in Whitby as everything is take-away at the moment and there is nothing like fish and chips at the seaside. What is your favourite food and drink? Sushi and Gin and tonic.

There is no typical day for Rachel as she confirms. “One of the things I enjoy about our industry and working in education is that it is never routine and that has never been truer than over the past year. We have been working hard to get our students back on site as they choose to study with us because of the practical learning opportunities we offer,” she continued. “This has meant introducing a Covid testing site on campus and a number of us are training to become testers. The final year students are working really hard on their final major project at the moment, which they will present in June. We are hoping that we will be able to put in place sufficient safety measures to enable them to have an audience for their projects by this time.”

Valuable Where is your favourite holiday destination? Right now, anywhere! But it is about the people you are with. If it happens to be somewhere with good food and the weather is a bonus. Where is your favourite place in Yorkshire? York is a fantastic city. My grandparents used to own a florist shop in The Shambles, and I have lots of happy memories of getting in their way as they arranged the flowers. What is your favourite gadget? I love a gadget. At the moment it’s my noise cancelling earphones – great for a busy office and daily Zoom calls. What couldn’t you live without? My family and friends are top of the list as they would kill me if I didn’t say that! Other than them, probably a camera. I’ve always enjoyed photography and its ability to capture perfect moments in time.

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Backstage Academy is currently in a period of significant growth. The new research and innovation centre XPLOR opens early next year and this will coincide with starting a number of new courses and international expansion. “Building on our recent successful application to join the Office for Student’s register of higher education provides, we hope to gain our own degree awarding powers next year and eventually gain university status,” Rachel added. Concluding, we asked Rachel what advice she would give to her younger self? “I would learn to ask for help sooner,” she said. “There is certainly no shame or stigma in not knowing something, but not asking for help when you need it is foolish. Everything is a valuable learning experience, especially when things don’t go to plan!”


How is Leeds leading the way in the climate race

Sustainability is everything right now, the climate doomsday clock is just under 7 years. We must achieve carbon neutrality within that time, or else risk irreversible damage. The UK government have recognised this by recently announcing that Leeds is to become the first infrastructure bank. £40bn is being hosted in the city, with local authorities being tasked with allocating the funds appropriately to combat climate change. Leeds-based SME’s are currently leading the fight, proving that the city was right to be chosen as the infrastructure bank, by combatting climate change by implementing efficiency and sustainable innovations into their facilities.

The Chancellor, Mr Rishi S u n a k t a s ke d t h e L e e d s Infrastructure Bank with d e l i v e r i n g “ Wo r l d - c l a s s Infrastructure” by investing in re ne wable e ne rgy, carbon capture, storage and transportation, and providing low-rate loans to mayors and councils to fund projects. The Chancellor stated that the institution’s objectives were to help the UK’s commitment to reach “net zero carbon” by 2050 and to support regional and local economic growth.

One Leeds establishment that embodies the sustainability ethos is Citu. Based out of Beeston, the rapidly growing property developer has roots set deep in the city. Citu, and other businesses like the ecoconscious house builder, will undoubtably be one of the reasons that authorities in the capital chose Leeds are the recipient of this responsibility. Citu’s flagship development site, the Climate Innovation District is one of the most sustainable developments in the UK, winning the Sunday Times British Home’s Award for the ‘Best Sustainable Development in the UK’ for this housing development. Joe McRobert, STL at Citu

claimed that, “Citu’s were proud to be part of the sustainable revolution that was occurring in Leeds. We are set firmly on the ideals of ecofriendly devlopments, but it’s great to see the region receive investment to bring others into the climate fight.” SME’s in Leeds are currently bolstering their efforts to bring the regions carbon reduction efforts to bear fruit. One local SME embodying the same spirit as Citu is Imageco, the print and signage specialist has a strict eco-conscious ethos and has partnered with local green energy supplier Planet U, and spent thousands on improving their facility using voltage optimisers and photovoltaic solar panels. TopicUK June 2021



A year like no other!

Handling the COVID pandemic in Leeds It’s been a year like no other for healthcare across Yorkshire, with services stretched to the limit in dealing with the COVID pandemic, and the magnificent response by staff to ensure standards of care received by patients was excellent. •

46 research studies on the virus with 2,762 people taking part

There have been uplifting stories of patients successfully treated for COVID applauded off the wards by staff following their recovery – but also stories where patients have sadly died.

Dr Phil Wood

In Leeds hospitals the scale of work on the pandemic during the past year is illustrated by the numbers involved: •

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4,264 patients treated with COVID – 331 patients in hospital on the busiest day

321,799 COVID tests carried out by the pathology teams

81 volunteers helping our teams by providing over 4,000 hours of support

3,353 letters delivered to lovedones in hospital


While the pressure on staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was relentless - and normal service was affected - they still managed to carry out 82,930 elective operations during the year and 30,697 cancer treatments, The maternity services helped deliver 8,586 babies during the year from March 2020 – 4,174 girls, 4,412 boys and 129 sets of twins. Adapting to the pandemic has meant the Leeds hospitals offering n e w w ay s o f e n g a g i n g w i t h patients, with over 16,000 video consultations carried out. The Leeds Trust staff have now been helping with the recovery phase by administering more than 80,000 vaccinations at the Thackray and Elland Road centres, a number that increased daily.

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Jamie Calderwood

Dr Phil Wood became Chief Medical Officer of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust just weeks into the pandemic and, even after 19 years with the organisation, it was a rapid introduction to his new role. “We have over 20,000 staff and every one of them has had

S P E CN IEAW L SF E UA P TDUAR TE programme across Leeds and West Yorkshire. “We’re proud of how far we’ve come and look forward to the hope that is still on the way.” The successful response to COVID across Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has come about through a real team effort across all the departments – not to mention the partnership working with Leeds Community Healthcare Trust, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, Leeds City Council and the voluntary sector and Leeds CCGs and primary care colleagues across the city.

Dr Penny Lewthwaite, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at St James’s Hospital, said that COVID had been an educational process for everyone at the Trust.

a key role to play in supporting our response to COVID,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect and we kept learning more and more about this virus. But one thing that has stayed the same the whole way through is how everyone in health and social care stepped up without hesitation. “In some ways it feels like the longest

year of our lives, and in other ways it seems to have just sped by. We know that it has not been easy for anybody - lives have changed beyond anything we could have imagined. “All of our people are sons and daughters, partners, parents, treasured friends and family, and they’ve had the same personal challenges to face as everyone else

has in lockdown. Every day they’ve shown up to work and taken on everything that has come their way. “On top of all the ‘new ways of working’, we continued to stay open for those patients who needed us for other emergencies and urgent treatment. More recently our teams have enabled us to play a major role in the delivery of the vaccination

“The knowledge we have gained about this virus and its evolution is remarkable in such a short space of time,” she said. “And this is not made any easier by the situation changing so quickly. We’ve had to change our approach to this so many times and challenge our initial theories about the virus as the evidence and our knowledge of it has grown.” Dr Lewthwaite said everyone needed to keep infection control at the forefront of their minds despite TopicUK June 2021


SN PE EWCSI AUL PFDEAATTEU R E “Personally, I knew one of the patients being cared for on ICU while we were doing the upgrading work and that inspired us to keep going,” he said. “It was so good to see him recover and go home and knowing that all of that hard work was worth it for him and hundreds more patients this year and ongoing.” For Dr Ian Clifton, Clinical Lead in Respiratory Medicine at St James’s Hospital, the abiding memory of COVID was the phenomenal teamwork and dedication across his department, clinical unit and the Trust.

Dr Iain Clifton

the figures coming down. “The more we learnt about how it spread, the more we encouraged the wearing of face coverings and hand hygiene and social distancing. We have hope now because of the vaccine, and that is incredibly powerful, but we need to match that hope with a chunk of caution.”

control it, but for some time it controlled us. Our every waking thought was about COVID. Nobody knew the rollercoaster ride that lay ahead of us. Nobody knew the strain on the NHS, social care services or even the mental health toll that this pandemic was about to reign over so many people. “Then a flicker of light beckoned us. The first vaccine breakthrough came and in December 2020 we began to rollout the PfizerBioNTech vaccine in our lovely little purpose-built centre in the Thackray Medical Museum at St James’s Hospital - history itself becoming a massive part of modernday history. Florence Nightingale would be proud - and she is said to roam the Thackray floors you know!

For Rhian Wheater, Senior Sister in the Leeds COVID Vaccination team, it has been a journey from seeing just three infected patients in the hospital a year ago. She said: “We dared to hope that it wouldn’t spread; that we would

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“We began the programme and started vaccinating NHS and social care staff across Leeds. The response was amazing, three NHS trusts working together and the fight is so very real; the feeling is immense - we are proud, we are determined, we are strong and we are #TeamLeeds. We have gone from strength to strength.

“For the first time since the beginning of this pandemic, we have the weapons to fight back.” “We’ve battled, we’ve fought, we’ve lost and now we have started to win. I couldn’t be prouder of my fellow NHS colleagues. Andy Price, Head of Estates at St James’s Hospital, looked back on what his team did over the past year and said it was “amazing”. He is most proud of how the team upgraded the oxygen infrastructure across the hospital’s main buildings, allowing clinicians to treat more COVID patients with oxygen therapy. It was a huge job which involved increasing the size of the oxygen pipes from the source down to the wards which they did in a really short space of time because of its importance during the pandemic. He said their motivation was always to help improve the environment patients are treated in.

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“Staff from all over the Trust have offered support and it has been really good to meet and work with clinicians across all sorts of specialities. “There has also been a rapid change in our knowledge of this illness, from pretty much zero 12 months ago, to our current understanding of the pathology and treatment.” He also remarked on the changes in practice that had led to rapid improvement in video, phone and virtual reviews rather than bringing people into the hospitals. “This has been one of the hardest years of my career, but also in a slightly strange way one of the most enjoyable professionally. That is a reflection of the great team that we work with in Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust - but also across the whole healthcare system in Leeds.” Staff Nurse Naseer Hussain works in cardiac neuro outpatients at the LGI and is a peer flu vaccinator for the Trust. He put himself forward to be a part of the vaccination programme and


was redeployed to the vaccination centres in January, where he has since remained. “There is an incredible positivity and atmosphere working in the vaccination centre, a sense that we are all working towards the same cause,” he said. “Some of the stories we hear are heart-breaking and you can see the visible relief in people’s faces as they leave us. “I take my role as a peer vaccinator very seriously and I have been working hard to promote the safety of the vaccine to BAME communities, engaging with the local mosques and making sure people have the right information. Getting vaccinated is vital to ensuring that we can return to our normal lives.”

Andy Price

setting up vaccine trials and it is now his fulltime job. “In October 2020 trials of a new COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax started in Leeds.

Research has been a big part of the COVID response at the Trust. Leeds has been at the forefront of the learning, the evidence base and the science behind what we have learnt about this virus and how we tackle it.

“I’m grateful to everyone who gave their time to be part of these trials. Our team met some people who were on furlough. In their words, it was “a way of giving something back.”

In March 2020 Jamie Calderwood was asked to lead a Research Nurse team tasked to deliver clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments working long days in what was a challenging time for him and the team. When cases reduced because of the national lock down Jamie was asked to be part of the team

In just four weeks my team met over 1,000 people who volunteered to be trial participants. This was one of the largest groups of trial volunteers for Novavax in the country.

D r E m m a Pa g e , C o n s u l t a n t Virologist was asked to move into the virology department full time when the first human transmission of COVID emerged in Wuhan, China, to help prepare a response.

Dr Emma Page

On the 16th March 2020 the labs at the Trust processed 228 tests.

A year later it had risen to between 1,500 and 2,000 every day. Over time the numbers of tests increased and the ways in which they processed them changed too. Dr Page said colleagues came from all over the labs to help in Virology. “They set up completely new ways of working and worked a huge number of hours just to get all the tests through and results back as quickly as possible. “The success of the Trust’s COVID testing - and we were one of the highest volume NHS Trusts or PHE testing laboratories in the country - is down, in no small part, to the brilliant team that works here.” “We knew what we were doing was crucial to getting Leeds through this pandemic and we never forget that behind each of these tests is a real person.” TopicUK June 2021



How Jessica combines the style of Paris and Robin Hood’s Bay

Using design and colour themes based on the 1950s, allied with repeat patternmaking skills, have allowed her work to be transferred to products such as fabrics, wallpaper and gift wrap. Her unique chic also embraces seaside greetings cards, homeware, towels, soaps and art prints. She has a studio in Whitby and last year opened a shop in Robin Hood’s Bay, where she grew up. “Growing up in the village has a big influence on my work,” she said. “Paris has also been an inspiration since the start, and I have collaborated with French brand KIUB (publisher and distributor of quality stationery, gift items and carterie) for my illustrations of the capital to go onto a range of 35 products across France. “But I am best known for my locallyinspired designs and my Whitby map print has seen strong sales. “My ‘patterned fish’ print has been successful, a perfect example of my line and pattern-based style.” In festive periods, Fortnum & Mason, Liberty of London and Oliver Bonas have stocked her products, and she won a Henries Award for the ‘best Christmas counter collection’ (named after Sir Henry Cole, creator of the first commercially-produced Christmas card, 1843).

Designer: Jessica Hogarth

The unusual combination of Paris and Robin Hood’s Bay have helped a designer to create a distinctive style as a ‘Yorkshire Cath Kidston’. Illustrator Jessica Hogarth has worked hard for 10 years to get her efforts known to a wider audience.

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When compared with fashion designer and businesswoman Cath Kidston, Jessica said: “A reference to a ‘Yorkshire Cath Kidston’ is a compliment - being compared with anyone who built a business through the creation of artwork with a distinct look.” Jessica, who is supported by her partner’s retail experience, trained in Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art.


“Training in surface pattern made me proficient in creating repeating patterns and it’s a process I thoroughly enjoy. “All of the illustrations begin as black pen drawings before they are scanned and enhanced with my colour palette and the final print or pattern is then created.” She initially worked for a studio at Hyde, Tameside, before setting up in business in May 2011, and began selling online or to shops on a wholesale basis and also designing artwork for other companies which then manufactured goods. Her wallpaper design was commissioned by the former owners of the Whitby Lodge Hotel in Filey. She attributes her rising venture to her aunt and to support from her mother. “Ever since I worked in my auntie’s grocery shop during summers in my teens, I have dreamed of one day opening a shop of my own. “And none of this would be possible without the hard work of my very dedicated employee – my mum Wendy who is responsible for the packing and day-to-day jobs.”

A reference to a ‘Yorkshire Cath Kidston’ is a compliment - being compared with anyone who built a business through the creation of artwork with a distinct look.”

Jessica’s online sales enabled her to get through the pandemic. She also works on a freelance basis, collaborating with companies on new product designs. She said: “There are lots of

entrepreneurial and creative people in Whitby and the surrounding area. I think the Yorkshire coast has a lot to offer in terms of unique retail outlets, eateries and experiences. Everyone is supportive of each other.” TopicUK June 2021


TH E SY OURPKDSAHTI R N EW EE COA ST Benefactor Maureen Robinson, who has donated a number of statues to the town, contributed a significant donation towards purchasing a permanent home for the centre In Eastborough. Business and organisations and the National Lottery Heritage funds have also supported the centre, enabling it to offer free admission. Volunteers staff the centre five days a week, while digitising the photograph collection. Mark said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported us during the past decade financially or by giving time or their historic heirlooms.”

Modern-day philanthropy keeps heritage free How do you run a good and viable attraction when you want it to be free? By returning to the values of philanthropy ...

The Maritime Heritage Centre in Scarborough has re-opened with a new exhibition commemorating the 120th anniversary of the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. The celebration is fitting because philanthropy that was core to the Victorian era is the cornerstone of the Maritime Heritage Centre “We were created by and we are run entirely by volunteers from the community,” said chairman Mark Vesey. “The entire collection, thousands of photographs, documents and artefacts, have all been donated to help preserve and promote the history of the town.”

Fisher girls - Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society

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The centre is looking forward to re-attracting visitors from West Yorkshire and throughout the country, and to helping even more emailed inquiries which are sent from all over the world. Its own story began in 2003 with the donation of a lifetime collection of maritime photographs and records by local collector George Scales. Lindy Rowley, a fisherman’s wife from the old town, also began collecting maritime me morabilia and in 2006 she formed a committee to find a permanent home for the collection. New exhibitions have been put up every four months, such as the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 – James Moody, the youngest officer on the ill-fated ship was born in Scarborough, and Edward Harland of the Titanic’s Belfastbased shipbuilders Harland and Wolff was also born locally.


Bathing huts - Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre

Fisher Girls

The centre marked the Bombardment of Scarborough in 1914, which was the first German attack on British soil. Scarborough’s fishing past, its old churches, pubs and hotels, maritime art and shipbuilding are all part of the centre’s collection.

It is a verified location for the Children’s University learning project and was presented with the Queen’s Award for Volunteering in 2016. Plans include a history trail along the 1.5km walkway between the North and South Bays.

Mark said: “We have achieved amazing things well beyond our imagination at the start. “We have welcomed more than 40,000 visitors with the help of a total of more than 100 volunteers aged from their 20s to 80s.”

The centre re-opens on Wednesday May 19 (11am to 4pm), with a new exhibition looking back at the town during its most prosperous period under Victoria and a mini-exhibition featuring the medals and bells of Scarborough’s popular town crier, the late Alan Booth. TopicUK June 2021


TH E SY OURPKDSAHTI R N EW EE COA ST A fifth-generation Yorkshire coast donke y business owner talks to TopicUK about the donkey business - and what the new season might bring. The tradition of seaside donkeys is said to date back to the 1890s and Guy Smith’s drove of 13 are still a favourite attraction at South Bay beach in Scarborough. Guy’s grandmother Harriet and mother Maureen

Doing the donkey work for holidaymakers ... Businesses on the coast are anticipating a bumper season thanks to staycation holidaymakers keeping to UK destinations. The donkeys of Scarborough South Bay are among those very pleased with the easing of the covid lockdown - they had found being fenced in a confusing and disappointing experience, waiting at their gate each morning in expectation of heading down to the sands for their job ...

He started helping with the family business for pocket-money in 1978 at the age of seven. Guy’s grandparents Harriet and Ernest Davison had run the business in the late 1930s, continuing the attraction from his greataunt and great-father – and the family had been operating it for decades. The charge for an excited child to enjoy a donkey rise is £3 ... it was sixpence in the late 1940s. There are now only three lice nsed donke y concessions, two in South Bay and one in Whitby, following licence increases, riding act regulations, feed and care cost rises and also higher public liability cover. Youngsters on donkeys also have to be personallyled and no longer able to have the thrill of taking a trot themselves. “Claim culture stopped that aspect,” said Guy, who is a Scarborough borough councillor.

Donkey business ... Jake and Oscar pose on a break at South Bay beach

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In previous decades, the 

Maureen, the mother of Guy Smith, and his


Owner Guy Smith with Jake and Oscar

donkeys used to be employed in the off-peak periods; those in the South Bay were owned by coal merchants, and those in the North Bay were owned by chimney sweep owners. The attraction runs from February to November, a longer period than previously but since the mid 1980s, Guy’s donkeys take a rest over winter as they are no longer sent to farms. So how did Guy get involved? grandfather, who inherited the beach donkey business

“When my grandfather Ernest

died in 1990, I was studying a BTEC Business and Management course at Scarborough Technical College (now Yorkshire Coast College). “I realised that my mother Maureen and grandmother co ul d n o t run t he busi n ess by themselves.” His drove are based at Oliver’s Mount and make the trek along Ramshill Road to the beach. “Our donkeys have been awarded many accolades, including Britain’s Best Group as judged by

the Donkey Sanctuary and RSPCA. Sasha shot to fame in a nationwide campaign run by the English Tourist Board in the 1970s. The donkeys found the covid lockdown puzzling. “They were waiting at the gate daily, in the sunny weather, expecting to go to the sands,” said Guy. “I am anticipating a busy summer due to people staying in the UK. Visitors will return home with ‘Scarborough rust’ (a sun tan) like mine,” he predicted. TopicUK June 2021



The photographer who always wins at the big events

Scarborough-based national sports photographer Richard Sellers is a winner when it comes to the big events - he has covered five World Cup finals, 25 plus Open Golf Championships, Ryder Cups, Champions league finals ... and thousands of domestic and international events.

Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke

Richard was a student at the old Scarborough Tech college when he discovered a passion for photography, which was part of his two-year graphic design course. He started working for the highly-regarded

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Sportsphoto agency in Scarborough from 1986 in what was then a fast-developing industry. With his Canon 1d mk2 and 500mm f4 lens, he is a freelance photographer for the Press Association, among others. Here he shares with TopicUK some of his favourite sport and local work ...



TopicUK June 2021



New Leeds hospitals project on track despite the COVID pandemic Plans to build two new hospitals at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) are making great progress despite all the challenges that the COVID pandemic has brought about.

Pathology lab - East elevation and entrance

Linda and Simon near new pathology lab hoardings

As demolition continues to prepare the way for building the new hospitals, the Leeds General Infirmary site is already revealing how its transformation will not only benefit patients from Leeds and Yorkshire but could also create around 3,000 jobs and deliver up to £11.2 billion net present value as part of a new Innovation District for Leeds.

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Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is developing a new state-ofthe-art adults’ hospital and a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital. The new hospitals, which will be completed in 2025, will focus on patient-centred care with modern and forward-thinking environments allowing staff to provide the most advanced care and treatments in hospital or remotely. This hospital development will be one of the most significant in the

S P E CN IEAW L SF E UA P TDUAR TE It is predicted that the LGI Development Site project could deliver direct and wider economic benefits estimated to be up to £11.2bn in net present value terms - and more than 3,000 jobs. The first set of concept designs for the new hospitals will be available soon for people to see, and this will be followed by further engagement with staff, clinicians, patients and the public to give their input as the detailed design is taken forward. Over the past year there have been a number of key milestones with the programme, one of which was the demolition of the old nurses’ home building just before Christmas signalling the start of works on the project. Crucial To recognise that landmark retired nurse Patricia Taylor, who lived in the nurses home in the early 1960s when she did her nurse training, joined Trust Chair, Dame Linda Pollard and Chief Executive, Julian Hartley, along with young hospital patient Violet from York who waved green flags to signal the bulldozer to start work on the building.

UK and will cover more than 94,000 square metres at Leeds General Infirmary. Initial funding of £600 million for the project has been confirmed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The development project, known as Building the Leeds Way, also includes a new pathology laboratory at St James’s Hospital that will provide state-of-the-art pathology facilities for Leeds, West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Chair, Dame Linda Pollard DBE DL Hon LLD, said: “We are trailblazers here in Leeds, and this significant investment in health services for patients from Leeds and the wider region is moving forward at pace despite all the challenges we’ve faced with the COVID pandemic.” Growth The new hospital development will also release surplus estate at

Leeds General Infirmary to support a new Innovation District in the centre of Leeds, bringing huge economic benefits for the city and wider region. This strategic partnership brings together Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds Beckett University, the University of Leeds, Leeds City Council and the private sector to drive regeneration, innovation and economic growth for Leeds and the region.

Since then further buildings have been demolished and this work will be ongoing throughout 2021 to prepare the site for the start of construction on the new hospitals sometime in late 2022. Engaging with patients, staff and wider stakeholders is a key part of the Building the Leeds Way programme. Their input is crucial throughout the project, from taking part in the public consultation on co-locating inpatient maternity and neonatal services to sharing feedback on the hospitals’ design. TopicUK June 2021



Nurses Home - Edwina, Gerry Pat Taylor, Sandy Dalby, Judith Sugden retired nurses

Engagement with staff, clinicians and young patients and their families has been particularly important for the new Leeds Children’s Hospital who have all had an input into the design process. A Daring Designers competition was held last summer for young people to let the Trust know the sort of things they would like to see in their new hospital, and there was a fantastic response.

to now be involved in helping with the development of the new hospital. G o o d p ro g re s s h a s a l s o been made on the new pathology laboratory at St James’s Hospital. The new facility - which will also provide pathology services to hospitals across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will allow Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to bring many of its pathology services together into a purpose-built state-of-the-art laboratory.

Recently the Countess of Wessex, who is patron of Leeds Children’s Hospital, heard all about the development plans from some of the children when she paid a virtual visit to the hospital. She also heard from some of those working on the new buildings on what it means personally to them. DSM demolition site supervisor, Mark Neave, spoke to HRH about his role and how the hospitals have a special meaning for him after the

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Due to be completed in Spring 2023 – the new laboratory will be designed for fast, accurate, routine and specialist testing.

Mark Neave Site Supervisor

stillbirth of one of his children and the premature arrival of his son Kobi. He told her how

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special the care was that he and his family received at the time, and said he was delighted 

The site is currently being prepared for construction to begin late r this year, and designs for the new facility are part of an ongoing engagement with staff. We will be regularly updating reade rs as the project progresses.



Beauty Reset 2021 By: Janet Milner-Walker - Founder of Bespoke Advantage

Events over the past year have certainly been interesting in more ways than one. Not only have we have had to explore a new way of living and working online, but we have had to reinvent our social habits, including the way in which we shop, and we have learnt how to pamper ourselves from the comfort of our homes.

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We have taken new roles into our hands from becoming our own ‘hairdresser’, to a ‘beautician’, ‘dermatologist’ and ‘make-up artist’. Many of us have learnt through trial and error what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to styling, cutting, colouring our hair and through trying to recreate the perfect shellac manicure (not as simple as it looks). With the industry reopening four months into 2021, we are 

embracing the opportunity to place responsibility firmly back into the hands of those who know best, but having dipped our toes into the water, this naturally means that there are going to be changes moving forward in terms of what we expect from the brands and services we buy into. Less is More We have spent the best part of a year indoors fervently reading about how to keep ourselves healthy and researching health and beauty products. Now more than ever before we are concerned with keeping ourselves safe. We want to know more about what we are


putting into our bodies and onto our hair and skin and we have certainly upscaled our knowledge on the benefits of ingredients. Over the past few years’ beauty, health and wellbeing have merged and there is a heightened interest in ingredients, and the benefits these bestow, particularly in the skincare category where we have become increasingly more aware of our skin microbiome, and the benefits of probiotics. We are also looking for ‘less to deliver more’ - gone are the days of a 10-step Korean skincare regime, we want products that save us time and money, and the products we use need to be validated by scientific research. The early part of 2021 has already seen brands including Paula’s Choice with their 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment launching products that are steeped in science and multi-functional – the future of skincare is streamlined. Many of us have mastered the art of threading our eyebrows and manicuring our nails and have also invested in the latest skincare devices, which help us to recreate facials. Most of these devices have been designed to help cleanse our skins and to help ingredients penetrate deeper into our skins. Gaining a greater understanding of our skincare means that we have also come to understand that skincare

should be personalised, through the support of AR we are able to go online create our profile and seek out products that are suited to our specific DNA. We have become far more sophisticated about what we are looking for.

Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way... Tom Freston

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Hair care is big business, it is one of the most researched beauty topics during the pandemic, primarily because many of us rely on our hairdressers to take care of this for us, but also because there has been a reported increase in people suffering with hair loss during the pandemic. With salons closed brands have created products that enable us to care for our hair

from home. Space NK reported a 196% increase in their scalp care category over the past 12 months and skincare brands Drunk Elephant, Elemis and Dr Barbara Sturm have extended their skincare offering into hair care. Jen Atkin, of Ouai, launched a range of hair care products that help to rid our scalp of congestion and improve its microcirculation, the flow of blood to each hair follicle, thanks to dissolvable sugars. Goop has launched a mix of Himalayan pink salt and moringa oil to cleanse our scalp and remove product build up. Function of Beauty founded in 2015 as a personalised hair care brand offering 54 trillion possible formulations of their haircare products, individually formulated to consumers hair type, preferences, and goals has also unsurprisingly experienced a surge in growth over the past year and has even extended their range into personalised skincare. TopicUK June 2021



Scalp Care It is no longer about ‘wash, cut, blow dry’, we are now considering our hair care as an extension of our skincare and we are giving far more thought to how we need to wash, condition, and moisturise our scalp. Scalp care is a new terminology that has moved up a notch or two on our radar, and this makes perfect sense. A dry scalp is no longer indicative of dandruff, there are so many other factors to consider. For those of us who have yet to experience the range of products available to treat our scalps, this can be a minefield. Scalp shampoos are designed to cleanse our scalp from product build-up and to nourish them. Scalp scrubs remove signs of flakiness, scalp serums boost the health of our scalp and can clarify, hydrate, and

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from home and experimenting with new technologies we can enjoy through the sanctity of our favourite salons.

heal them, much like the serums we use on our face. Ouai’s scalp scrub contains a probiotic blend which helps to promote a healthy scalp and encourage hair growth. Scalp oils can encourage healthy hair growth and improve our hair from the root to tip. Using a scalp mask once or twice a week helps to exfoliate, cleanse, and soothe our scalps and provides it with extra nourishment.

What This Means for the Industry We still enjoy social interaction, and being pampered, with professional beauty reopening no doubt the biggest challenge we are going to experience now is in getting an appointment. However, once we have secured an appointment, what we will be asking for may well change. This requires a balance between maintaining our beauty treatments

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About Janet Milner-Walker Janet is the founder of Bespoke Advantage, a brand management company that build brands across the beauty, spa, and wellness sector, she is also a consultant, and a speaker. Over the past twenty years she has developed and launched products and brands for companies including M&S, Harvey Nichols, Boots, Body Shop and Crabtree & Evelyn as well as worked with many start-ups. Their award-winning portfolio of clients includes haircare specialists and make-up artists, skincare entrepreneurs, investors and beauty, spa and wellness companies based in the UK and internationally –


TopicUK are delighted to welcome back our columnist, the UK’s leading sales and communications expert Nicky Pattinson.

If you’re a professional services company, read this ! I’ve never had so many calls from BIG professional services companies. Data to software, education to universities. The phone in Holmfirth has been hot! Not so three years ago…well – not from almost exclusively this kind of organisation. I just received a message from Ireland – as I write this saying “can you help a wealth management company create a warm but on point email style?” I can. And…I’d love to do it because I love helping make quick connections with people. So, what happened?

We all woke up that’s what happened. We looked at ourselves and we looked at the world from our windows. Then we realised we wanted a more connected and real relationship with our lawyers, doctors, accountants and insurance suppliers. Because a degree alone is no use today. As a customer or client, you need to sell yourself and your ability to is

now. How will I feel in the presence of your company? Do I belong? Will you let me down? Am I just a payment into your account? (Don’t just hand over a card and expect me to go crazy and scream with desire for your conveyancing. I won’t).

in an office with a job to do. Not two people – doing the best we can in an unsure world where mistakes can be made, and I’d have laughed. And the law firm I’ve just used, no humanity in any interaction. That’s the price. Give me the money. Goodbye.

As an example, at Christmas I had a ‘’signed for demand’’ from an insurance broker for a policy. They’d been sending requests for money to a defunct email address for 6 weeks apparently. I’d told them twice I don’t use that account anymore – update your records.

It could have been so different…and should have been these days.

As you can imagine I sent an email of complaint – to read the contents of their return communication you’d think I’d stolen the crown jewels! I expected a reasonably amicable email back, basically I got “yes but pay the bill NOW!” Needless to say, I’ve paid it and gone. What a shame. Because some admin girl hadn’t been taught to say ‘’Oh Nicky sorry!’’ but to see me as a bill to be paid and herself as a number

The currently now as I’ve said a million times in one form, or another is DEEP CONNECTION FROM THE HEART. Dissolving all hierarchies, all barriers to new relationships, all the ‘defaults of no’ we’ve imposed upon ourselves in these saturated “please engage with me’’ times of boom for some. Bust for others. Many will have laughed when I mentioned a heart connection. At this point I’d like to say that the right kind of expression will put an estimated two million quid in the bank in 2021 alone for a very corporate company I spent three months with last year. It’s not a joke. It’s where we are. It’s real.

But I totally understand the reticence to put who you are, not what you do on the line. Ions of history have told us to hide. Conform. Business is different. Over professionalise yourself – ask people to take a seat and wish them kind regards – just don’t let them SEE you. So, I’ll leave you with this million-dollar tip that makes you and your company real people instantly. And yep literally …it’s some gold from my repertoire that works. I call it:“seat people at the side of you.’’

Really its very difficult to delete if not respect someone when you have a mental picture of them as if they were sat with you. Easy to get remove or be rude if they’re just a number. It’s one line:

Hiya …just making a coffee to get started on next week’s appointments with. “Can you come at 11.30 Monday? We’ll have the machine on for you.” or:

“Hiya – I’m sat in the boardroom with James working on your account Susie… great to see your achievements!” Both say nothing and everything at the same time. So, from me as we all get back to work. Love from Holmfirth.

And if you are who you say you are – so be careful what you tell your clients you’ve become. Because we’re scrutinising our relationship with you now more than ever. TopicUK June 2021



How to recruit ex-offenders into your organisation By: Jacob Hill - Founder of Offploy

Ministry of Justice figures show that, on average, only 17% of former prisoners manage to gain employment within a year of release – but those who do are up to 9% less likely to reoffend. But where do we begin in finding them a place within our own companies? Jacob Hill, founder of Offploy – a notfor-profit organisation which helps people with criminal convictions into meaningful, mentored, and sustainable employment – takes a look.

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When you think of brands such as Boots, Co-Op, Greggs, Pets at Home, Screwfix, Timpson, and Virgin Group, it might not be immediately obvious what they all have in common – beyond being stalwarts of our high-streets and out-of-town shopping centres. What joins these retail giants though, and thousands of other employers across the UK, is their open-mindedness to hiring ex-offenders. Latest figures show there are more than 11 million people with a conviction in this country – a significant talent pool which

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E shame and embarrassment they feel, as well as the fear of been unfairly discriminated throughout the recruitment process. That’s why it’s important to create a strategy that truly attracts diverse talent. A simple line on every job advert or a dedicated website page outlining an ex-offender recruitment policy is a great place to start. A good policy should outline how and why an organisation supports people with a criminal record, when any criminal records must be disclosed, and how an organisation risk assesses suitability for a position based on any unspent convictions. This immediately breaks down barriers and shows your organisation is open to hearing from those who may not otherwise have applied. Understand who needs a DBS check It is a common misconception to assume that any roles working in the same setting as vulnerable people, sensitive data, or regulated positions need to be enhanced DBS checked. This isn’t strictly the case, and it’s incredibly important to look at convictions within the context of each role, and only conduct DBS checks when appropriate to prevent unnecessary stress and disclosure for applicants and existing colleagues. Handle rejections sensitively and honestly is often unfairly overlooked. Hiring from this cohort brings diverse talent and, according to Ministry of Justice data, 92% of firms which employ exoffenders report that it has enhanced their reputation – ultimately leading to more contracts. But where do you begin when it comes to hiring people with criminal convictions both safely and fairly?

Candidate care is key to any organisation’s effective recruitment and should be done through every stage of the process – and a string of rejections can soon put people off from applying for alternative roles. We know giving candidate feedback can be difficult at the best of times, but handling rejections sensitively and honestly is key – particularly if the decision is as a direct result of their conviction. Onboard like any other candidate

Actively encourage them to apply Many candidates with criminal records do not apply because of the

For successful interviewees, the onboarding process should be the same as any other candidate, and information

about a person’s criminal record should not be disclosed to any colleagues except for those with a genuine need to know. It’s important the candidate is aware of who knows about their conviction(s), as well as the reasons why they know. Providing this feedback directly to the candidate will make them feel confident that you are doing everything in you power to protect their sensitive information. Ban the box Business in the Community’s ‘Ban the Box’ campaign calls on UK employers to give ex-offenders a fair chance to compete for jobs by removing the tick box from application forms, and instead asking about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process. If you do ask about convictions, make sure you are asking the right questions. For most roles, it’s important you do not consider any convictions that are ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA). Win hearts and minds Hiring and working alongside someone with a criminal conviction can be an emotive subject, and the re may be A simple line on some pushback every job advert a n i n t e r n a l or a dedicated ‘champion’ to website page combat common outlining an misconceptions ex-offender recruitment and fears, can policy is a great b e c e n t ra l to place to start... the success of the project. Of course,with  the best will in the world, an ex-offender recruitment policy is only going to be as successful as those which are rooting for it. That’s why it’s important to obtain the buy-in of all key stakeholders and present the case for hiring ex-offenders with both colleagues and clients. TopicUK June 2021


SPECIALIST DEGREES & SHORT COURSES FOR THE LIVE EVENTS INDUSTRY. Based on Production Park near Wakefield, Backstage Academy is a specialist higher education and professional training provider focused on the live events industry.

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K E E P U P TO D AT E W I T H T H E L AT E S T B U S I N E S S N E W S FO R T H E D I S T R I C T V I A WA K E F I E L D F I R S T. C O M Wakefield is one of the most accessible locations in England. Located at the heart of the UK with three of the main motorway networks meeting just outside the city along with a mainline rail service to London, Wakefield is not just a key location nationally, linking east to west and north to south, it is also on the west-European economic corridor which connects the city to the continent by air and sea. This connectivity has seen Wakefield thrive over the years and developer confidence and investment continues despite the pandemic, From state of the art 500,000sqft industrial units to multi use shared workspace set ups, here are just a few examples of space in the district for your business.

COURTYARD 31 High quality office space, ranging from 1,300sqft to 5250sqft, positioned on J31 of the M62. These modern offices come with their own parking, landscaped grounds and high spec internal facilities, with extensive leisure and retail amenities close by.

WAKEFIELD HUB A new prime industrial/distribution development at Junction 30 of the M62 motorway, The development extends to around 200 acres and can accommodate up to 1 million sqft of space, with bespoke design and build opportunities to suit tenant requirements. At the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, Wakefield Hub has unrivalled access to the national motorway network via the M1 around 1 mile to the west and A1(M) 7 miles to the east.

FLANSHAW BUSINESS PARK 10 brand new industrial units ranging from 2000sqft to 9450sqft with an additional 7 hybrid/ office units also on site, with easy connections to J40 of the M1. These units are ideal for both manufacturing and distribution, finished to a high spec and ready to occupy on completion from Q2 2021..

Wakefield First offers tailored support packages to businesses looking to invest into the district. This include a bespoke property search and liaison with our business growth teams, sign posting to funding, employment and skills resource. For further information please email:


The workforce of today supported by the workspace of tomorrow June has been given as a date for normality to albeit tentatively - recommence and a large part of ‘normal’ resuming will be a return to work and to the office!

currently, there is a high chance that they will head for the door sooner rather than later if their career is holding them back. What is the solution?

Companies have realised that Change happened. expertly balancing remote work and “traditional” workplace environments Every individual, in every sector really helps both employees and imaginable has experienced a change in workstyle during the last year. employers at both ends of the From the inevitable realisation that spectrum. It prevents employees work can productively and effectively from feeling “out of the loop” but continue remotely, through to the also ensures employees don’t have not so insignificant disruption that to actually go to the office every day happens as a result of the global unnecessarily, thereby enjoying a workforce moving to a variety of high degree of flexibility that is now home internet providers - but we often taken for granted as part of an employee compensation package. made it through. What’s next? Many businesses are now returning or rethinking their approach to continuing remote working - with a difference. Remote working offers many advantages to both parties - less traveling time, less exhaustion and a better worklife balance for employees, and increased productivity, cost saving and less employee-absentees to name just a few. But, is remote work always the answer?

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This raises a few questions, however. Initially, what would happen to the office that now only houses a fraction of the original workforce full time? Secondly, for those sectors that require employees to be based in the workplace more so than remotely, how can employee retention continue in light of competitors and other sectors offering flexibility? Out of everything that the word has learned over the past year, taking our lives for granted is not a wise decision, so if an employee is not maximizing their life

AHQ workspaces offer:

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In addition to this, our locations feature award-winning hospitality venues, ideal for a relaxing drink after work or a business lunch. At our East Parade site, we have partnered with & Company who will be launching very soon at their Leeds and Liverpool locations, offering a mouth-watering menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner & drinks. In addition, we have The Rooftop Bar, which has amazing views of Leeds combined with some incredible drinks.

The solution to both of these situations is in the flexible workspace - or serviced offices. With stunning working environments At Avenue HQ, flexibility is at our in ideal locations, Avenue HQ is the core. We embrace the new way of workplace of tomorrow for today’s working which perfectly fits our businesses. Take the next step and business model and offering to find out exactly what we can offer you our guests. Our AHQ locations are - we pride ourselves on our individual verified Covid Secure Workspaces approach, ensuring that we provide by independent body Bureau a tailored offering for your new HQ. Veritas, with regular cleaning and sanitisation carried out over all areas - plus increased office Please reach out to cleaning available too. for If your business has made the more information, or visit decision to return full time to the workplace, you can rest assured that the Avenue HQ flexible workspaces across the country tick all the boxes. At AHQ, we offer move-in-ready, professional spaces so you can focus on work instead of managing an office. With options ranging from hot desks to furnished offices, businesses of any size can find a space to fit their changing needs.

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Eagle Labs



Making a Regular Gift to Wakefield Hospice “This last year has been most challenging. The wearing of PPE has taken us from the subtlety of comforting touch and facial expression that provided support and reassurance. Throughout these times we’ve maintained a focus on what we can do. We’ve supported patients and families to communicate in different ways. The tender moments that our patients have shared with their family over video call will stay with us forever. Without your support we can’t offer the service we do.” Cathryn Hartley, Family Care Nurse

Our nurses are featuring in a new campaign to raise awareness of Regular Giving as an easy way for supporters who wish to make an ongoing contribution to the hospice’s running costs. We have a new online Direct Debit form which can be reached via a simple web link - WHRegularGiving - and over the next few months we’ll be sharing more stories from the team about how regular gifts help us provide consistent quality care during these uncertain times.


Jamie Durham and Rob Hill - Systemwork

New director of operations announced for Systemwork Leeds-based IT support firm Systemwork has announced the promotion of former senior technician, Rob Hill, to director of operations – in a bid to support the brand’s target of increasing turnover by £350k in 2021. After 2020 saw the tech company’s revenue rise by £250K – largely due to Covid-19-related support – Rob’s increased responsibility will see him take the lead on future business development, as well as the design and execution of new project infrastructure. The promotion will also see him coordinating the organisation’s team of engineers – including employee relations and training – overseeing all project

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deliveries, and upholding its fivestar customer rating within the city. “I feel lucky to work within the IT sector, and as you might expect, our services have been in high demand as people have made the switch to home-working. In fact, we implemented remote working for around 600 individual users within the first week of lockdown mainly due to planning, and this rose to 900 by the end of 2020,” Rob explained.

“Since my very first day with Syste mwork, I’ve strived to ensure the service we deliver is exceptional. And, as we grow, this will always remain my number one priority. We have clients who came to us with one or two employees, and it’s been a pleasure to support them as they have flourished. “Personally, there is still a lot I hope to achieve, but I am sure that – over the coming years – myself and Jamie (Durham,founder) can reach the goals we have set, and continue to grow the business and our portfolio of clients,” he concluded. Jamie added; “We have a closeknit team, and collectively strive to give our customers the best

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experience possible – always going above and beyond to make sure they are happy. “We exist to ensure users can work with no issues, and continuously seek better solutions which will make their productivity flawless – without any IT stresses. Rob has been at the forefront of ensuring our values remain front-and-centre over the past 10 years, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we achieve together during the next decade.” Systemwork provides a variety of services including managed I T s u p p o r t , Vo I P, c l o u d , connectivity, data security, mobile device management and employee monitoring.

Reed Boardall completes work on largest and most modern cold store in the UK

Leading temperaturecontrolled food storage and distribution businesses, Reed Boardall, has completed a 12 month multi-millionpound project to further expand its dedicated, single site operation in North Yorkshire, once again making it the most extensive and modern cold storage facility in the country. As volumes through the company’s cold store and tran sp or t ope ra ti on h av e continued to increase in line with the growth of customers’ businesses, Reed Boardall had put plans in place to expand capacity to 168,000 pallets prior to the start of the pandemic last year.

N E W S U P D AT E adds: “Despite intense pressure on the supply chain in 2020, we were able to undertake and complete the extension project on schedule. From the turmoil of the pandemic to uncertainties around Brexit, we and our customers have faced some real challenges over the last year, and this latest investment makes us well-placed to continue to swiftly and efficiently respond to our customers’ changing logistics requirements. “Having consistently served the UK food sector for over 25 years, our single site business model and ability to consolidate loads cost efficiently have proved wellsuited to the needs food processors and retailers across the UK. The extension to Cold Store 4 marks another important milestone in the company’s development, once again demonstrating our ongoing commitment to working as a reliable and trusted partner to leading food suppliers nationwide.”

With four state-of-the-art cold stores at the company’s 55acre site in Boroughbridge, the 110,000sq ft extension to its newest cold store will give Reed Boardall capacity to handle its customers’ continued growth going forward and to seamlessly manage peaks in usage. Led by Andrew Baldwin, managing director of Reed Boardall’s cold storage division, the project got underway in March 2020 with Leeds-based Marshall (Building Contractors) once again acting as primary contractor. Featuring the latest mobile racking system, the extended cold store follows the successful template already established at the Boroughbridge site.

growth has resulted in increased storage and distribution needs and we are happy to invest in the infrastructure which will enable us to continue to look after their best interests and to grow alongside them. We have undertaken this project to align ourselves with our customers, and, as a business, it’s vital that we continue to move forward.”

Andrew explains: “Our customers’ ongoing organic

Marcus Boardall, chief executive of Reed Boardall,

Reed Boardall is one of the largest temperature-controlled food distribution businesses in the UK, storing and delivering frozen food from manufacturers across Britain, Europe and further afield to all the UK’s best-known supermarkets. With a fleet of 196 vehicles operating 24 hours a day, year-round, it delivers 12,000 pallets of frozen food daily for its clients as well as providing a range of complementary services includingancillary blast freezing, picking and packing. The company employs almost 800 staff at its single site in Boroughbridge,Yorkshire. TopicUK June 2021



Compact Icon CAN ’T-




By: Graham Courtney - Motoring Correspondant

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There’s something handy about arriving late at a party. You can check what everyone else is wearing and whether or not they brought a present.

That’s how Volkswagen’s designers must have felt when someone higher up the food chain told them to design a compact SUV. Go and see what the competition are up to. Consequently, no surprise therefore that the Volkswagen T-Roc is a really good car and will tick most of the boxes when it comes to looks, performance, economy, versatility, accommodation and great visibility thanks to the raised ride height. VW are good at making Sport Utility Vehicles. Their Tiguan and Touareg are brilliant if you want super-stylish SUVs, but there’s no getting away from the fact that they’re actually quite large vehicles. Volkswagen needed something smaller…. hence the T-Roc has arrived. There are seven levels of trim kicking off with the T-Roc SE at £23,350, powered by a 1.0 litre 114bhp TSi petrol engine using a 6-speed manual gearbox. It’s spritely too. 0-60 takes around 10 seconds. Go easily and you’ll manage just over 50mpg. You can choose a 1.5 litre petrol unit which is also available with an auto ‘box, and there is a pair of 2.0 litre diesels with different power outputs. You can even opt for all-wheel drive on the high spec versions. If you intend doing a high

mileage or travelling regularly with a decent load, the oil burners are worth a serious look. Most drivers will easily crack 60mpg. With the SE you get air conditioning, a brilliant audio system which comes with DAB radio, electric windows, heated door mirrors, height adjustment to the front seats, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, remote central locking, tyre pressure monitor and a smart 8inch colour touch-screen. Add £3800 and you’ll be into the SEL which adds sat nav, excellent LED headlights, privacy glass, chrome roof rails and additional safety kit. It’s worth the extra outlay because it makes the T-Roc feel seriously special. Every Volkswagen T-Roc gets an impressive array of standard safety kit including lane assist, front assist (it applies the brakes automatically in an emergency) and a host of air bags. The car should also be a decent performer in terms or retaining value. It’s desirable. The T-Roc looks fabulous and is great to drive. It’ll be perfect for commuting or taking the family on holiday. It’s a stylish SUV that can easily handle town traffic and tight parking spaces. We loved it. Need a compact SUV? That’ll be the Volkswagen T-Roc then. TopicUK June 2021



Mayor of Wakefield says thank you to key workers at Sainsbury’s Trinity Walk City of Wakefield Mayor, Councillor Charlie Keith, made the short journey from the Town Hall to Sainsbury’s Trinity walk to thank the supermarket key workers and colleagues for everything they have done during the pandemic. to acknowledge the work we have done during the last twelve months. We are all so proud to receive ‘The Mayor’s Award’ as recognition of our efforts in the fight against Covid-19. It will be displayed in the store and serve as memories of a proud moment during the pandemic.”

Store Manager, Steve Brown, and store colleagues recieve the Award Certificate, outside the front of store, from Mayor Charles Keith.

The Mayor then presented Sainsbury’s with ‘The Mayor’s Award’, a special certificate as recognition of all the staff ’s efforts during the pandemic, as well as a cheque for £100 to be donated to The Well Project, Sainsbury’s Trinity Walk’s food donation partner.

Sainsbury’s colleague Charlotte Pickering is thanked by Wakefield’s Mayor

“I would like to thank workers who have got up and put on their coats to go out to work. The delivery drivers, the people who have sat on checkouts and those who have restocked the shelves.” He added.

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Sainsbury’s re mained ope n to se rve customers throughout the first lockdown when customers had to queue outside the store to buy their essentials. The store kept going during the Autumn and Lockdown two, with the tiered restrictions, supplying customers with all they needed for Christmas. And powered ahead during Lockdown three keeping its customers safe. Store manager, Steve Brown said: “On behalf of our colleagues, I would like to thank the Mayor of Wakefield for visiting

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Councillor Charlie Keith added: “As part of my ‘Mayor Says’ Thanks recognition award programme I wanted to say thank you to key workers who have stuck diligently to their tasks throughout the Covid episode, as we pass the anniversary of the first lockdown. “The commitment staff have shown to the job they do, is often taken for granted but without them putting on their coats and going out to work, knowing they may have to deal with situations and circumstances they would prefer not to face, the communities of the district would have had to go without even the basic of essentials. “So, to all the checkout staff, door to door delivery people, supply chain drivers, shelf stackers, security personnel, admin and backroom staff alike, I would like to say thank you on behalf of the people of the Wakefield District.”


Out of Office with...

Jamie Durham Jamie Durham is the founder of Leedsbased IT support firm, Systemwork. Here, he chats to Topic UK about how he likes to spend his time out of the office. You arrive home on Friday night after a busy week. What’s the first thing you do? Give everyone a kiss – including the dog. We have ridiculously busy schedules in our household and Friday evenings are one of the rare times that one of us isn’t working – it has therefore become very precious. It’s time for the weekend. What are we most likely to find you doing, and where? I have my daughter on a weekend, so everything is based around her. We live in a picturesque setting and getting out of the house is important – lots of walking and taking in nature with family is the best way to spend those days off the work treadmill. Saturday night arrives. What’s your idea of the perfect way to spend it? Cooking. My partner works long hours on a Saturday and doesn’t get in until late, so I make sure there’s a nice meal for everyone – even if tastes differ. I think in another life I would’ve been a chef. It’s Sunday already. What tasks are usually on your ‘to-do’ list? Seeing my parents and my niece.

The girls are more like sisters than cousins and I like to make sure they get to see lots of one another. Having my daughter spend as much time with her grandparents as possible is also massively important to me. Work again tomorrow. Do you get the Sunday blues or look forward to getting back – and why?

I would probably be described as a workaholic, so I look forward to the weekends to recharge my batteries. I, therefore, do sometimes get a small case of the Sunday blues when I think of all the ‘unknowns’ that lie ahead in the coming week. This is probably due to my perfectionist and slightly anxious nature though – I always want to achieve the best results.

The weekend’s almost over. What’s the last thing you do before you hit the hay ahead of another week? I plan the week, and I try and to get all the tasks I need to do systemised, categorised, and prioritised. If I don’t do this, I know I’ll lie awake thinking about them. I find it cathartic to plan and it has a relaxing aftereffect that allows for a good night’s sleep. TopicUK June 2021


ADVERTORIAL training, then the National Careers Service is on hand. Apprenticeships

Investing in your workforce to support business growth As the UK economy slowly begins its recovery and businesses start open their doors, the issue of what the ‘new normal’ looks like is firmly in the spotlight. So much has changed in the last twelve months, with many small business owners counting the cost of Coronavirus and reflecting on what the future holds.

lets you search by sector or region or can guide you through a series of questions to help understand what’s out there. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at the success stories.

budgets won’t allow for bumper bonuses or big pay-rises.

J4b Grants is a similar platform, helping connect businesses with potential grant options as well as providing access to additional helpful resources.

In its 2021 budget, the government announced a raft of further support for businesses to help the country recover from the impact of the health crisis including grants, loans, and payment freezes. What has been talked about less, however, is the people aspect; how employers can support the transition back into the workplace, how to attract candidates who have been impacted negatively by the extended lockdown periods or who have suffered poor health and even, once the workforce is back in place, how businesses can both stay afloat and motivate their workforce when already-fragile

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Businesses must continue to focus on and invest in their people if they hope to be successful. Whilst this may need employers to think creatively about how reward and recognition is implemented, there are still some great governmentbacked initiatives that can help employers develop their people whilst not breaking the bank. Grant Portals If you want to investigate what grants may be available to you, visit The Grants Hub. This clever portal

Targeted more at those new to employment (but not exclusively), apprenticeships combine on-thejob skills training with sustainable learning, available from entry level to master’s degree-equivalent. As an employer, the funding available to support an apprenticeship scheme varies, primarily dependent on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not, but can be a significant contribution towards training costs. The government announced further financial incentives in the 2021 budget, including up to an initial £3,000 per new apprenticeship hire. More information is available here. In a time when simply keeping going from one week to the next feels like the most immediate challenge for many small business, it can seem counter-intuitive to think about spending money on anything deemed non-essential to survival. Through a different lens though, for many organisations their people are their heart and the very element that makes them a successful operation. Surely the bigger questions is whether you can afford not to invest in your workforce.

The National Careers Service If you’re looking to explore options for developing your workforce, this free-to-use service is a great resource to help you plan how to future-proof your workforce. If your business wants to understand the work and skills opportunities available for your teams, carry out a skills-need analysis to understand gaps and solutions, or access support to match your future requirements to specific

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Ian Parsons is managing partner of Parsons Accountants in Wakefield.

Dedicate a tree to someone special or plant trees as a corporate gift for employees and clients. Reward those employees who have gone the extra mile or say thank you to all your staff for a job well done in difficult times. We plant trees around Yorkshire in public woodlands, farms and private estates. Each tree you purchase will help to create woodland habitats that will benefit people and wildlife for years to come.

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