DEBBIE PALMER Looking beyond the label
SIMON KAYE Chancellor’s call
Full inter view - Page 3
Column - Page 4
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees
Company homes in on export sales
A COMPANY selling high-class motorhomes is gearing up for further export success. Shepley-based Wellhouse Leisure – already established as one of the UK’s premier convertors of compact motorhomes – is set to export flat pack conversion units to motor dealers in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The move follows help from the Manufacturing Advisory Service in Yorkshire and Humber. MAS is jointly funded by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund. Managed by YFM Business Development, a subsidiary of YFM Group, it provides “hands on” advice and support to manufacturing businesses to improve productivity and efficiency. Wellhouse Leisure was founded seven years ago, employs 18 people and has a turnover of £2.5m. The company imports hi-spec vehicles, mainly from Japan, which it converts into flexible motorhomes and displays for sale in its purpose-built showroom. David Elliott, managing director,
said: “We are experiencing a huge increase in interest in our vehicles – partly due to the pound plunging in value against other currencies, which is leading people to increasingly look for cost effective alternatives for their holidays.” Business Link put Mr Elliott in touch with MAS to carry out a review of his manufacturing operations. MAS consultant Dean Morgan undertook a 10-day review designed to optimise the firm’s manufacturing productivity and establish management techniques to support business performance improvements. He also referred the company to the government’s export support arm UKTI, which provided Wellhouse with funding to produce a company DVD to market its range of products. The results of the MAS intervention have been far reaching – with a 100% improvement in employee productivity and vehicle production up from eight to 11 a month. Sales have risen by £150,000 and a new job has been created. Another MAS adviser, Alistair Manning is now working with Wellhouse Leisure to improve its quality
The Yorkshire deal values registered £531.97m – more than double the sum for the previous quarter. Deals in Yorkshire accounted for 8.3% of all UK deals in terms of volume. In comparison, the UK saw an 18.1% decrease in mergers and acquisitions during the quarter – 1,1312
Folly Hall filling up A MAJOR mill development in Huddersfield is now 80% occupied. Folly Hall Mills is close to being fully occupied after insurance, pensions and investments group LV= agreed to take more than 13,000sq ft of office space at the award-winning development.
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■ ON THE MOVE: David Elliott, managing director of Wellhouse Leisure
processes and achieve ISO 9001 accreditation. That will enable the company to
comply with new regulations being introduced in 2012 and to win larger contracts.
Healthy figures for mergers and acquisitions MERGERS and acquisition activity rose by almost a third in Yorkshire during the first quarter of 2010, a report has revealed. B u s i n e s s i n fo r m at i o n g ro u p Experian reported 77 deals in the region between January and March – 28% up on the previous quarter.
deals against 926 before. Transactions were worth £68.9bn – up by 4.5% on the last quarter of 2009. Wendy Smith, of Experian, said: “The fact that the Yorkshire region has bucked the national trend, with a significant increase in the volume of deals at the start of 2010, shows that
funding for good quality risk free businesses is available. “However, the overall figures for the UK tell us that the market is still very fragile.” Yorkshire logged two deals worth more than £100m during the first quarter – together totalling £250m.
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Cooking up a deal A PR firm formed in Kirklees has cooked up a new contract. Approach PR, headed by Gomersal woman Suzanne Johns, has been appointed to raise the profile of Dewsbury kitchen manufacturers ALNO UK.
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
US tycoon ‘backs Virgin Money bid’ VIRGIN Money’s planned assault on high street banking has been given a major boost with the backing of tycoon Wilbur Ross, it is claimed. The American billionaire, who made his fortune investing in struggling steel and oil companies, is expected to help bankroll Virgin Money’s £2bn bid for the 318 branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland. As part of his involvement, the tycoon will pay £100m for a 21% stake in Sir Richard Branson’s finance operation, according to newspaper reports. If Virgin fails to win the RBS network, the investment will support the bank’s own plans to build a network of 70 branches by 2015, including a £10bn loan book. Virgin Money declined to comment.
The bank, which failed in its efforts to buy now-nationalised Northern Rock two years ago, currently offers savings, credit card and investment products to about 2.5m customers. But the recent acquisition of Somerset-based Church House gave it the platfor m to move into deposits and mortgages and boost the scale of the business through further deals. The RBS assets, under the Williams & Glyn’s name, were put up for sale after the European Commission ordered that the bank divest assets in order to meet state aid rules. An estimated 1.7m retail customers will be transferred with the sale, along with 5% of the UK’s small business banking market. Virgin Money is expected to face com-
petition from Abbey and Alliance & Leicester owner Santander, as well as National Australia Bank, which owns the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks. Another Spanish bank, BBVA, and private equity firm JC Flowers are also thought to be interested. As well as the RBS estate, high street networks belonging to Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock are also likely to be sold later this year. Mr Ross, who is expected to take a seat on the Virgin Money board, was one of the backers lined up to support Virgin’s bid for Northern Rock in 2007. It is thought the backing of Mr Ross could help Virgin attract sizeable investments from other North American investors, as well as from sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia.
■ MONEY MAN: Sir Richard Branson could get extra help
Swann emerges as front runner
Cash call doubts for M&S
THE boss of retail chain WH Smith has emerged as the leading contender to succeed Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier. Kate Swann, who joined WH Smith in 2003, is understood to be the preferred candidate on a shortlist of three put forward by headhunting firm Egon Zehnder, according to newspaper reports. The chief executive has revived the fortunes of the retail chain after reducing its reliance on the highly competitive entertainment market, including CDs and DVDs, and focusing more on its core books, stationery and confectionery markets. Ms Swann has been linked to sev-
HIGH street giant Marks & Spencer is set to play down speculation of a £750m cash call on shareholders this week, it is reported. Sources close to executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said there was “no need” for a major fundraising following an improved trading performance from the business. Some analysts have said incoming chief executive Marc Bolland – who joins from supermarket Morrisons next month – could use the funds raised from a rights issue to kick-start an overhaul of the retailer. But the cash call would come after a tricky period which has already seen
eral chief executive jobs, including as a replacement for Sir Stuart Rose at Marks & Spencer. Her appointment at Royal Mail could be controversial if the Government is forced to pay her a “golden hello” in order to cover long-term incentive bonuses at WH Smith, where her earnings last year topped £1.4m. Mr Crozier joins ITV later this month after seven years at Royal Mail, where he took the postal giant from losing more than £1m a day to making £1m a day. He was dubbed Britain’s highest paid public servant with a package estimated at £3m-plus in 2008.
shareholders faced with a dividend cut. Relations with major investors were soured by Sir Stuart’s controversial dual role as executive chairman and chief executive against City best practice. He will retain the role while Mr Bolland beds into the business. M&S, which was unavailable for comment on the story, is due to post another improvement in sales with its latest trading update on Thursday, which covers the 13 weeks to March 27. The retailer posted its first like-for-like sales growth in more than two years in the quarter to December 26,
Page 2 Frozen assets HOUSEHOLD products firm Unilever is ready to fire the starting gun on the sale of its Italian frozen food arm, it is claimed. The business has attracted early interest from private equity groups Permira and Lion Capital, the owners of Birds Eye Iglo and Findus Group respectively, according to newspaper reports. The Italian business is the only part of Unilever’s European frozen food operations it kept when it sold Birds Eye Iglo – best known for its fish fingers – to Permira in 2006. Unilever, which owns brands including Domestos and Dove soap, opted not to sell the business four years ago because of its integration with its Italian ice cream arm, which makes Cornetto and Viennetta. But it is understood that the decision has been reversed by chief executive Paul Polman. Both Permira and Lion – which bought Findus Group in 2008 – are said to have appointed advisers ahead of sale information, which is due to be circulated in the next two weeks. The business, which holds the rights to the Findus name in Italy and makes ready-meal carbonara and bolognese dishes, could fetch up to £700m, according to newspaper reports. Unilever was unavailable for comment.
Successful start for training centre CERTIFICATES have been presented to the first batch of students on an innovative training and development scheme. More than 150 employees at David Brown Gear Systems were recognised at a presentation ceremony at the company’s Lockwood headquarters after completing the foundation course of the David Brown Gear Academy. The academy was launched a year ago to help creating and retain skills and experience in the engineering industry – and provide a formal way of passing knowledge from one generation to the next. Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of parent company Clyde Blowers, presented the certificates. He said: “The staff at David Brown Gear Systems have shown great
enthusiasm for learning and really encouraging support for the idea of building our skills to guarantee the future of gear engineering in the UK. “They have demonstrated the great desire within the company to be the best in the world and I am honoured to meet each of the people who have devoted their time and energy to bettering not only their own learning, but that of David Brown as a whole.” Those recognised at the awards ceremony are now known as Foundation Scholars and become eligible for further courses and the opportunity to be chosen as Subject Matter Experts, a new role the company has created to continue the cycle of learning.
■ WINNERS ALL: Jim McColl (front), chairman of Clyde Blowers, with many of the 150 certificate recipients who were recognised at a ceremony at the Lockwood premises of David Brown Gear Systems
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Debbie is the brand leader! IT’S tough at the top. Business bosses have to make the big decisions – ones which can make or break a company. Yet can sometimes they feel isolated and unable to confide in their colleagues about their doubts and worries. Now Elland-based business and executive coach Debbie Palmer says help is at hand for high-flying managing directors and owners of smaller firms alike as they bid to build up their companies in the wake of the recession. Debbie came to run her own business, The Brand Coach, from a career in marketing. “My background is marketing-related,” she says. “I have worked on consumer brands and company brands, but my interest now is in personal brands. “We all have a brand image and behave in a certain way. And we need to think about managing that brand. “I work with senior business people about what their brands might be and what that brand says about them. “Often, people who set up in business put their own mark on it. As their business grows, they need to define their image.” Debbie points to examples of successful business people like Richard Branson and James Dyson whose business brands reflect their own personalities or “brand image”. Branson’s Virgin organisation, for instance, reflects his own image as a maverick while Dyson plays on its founder’s reputation as an innovator. Says Debbie: “In the best businesses, employees also buy -into the leader’s brand – strengthening the organisation and ensuring everyone works as a team. “We all assume that it’s just a case of giving the customer
what they want, but it has to go deeper than . You have to talk about the ethos of the company. “Your biggest asset is your people and you need to develop them.” Debbie, who runs taster sessions for prospective clients at Heritage Business Centre in Lindley, said: “I work with marketing leaders, people who are in senior positions in roles such as heads of marketing departments, heads of creative agencies or marketing-led businesses. “They understand brands and their importance. “I have worked one-to-one with people in companies such as kitchenware firm Lakeland and McVities. “Sometimes, people need to be reassured that they are not the only ones facing particular problems. “They go to a business coach because they have a particular
■ COACHING CORNER: Debbie Palmer says life can be lonely for business leaders
Page 3 Debbie Palmer Role: Business and executive coach Age: 39 Family: Married to Andrew with daughter Amelie Holidays: Family holidays at Centre Parcs Car: Mazda 6 Estate First job: Milk round Best thing about job: Helping people achieve things they did not think were possible Worst thing about job: Paperwork Business tip: If hyou can imagine it, you can achieve it. Believe it is possible
The Brand Coach problem and realise they need to work on their competencies. “My business coaching work is about business challenges such as developing new businesses, business strategy and staff development. “My executive coaching is about the person. “It might be about helping them become more commercially aware and better able to communicate with employees and work with other people. “It includes what’s known as ‘emotional intelligence’ where you focus on inter-personal skills – attributes that are often overlooked. It is having those skills that makes a good leader into a great leader.” Debbie says coaching is particularly useful to help firms through periods of change – such as redundancy – by helping them adjust to a different situation. “Directors will talk in the board meeting about making changes and after six months will announce the decision. “They have gone through the process of resisting the changes, considering the changes and agreeing to the changes. “They forget that their staff have to go through that same process, but they don’t give them the time or space to come to terms with it.” Says Debbie: “There is a lot of psychology involved in coaching because a lot of resistance to changing the way we do things is sub-conscious. “It is great to get that ‘lightbulb’ moment when a client understands what they can do to deal with a certain problem.” Halifax-born Debbie founded The Brand Coach after more than 15 years in strategic marketing, business and leadership roles with a number of blue chip organisations and
creative agencies. Her career included spells with Arla Foods, where she launched Cravendale onto the market, and marketing posts with McVities and Heinz. Later, she became a director of a design consultancy in Elland before setting up The Brand Coach. Working for herself allowed her to achieve a better work-life balance following the birth of daughter Amelie, who is now nearly four. Debbie has a post graduate qualification in business and executive coaching through Leeds Metropolitan University and the European Mentoring & Coaching Council. She is a member of the Association for Coaching and a leadership development coach for the Marketing Academy of the Marketing Hall of Legends – an organisation offering scholarships giving young people the chance to work on advertising and marketing workshops with the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi and Google. Away from work, Debbie enjoys visiting the region’s museums and theatres with husband Andrew as well as networking. But her big passion remains her work. “I have always had an interest in personal development and a belief that you can make things happen for yourself,” says Debbie. “If you think life is awful, it will be awful. But it is often very petty things in business that can grind people down. We brood on things and tell people we are not happy. “Having someone independent to challenge that way of thinking while being supportive is what business coaching is about.”
Work: Business and executive coaching Site: Elland Phone: 07803 736865 Email: debbie@ thebrand coach.co.uk
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College turns to 600 UK for lathes A NEW £60m further education college has chosen lathes made by a Kirklees firm to equip its state-of-the-art engineering training facility. Heckmondwike-based 600 UK has supplied eight of its highly successful Harrison M300 lathes for the skills and technology centre at the college at Newcastle-under-Lyme. The equipment, which was supplied through distributor RK International Machine Tools Ltd, is being used by advanced engineering apprentices and other students at the college, which opened its new campus at the beginning of the year. “Our training philosophy is based on providing students with the right foundation skills, the building blocks. That’s why all our turning machines are manually operated,” said Mike Peacock, the college’s engineering work based learning co-ordinator. “We train our youngsters to con-
trol these machines manually. We believe that it’s very important for them to have the fundamental skills at the beginning of their training and that is also what employers tell us they require. They can then progress to more complex machines.” Mr Peacock said the college’s success in training engineering apprentices at its former campus, which was equipped with 600 UK’s Colchester Student and Harrison M300 lathes, had led to strong links with engineering sector firms in the West Midlands region. As well as machine tool training, first-year “off the job” apprentices on the college’s four-year apprenticeship programme undergo skills training in bench-fitting, fabrication, welding and electrical-electronic engineering. Mr Peacock said the college’s success in training the skills industry needed had led directly to the high level of investment for the college’s
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■ NEW MACHINE: Mike Peacock, of Newcastle-under-Lyme Ciollege with one of the new Harrison M300 lathes supplied by 600 UK
Skills and Technology Centre. He said the Harrison M300 lathes
were “the best machines available for the training we provide and they are certainly coming up to our expectations”. 600 UK and RK International Machine Tools Ltd, based at Erith, Kent, have a well-established, reputation for supplying teaching technology to engineering colleges and other training providers. Mike Berry, managing director of 600 Europe, said: “We are delighted that Newcastle-under-Lyme College has identified the Harrison M300 lathe as the best in the market for training the engineers of tomorrow. “The machines have a long and proven track-record in the UK engineering industry and the college’s decision to invest in these lathes for its advanced new training centre shows that they have an important ongoing role in delivering the skills needed by the high-technology engineering industry.
Chancellor’s choices ATCHING the Channel 4 TV debate W between the next government’s potential chancellors, it might have been surpris-
ing to see so much agreement and a “love-in” (as described by Liberal Democrat Vince Cable) between the main political parties. This was despite the prior rhetoric suggesting that the economic policies of the parties are markedly different. In fact, whichever party wins the next election will need to implement sweeping cuts to government spending and higher taxes. The main reason behind the requirement to implement harsher fiscal tightening than that witnessed during Mrs Thatcher’s government of the early 1980s is the growing level of government borrowing in the UK economy. In this coming financial year, Britain is set to borrow £167bn (equivalent to around £1 for every £4 the government spends). This figure represents close to 12% of national income. In addition, the increase in borrowing will almost triple the debt owed by the British government from £527bn in 2007-08 to a projected £1,400bn in 2014-15. It is calculated that the UK will borrow more in the four years from 2008-09 than in the whole of history since William the Conqueror. Unfortunately, governments seeking to borrow money from debt markets over the next few years may find that lenders of the money (mainly pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and banks) are far more particular about who they lend the money to and the interest rate they expect to receive. The crisis impacting the UK economy is also affecting other developed world economies and these countries will be forced to compete for
CITY TALK Simon Kaye
funding from global investors. As a result, bond markets could force governments to be more financially prudent even if they don’t believe that it is good for the economy or good for their chances of re-election. Greece is a good example of a country that has been forced into fiscal responsibility as a result of the financial crisis. By the end of this year, Moody’s estimates that government debt will exceed GDP (the total income of the economy) by 1.2x and debt interest payments will account for 15% of government revenue. Unless the Greek government follows through on the tough austerity measures that it has announced so far, the rate of interest it pays on its 10 year bonds will need to rise from the current level of 6.5% in order to attract new lenders. The lessons which the Greek example provides to the next UK government are clear. Firstly, present a credible plan to re-align government spending with revenues as soon as possible after the election. Secondly, ensure the plans are implemented. Failure to carry out either of these actions could see interest rates (on 10-year bonds) rise significantly above their current level of 4% over the next couple of years.
Simon Kaye is divisional director at Rensburg Sheppards Investment Management
Recycling reminder KIRKLEES firms have been reminded of their recycling responsibilities for electrical items. Anyone importing, rebranding or manufacturing electrical or electronic equipment must register with the Environment Agency under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations. Breaching the regulations can lead to a court appearance and the threat of a fine of up to £5,000 in the magistrates’ court or without limit in the crown court. The regulations were brought in to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage businesses to reuse, recycle and recover more. Every year, the UK throws away about 2m tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment – one of the fastest-growing types of waste in the UK and the European Union. The EU adopted the WEEE regulations to deal with this waste and make sure more is collected for treatment and recovery and less goes to landfill. Manufacturers and importers of electrical equipment now are obliged to offer to take back redundant equipment, including computers, televisions, photocopiers, power tools, lighting, large and small household appliances, and toys. The regulations, which came into force in early 2007, also apply to businesses which sell or dispose of electrical or electronic equipment and aim to prevent illegal exports. Call 08708 506506 or visit www.environment-agency. gov.uk/weee
Putting sales on the menu FOOD companies in Yorkshire are set to meet potential buyers at an event this month. The Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and Humber is staging its seventh national Meet the Buyer event on April 15 at Oulton Hall Hotel, Leeds. The event attracts hundreds of companies nationwide – instigating millions of pounds worth of new business every year. Producers get the opportunity to show their products in front of influential buyers from national supermarkets, food service and contract caterers, large hospitality providers and public sector and independent stores. RFG chief executive Jonathan Knight said: “We make sure that we invite a wide range of suppliers and buyers, to ensure that a variety of products and sectors are catered for.” Contact Melanie Whitehead on 01937 830 354.
Healthy signs at display business A COMPANY in Huddersfield has achieved “product partner” status. Information management systems supplier Visual Systems Healthcare, based at Wakefield Road, Denby Dale, is the first official product partner for Lean Healthcare Academy under a project pertinent to companies and organisations supplying the NHS. Visual Systems Healthcare designs and manufactures a full range of visual display products, including outdoor and indoor signs, ward information boards, patient name signs and bed patient chart holders. The product partner initiative supplements the expanding stable of products and services offered by the Lean Healthcare Academy, a leader in the field of healthcare training and a division of Ilkley-based online training pioneer Virtual College. Judith Clarkson, divisional director at Virtual College, said: “Due to huge demand from our 24-strong network of NHS member organisations, we have implemented the scheme to bring all product partners under a single supply umbrella. “They will all be carefully selected and vetted to ensure they offer only the most relevant and value for money products required throughout the NHS. “In return, product partners will gain access to a growing network of established clients through the Lean Healthcare Academy’s online store. They will also feature in our marketing material and have oppor-
■ GOOD SIGNS: Lean Healthcare Academy manager Wendy Gauntley (left) with Visual Systems Healthcare director Helen Hunter (centre) and service and sales manager Debbie Smith
tunities to sponsor relevant sector-specific events.” Helen Hunter, director at Visual Systems Healthcare, said: “Becoming the Lean
Healthcare Academy’s first official product partner is an opportunity for us to further strengthen our existing partnership with the NHS.”
Forum seeking new members KIRKLEES firms are being urged to gear up to the challenges and opportunities of going green. Business support group CO2Sense Yorkshire is seeking more members for its Better Business Environment Forum covering West Yorkshire. The forum aims to make sense of green issues – from regulations and legislation to new business and funding opportunities. It is backed by CO2Sense Yorkshire, a business support and market development programme funded by Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund. The forum brings members together to network, share best practice and get information and advice. Members can also access support on reducing the environmental impact of their operations. The forum ran nine events last year, attracting 350 people from 250 different organisations. More than 2,500 contacts already receive news and information through the forum, making it one of West Yorkshire’s busiest and best resources for environmental news, information and networking. The programme of events in the next few months includes a coach trip to the UK’s biggest environmental event Sustainability Live, a look into the world of sustainable buildings and a briefing on producer responsibility regulations. Forum member Clare Townley, managing director of Todmorden-based engineering firm Harmsworth Townley, said “We love BBEF meetings as a versatile ‘green’ tool box. They help us make the most of our resources in a very enjoyable and informative way. We
■ GREEN WAYS: Sam Saxby (left), environmental business adviser, and Clare Townley, a member of the Better Business Environment Forum, pictured with solar powered desk top display "vippers"
are able to network, promote our own renewable energy products and share our microgeneration and carbon cutting experience, whilst also learning from others in a supportive and non-competitive environment.” Forum co-ordinator Sam Saxby said: “Interest in green issues is growing fast among West Yorkshire’s businesses. BBEF aims to help them seize the opportunities and rise to the challenges which we all now face.” Contact Sam on 01274 206664 or 07827 318674 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sesame is opening its account! FINANCIAL services firm Sesame has scooped two top industry awards. The Lindley-based company was recognised for the high quality services and support it delivers to independent financial advisers and mortgage brokers across the UK. Sesame won Best Network and Support Services provider for the second year running at the prestigious Money Marketing Financial Services Awards 2010 in London. And on an evening of double celebration, Sesame was also named Best Mortgage Network. Sesame, which is part of the Sesame Bankhall Group, is the UK’s largest provider of support services to financial advisers and has been named top UK IFA for the last five consecutive years by FT Business publication Financial Adviser. In January this year, Sesame also won a top accolade at the Professional Adviser Awards 2010 when financial advisers across the UK voted it Best IFA Network. Last year, Sesame acquired professional support services businesses Bankhall and PMS. The combined group now supports more than 10,000 independent financial advisers and mortgage brokers. Stephen Young, Sesame Bankhall Group’s chief operating officer, said: “We are delighted with this double award recognition – and it is by focusing on our customers and helping them through the tough economic challenges of the last two years that our group has itself continued to be successful and profitable. “This is testament to the hard work of our people and it gives us a strong platform for continued future success. “ He added: “Independent financial advisers and mortgage brokers deliver a valuable service to millions of people in local communities across the UK, and we believe that in the years ahead their skills will be in even greater demand from the British public. “We are operating in a tough competitive market, but the expertise of our people and the quality of our services means that we are in great shape.”
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Focus switches to Media Centre site
A CARING company has a new home in Huddersfield. Focus Care Services has moved into offices at The Creative Lofts alongside the Media Centre in Northumberland Street. The company, which is registered under the Domiciliary Care Agencies Regulations, provides support staff to promote independent living for people in a community setting. It specialises in providing supported living services for individuals with various degrees of learning or physical disabilities, including visual impairment, autism, dementia and functional mental health needs. The organisation has been based at Wood Street in Huddersfield since its formation in 1999 and is represented across Kirklees, Wakefield and Bradford. Founder James Brown said: “Our staff are delighted to be
moving into new premises which will allow us to administer the full range of care services. “Just as importantly, the move will enable us to provide a professional, warm and welcoming environment for visitors, existing staff and new people we are endeavouring to recruit.” Said Mr Brown: “We have always considered our support staff to be our most important asset and our new offices will enable us to continue and improve our staff training facilities, enabling everyone associated with us and those we serve to realise their full potential through support, encouragement and understanding. “The move is very much in line with our dedicated ethos of providing the best possible social care available, something recognised by the Care Quality Commission who graded our services as excellent.”
■ CREATIVE MOVE: Pam Kaur (left), Janine Willows (centre) and Charmaine Brown, of Focus Care Services, which has transferred to new premises at Huddersfield's Creative Lofts
New deals for a top spot REGENERATION specialist Waystone has announced three significant new deals at its Glasshoughton development, near Wakefield. Waystone has sold a three-acre site in the major mixed use development to Wakefield District Council for a new household waste recycling centre. The facility will replace units in Castleford and Wakefield. A two-acre site has been sold to Wakefield and District
Housing to provide 40 to 50 new homes close to the new Asda store. This will complement 187 existing homes already built at Glasshoughton. And Waystone has agreed to sell a 1.25-acre plot at Glasshoughton for a new family-orientated pub restaurant. The Cloverleaf will cover almost 10,000sq ft while the site will also have parking for up to 71 vehicles.
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Page 6 Brighter picture for housing HOUSEBUILDERS have reported a brighter picture for their industry. Latest figures from the National House Building Council show that registrations for new homes rose by 73% to 9,556 during February compared with 5,526 for the same month last year. Applications to build new homes across the UK during the three months December, 2009, to February, 2010, were up by 66% to 24,105 against 14,537 registrations for the same period last year. In Yorkshire, there were 1,465 registrations during the quarter against 927 last time. However, NHBC cautioned that build levels are s t i l l 4 0 % l ow e r t h a n pre-recession and insufficient to meet demand. “As we enter the spring building season, there is a cautious optimism about the signs of improvement across the housing market,” said chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi.
Mill development now 80% occupied A MAJOR mill development in Huddersfield is now 80% occupied. Folly Hall Mills is close to being fully occupied following the decision by insurance, pensions and investments group LV= to open offices in the award-winning development. LV= is taking more than 13,000sq ft of office space at the £8m Folly Hall Mills on the banks of the River Colne, creating up to 75 jobs. Huddersfield-based developer the Jay Tee Group has converted the historic 19th century grade II former woollen mill, which had been derelict for 27 years, into 60,000sq ft of prime office space. Phase one of the development, comprising 16,900sq ft of offices, has already been fully let to Huddersfield companies ESTL and Above & Beyond. Phase two, featuring almost 40,000sq ft of new office space, now only has 13,000sq ft of office space still available to lease. Rents are in the region of £15 per sq ft. The development will also boast its own cafe bar – Café 1844 – which is due to open shortly on the ground floor of the larger mill. Paul Bailey, project director at the Jay Tee Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome LV= to Folly Hall Mills, which is a tremendous development for Huddersfield.
■ MILL WORK: Alec Michael (left), of agents Michael Steel, and Paul Bailey, of developer Jay Tee, in the offices which LV= will occupy at Folly Hall Mills
“The fact that a national insurance company of LV=’s stature is coming here is a fantastic endorsement of our scheme. “Folly Hall has involved significant regeneration of the riverside area, creating new employment opportunities and raising the profile of Huddersfield as a major office destination in the region. “Now Folly Hall is 80% let and there is only 13,000 sq ft of prime office space left in the main mill over two floors, which can be leased or
bought. This space can be divided into office units from 2,000sq ft upwards. We feel they will prove very attractive to professional services firms of all sizes, as well as to the public sector. LV= owns road rescue company Britannia Rescue, which is already based in Huddersfield town centre. Folly Hall will be the company’s new home from July. As well as the Britannia Rescue management team, LV= will open a new 24-hour call centre in Folly Hall to deal with both calls from LV= car insurance customers who have been involved in an accident, and Britannia Rescue breakdown calls. The 24-hour service will also be expanded to LV= home insurance customers during 2010 and the new office is set to become the company’s primary 24-hour call centre. Simon Stevens, general manager of LV= in Huddersfield, said: “We are delighted to be expanding in the town.” The joint agents for the scheme are Eddisons and Michael Steel and Co. Alec Michael, partner at Michael Steel, said: “There are a number of prestigious schemes proposed for central Huddersfield, but Folly Hall is the first to deliver the high-quality accommodation – so full of character – that is preferred by many modern businesses and organisations.”
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Country houses prove their value WHILE the UK property market as a whole has suffered badly over the past two years – with falling prices and stagnant sales – the country house property market has remained resilient to extremely difficult economic conditions. Figures from property consultancy Carter Jonas, which has offices at Slaithwaite, showed a 13.3% rise in total UK country house sales during 2009 and 2008. The number of sales for homes priced between £1m and £2m rose by 11.1% compared to sale totals for 2007 and 2006. Carter Jonas said these figures suggested that the country homes market has been “bullet-proofed” against the worst recession in 50 years. More country houses were sold during 2008 than in any year in the past five years. Against all the economic turmoil, sales of country houses in 2008 increased by 15.6% compared to 2007. Although 2009 saw a 15.4% fall in sales compared to 2008, the number of country houses sold last year was only 6.7% lower than 2007 levels – and this was at a time when the country tumbled into recession and bank finance dried up completely. James England, head of the residential department at Carter Jonas’ Slaithwaite office, said: “The past two years have been as bad as anyone in the property industry can remember. “But the one shining light has been the high-end country house market, which has stood up impressively to the challenges of a
failing economy and a property market in meltdown. “There are several factors which are likely to have contributed to the resilience of the country house market during this economic turmoil. “Firstly the typical country house buyer is a high net worth individual who generally does not require mortgage finance. “Hence, they haven’t faced the same problems that many homebuyers have faced, trying to secure funds from banks that are reluctant to lend. “Also, the typical country house buyer is a well informed investor rather than a speculative purchaser. “They generally know what they are looking for and are making an informed decision rather than a gut-feel purchase. “Although we are not seeing a torrent of high-end country houses coming onto the market, the properties that we are being instructed on are of a very high quality and there are plenty of well-matched buyers, with specific requirements who have finance in place.” Said Mr England: “The outlook for the country homes market for the remainder of 2010 is extremely positive, despite the dark shadow of a General Election looming overhead. “We are receiving a high level of enquiries from quality buyers and taking new instructions on a weekly basis. Sales figures for the first quarter of 2010 were encouraging.”
■ RESLIENT: James England, head of residential for Carter Jonas in Huddersfield
Page 7 Agency is charting a new course PROPERTY agent Christie + Co has been instructed by Admiral Taverns – the UK’s third largest tenanted and leased pub company – to market 150 pubs, including several in Yorkshire. The sites, which have not previously been on the market, are almost all freehold and range in price from £75,000 to £600,000. The pubs, which are spread from Newcastle in the north to Plymouth in the south-west, are available in small groups or individually. Admiral chairman Jonathan Paveley said: “The decision to sell these pubs follows a review of the Admiral Taverns estate and – while they no longer fit the requirements of our business – they offer good opportunities to a variety of potential buyers with the skills to achieve their potential.” Neil Morgan, head of pubs for Christie + Co, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Admiral Taverns to sell this group of predominantly freehold pubs, which we expect to generate significant interest from regional and local operators, individual buyers and developers.”
2 Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield 240 - 490 m² (2,582 - 5,274 ft²) Self contained offices Prominent town centre location
Yorkshire targeted for £341m boost A GOVERNMENT agency has invested more than £340m in Yorkshire to provide new houses. The Homes and Communities Agency invested £341m in the region last year and expects to report an “exceptional” performance for housing starts and completions, according to its regional director David Curtis. An early assessment of year-end figures will now be audited and formally reported in the HCA’s annual report in July. The HCA’s total expenditure in the Yorkshire & Humber was £341.33m. Under the agency’s Property and Regeneration Programme, 149 hectares of brownfield land were reclaimed, bringing the region’s redundant land back into productive use and helping to remove the blight of dereliction in communities. Employment and new economic activity were given a boost through the creation of 11,340s metres of employment floorspace. Further jobs and apprenticeships were supported by the Housing Stimulus Package. Regeneration projects in Yorkshire and Humber, including Park Hill and Frickley
Colliery, also received a share of the £575.2m of private sector investment the agency attracted nationally through its Property and Regeneration Programme. Mr Curtis said: “I am delighted to say that our HCA regional team, working in conjunction with our partners in local authorities and private developers, have been able to achieve so much in the current economic climate. “We have been able to support a very significant number of homes for people in places where they want to live at a price they can afford.” Details of housing starts and completions in Yorkshire and Humber cannot be reported until June due to their status as official statistics. However, the agency anticipates reporting an exceptional performance in what remains an extremely fragile housing market. As well as more than £3.646bn spent nationally through its Affordable Housing Programme, the HCA also delivered the Housing Stimulus Package, investing £ 51m in the region to get stalled housing developments moving again through the Kickstart programme .
Land at Storthes Hall Lane Huddersfield 17.92 hectares (44.28 acres) Green belt land Popular location in Kirkburton
Hoyer Industrial Park, Leeds Road Huddersfield 335 - 1,731 m² (3,611 - 18,630 ft²) Various industrial units within secure site RENTS REDUCED
Calder Bank Mills, Dewsbury 22,043 m² (237,286 ft²) Substantial industrial complex On a site of 3.61 hectares (8.93 acres)
Contact Jonathan O’Connor on 01484 533151
Leeds, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Glasgow, Huddersfield
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Not in it for the brass... ONE of Britain’s best-known brass bands is tuning up for business. Brighouse and Rastrick Band, which holds the title of Most Entertaining Band and Yorkshire champions, has joined forces with Wright Angle Marketing Ltd, winner of the category for Employer of the Year in the 2009 Examiner Business Awards. The band is looking to increase the number of appearances it makes and wanted to work with a marketing and public relations company to strengthen its brand and raise its profile. So band members were delighted when WAM contacted them to offer its services free of charge. Band president Paul Beaumont said: “We are very excited to be working with WAM. They have an excellent reputation
Movers and shakers
Solid start for Liquid Accounts ONLINE accounting software supplier Liquid Accounts Ltd has unveiled a new website – and a new appointment. The Longwood-based business has appointed full service marketing agency Fantastic Media to design and build the new site – and has since engaged the Birstall-based agency to develop and implement a strategic plan across the full marketing mix of services. The objectives are to build
brand awareness, attract new users and strengthen the company’s position as a market leader in the fast growing field of online accounting software. Liquid Accounts is one of the pioneers of online accounting software – also known as Cloud Computing or Software as a Service – which creates jargon-free, user-friendly systems designed to save clients time and money. Fantastic Media conducted extensive research into the market
in order to gain a strong insight into Liquid’s customer base. Following this research, a fresh and functional new website has been built and launched, targeted at helping clients with their financial management. Andrew McCarthy, strategic planning director at Fantastic Media, said: “Liquid Accounts is a pioneering company which has used technology to revolutionise the online accounting landscape. “We have worked in partner-
Recipe for success!
EMPLOYMENT law comes under the spotlight at an event in Huddersfield. Human resources and employment law specialists The Howarth Partnership Ltd are staging a free seminar on the latest employment legislation. The half-day event takes place on Wednesday, April 21, at the Galpharm Stadium. The subject is a very hot topic for all employers as the Employment Act 2008 places greater emphasis on the employer to ensure disciplinary issues are dealt with in accordance with new statutory procedures and guidelines. The Howarth Partnership Ltd, based in Cleckheaton, is rapidly expanding and is moving to bigger premises within the next couple of months. Senior legal director Andy Howarth said the expansion was being driven by increased demand for legal advice, tribunal representation and management training on HR and employment law issues. It would also provide better facilities for running courses.
ship with their team to enhance the company’s online presence and moving forward we will execute a clearly defined marketing strategy to help achieve their business objectives.” Liquid Accounts managing director Matt Holmes said: “Fantastic demonstrated a great understanding of our business, what we want to communicate to our clients and the results we want to achieve.”
On your bikes for a new deal A COFFEE supplier is making a return to backing Superbikes after a nine year absence. Bradley-based independent coffee distributor Cooper’s Coffee has forged a partnership with a British race team competing in the Supersport and Superstock Championships. Map Centurion Triumph Racing is a new factory-backed race team established by Dave Fairbrother, of Tech 2 Racing, and Paul Rees, of Centurion Racing and includes a rider who shares the name Cooper – 22-year-old Dan Cooper. The team has “signed up” for three of Cooper’s filter coffee machines as well as a steady supply of Cooper’s coffee for all their corporate hospitality events. Cooper’s Coffee first became linked to the sport when managing director David Cooper headed a Ducati Superbike team in 2001. He said: “Motorbike racing is one of my passions and since my involvement with the industry nine years ago, I remain an avid watcher of the sport. It’s great to be involved in this world again and I hope that our relationship with Dan Cooper and his team goes from strength to strength.” Team hospitality manager John Cooper decided to sign up to Cooper’s after the company’s coffee was recommended by Eventmaker Hospitality, which caters for some of the top teams in the BSB paddock. Paul Rees said: “The sales and service we have received so far has been exemplary and Cooper’s have
for achieving results for their clients – one of whom has just seen an increase in their PR values of 76% over the last year. “When WAM have delivered that for us we will be well on the way to achieving our aims. It is especially gratifying to know that there are companies out there who have agendas which are not based purely on finance.” Judith Wright, of Barkisland-based WAM said: “I was brought up on brass bands as my dad was a huge fan of Brighouse and Rastrick so I have seen them many times over the years. “It is a fantastic opportunity for us to become part of something with such a history and on a personal level it is a great feeling to know my Dad would have loved it.”
Seminar finds sporting venue
■ KITCHEN CREW: The Approach PR team (left, from back) Verity Hudson, Charlotte Booth and Claire Moulds, with ALNO UK marketing manager Sarah Mitchell (front left) and Approach managing director Suzanne Johns A PUBLIC relations firm formed in Kirklees has cooked up a new contract. Approach PR, headed by Gomersal woman Suzanne Johns, has been appointed by one of Europe’s leading kitchen manufacturers, ALNO UK. Approach will be raising the profile of Dewsbury-based ALNO – and its UK-wide subsidiary kitchen retail business In-toto – among the national, women’s, interior and trade press. The Approach team has a combined 20 years of experience in the interiors sector – with retained clients including radiator manufacturer Heat Electric, tile maker CP Group and furniture designer Halo. ALNO UK marketing manager Sarah Mitchell said: “Approach PR demonstrated excellent interiors credentials and their passion shines through in everything they do. “This expertise offers a perfect fit for ALNO’s challenge of repositioning our brands in a highly competitive market and having an award winning PR team with such relevant
experience right on our doorstep was simply too good an opportunity to miss!” The five-strong Approach team has already enjoyed success in 2010 – securing the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Grand Prix award in January for corporate and business communications for its Yorkshire Biz Awards media campaign. Suzanne said: “Winning such a reputable international client and a national award in the space of two months has been a huge boost for the team and reinforces how our consistent hard work and determination is paying off. “It’s been an excellent start to the new decade and we’re looking forward to a long and successful relationship with ALNO and to continuing 2010 as positively as it started.” Approach was launched in Cleckheaton in 2001 and moved to Heckmondwike in 2003 before settling in Bradford in 2006. The company has won a series of gold and silver awards from the CIPR.
supplied the best equipment for the job. The team and guests that have sampled the coffee have all been highly complementary. “ John Cooper, who is Dan’s father, said: “This is the first year for this brand new race team and we are looking forward to using Cooper’s Coffee for our hospitality.” Dan (pictured above) will enter the Fuchs Silkolene Supersport championship alongside fellow rider AJ Venter. Team partners Jimmy Hill and Josh Caygill will enter the Metzler 600 Superstock Championship. The new, four-rider team will compete on Triumph Daytona 675 machines in these two prestigious BSB support classes. The Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship leads the support class in the televised British Superbikes Championship and has become the place for future world champions to be discovered and bike manufactures to go head-to-head. Dan was British 125 Champion in 2006 and finished the 2009 Supersport season in fifth place, having achieved first, second and third place podiums during the season.