unLTD. Connecting business across Sheffield City Region #73

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unLTD’s Joseph Food speaks with the directors and co-founders of the rapidly-growing Gravitate Accounting, a dynamic digital accountancy firm revolutionising perceptions of the industry with innovative tech and a people-centric philosophy


Phil Turner pays a visit to MEPS International, a stalwart in steel market analysis who are ensuring that Sheffield’s global steel legacy remains alive and kicking.


Anna Maher, founder of Anna Maher Recruitment, discusses her three-decade-long career in the recruitment sector and how it paved the way for a successful venture into providing Rec2Rec services.


The multi-million pound renovation of the highly anticipated Leah’s Yard building will soon be complete. Director Tom Wolfenden tells unLTD how the venue is putting office space for independent businesses at the heart of the project.

Even by our standards, it’s an action- packed issue this month. We kick things off on page 6 with an exclusive chat with Greg Majchrzak, top dog at Tufcot, who tells us all about their expansion plans.

We’ve then got some great insight into a couple of Sheffield businesses who are certainly showing the business community how to be a success.

First there’s an in-depth chat with MEPS MD Jayne Craven on page 27, who tells us all about a business journey that has taken her from the utilities industry into running the family business. Meanwhile, the management team at Gravitate, who have just expanded to offer corporate accounting whilst picking up every award going, explain how they are shaking up the numbers game. That’s on page 34.

Elsewhere, recruitment specialist Anna Maher talks us through her business journey (page 42) while Tom Wolfenden, one of the men behind the new office/retail development at Leahs Yard gives us an inside look at the new space set to launch this summer (page 46).

We also have lunch with Harriet Ecclestone on page 54, founder of the eponymous, awardwinning, Sheffield-based responsible women’s clothing brand as well as hearing some good news about Doncaster Airport. Enjoy.

unLTD is published monthly by Blind Mice Media Ltd Unit 1B Rialto, 2 Kelham Island Sq., Kelham Riverside, Sheffield S3 8SD The views contained herein are not necessarily those of Blind Mice Media Ltd and while every effort is made to ensure information throughout unLTD is correct, changes prior to distribution may take place which can affect the accuracy of copy, therefore Blind Mice Media Ltd cannot take responsibility for contributors’ views or specific listings.
EDITORIAL EDITOR Joe Food Joe@unltdbusiness.com ONLINE EDITOR Ash Birch Ash@unltdbusiness.com COLUMN EDITOR Olivia Warburton olivia@unltdbusiness.com VIDEO CONTENT CREATOR Lizzy Capps lizzy@unltdbusiness.com DESIGN Marc Barker ADVERTISING Phil Turner phil@unltdbusiness.com 07979 498 034 Nick Hallam nick@exposedmagazine.co.uk 07843 483536 FINANCE Lis Ellis accounts@ exposedmagazine.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS Charlotte Cassells Ryan Connolly Jo Davison Rachael Flintoft Ross Jarman Becca Morris Tim Renshaw Laura Stead Wendy Ward Jill White


Tufcot Expands To A New Site After A Record Period

Tufcot are a worldwide leading distributor of composite materials, having forged a strong presence in Sheffield for over 40 years. Beginning as one single machine being operated out of a garage by two former British Steel employees, the company now consists of an impressive 120 machines and employs more than 50 people.

The family-owned business has seen continued impressive growth in recent years and is now on a mission to uphold its legacy and create a ‘super site’, following the successful purchase of a

new building.

Currently based on Coleford Road in Darnall, Tufcot purchased the neighbouring site on Catley Road, enabling the business to separate its manufacturing facility from its engineering facility to further develop the company.

“It’s been a nail-biting 12 months, securing the new site,” says Greg Majchrzak, Managing Director. “But, now that we have it, we can forge forward with our plans for business growth.

“Since the business was established 42 years ago, we have grown year-on-year,

reinvesting heavily in both equipment and people. The new site takes Tufcot to another level.

“I am really excited by the projected growth of the company over the next five years.”

The company are in talks with project managers and architects as they plan to demolish to current building on Catley Road in order to develop a new, purpose-built, carbon-neutral facility which will house its manufacturing operations.

Greg adds: “This allows us to ultimately duplicate what we have in terms of

the manufacturing area on our current site, but it will be external.

“The reasons for this are, firstly, safety, as our materials are quite flammable. By separating departments out, it protects the company’s future. If anything was to go up, we’re not losing the whole company and we’d always be able to continue manufacturing and engineering at our new site.”

“But also, it will allow us to hopefully develop a carbon neutral facility, which is extremely efficient in terms of the flow of the operations, but also the manufacturing process. We’ve got an environmental coordinator, Beth, and she’s really on board with all of the plans. It’s a big challenge, but we’re going to go for it.

“It’s going to all be


generated by solar powerthat’s the initial environmental stage. Then, in terms of all the processes, we’re just going to make them as efficient as possible.

“So, it’s not a big development in terms of the structure of the company, but in terms of our operations, management and the actual processes, it’ll be huge for us.”

The company was advised on the purchase of the Catley Road site by Sheffield-based property law specialists

Mason Thomas Law.

“I am delighted at the successful outcome of the site purchase for Tufcot,” says Cathy Thomas, solicitor and owner of Mason Thomas Law. “Being able to assist them with their plans to expand the business further in Sheffield was wonderful to be involved in.”

Greg hopes that the acquisition of this new site will allow Tufcot to continue to prosper, setting them apart from others in the industry.

He says: “The level of service we offer compared with our competitors is just on a different level.

“For example, we state that for all quotations or sales requests, you get a quotation back within 24 hours unless it’s a complicated part or needs further development. Whereas, with our competitors, sometimes you can be waiting a week for just a reply because they’re that big.

“We can quote, manufacture and deliver finished parts before the competitor has even given a reply to the initial quotation. There are only five or six manufacturing companies

that do what we do all around the world.”

Tufcot’s main trade is in bearings and wear pads for machinery for use across various sectors including the hydraulics, marine and oil and gas industries. Their manufacturing process primarily uses additives such as Graphite amongst others, which acts as a powderform lubricant creating maintenance-free bearings in comparison to more traditional phosphor bronze, brass or steel bearings, which all need replacing, much more regularly.

They plan to continue staying ahead of the curve through this expansion, keeping product quality, customer experience and their environmental impact in mind as they set out on their latest growth journey.

Once completed, the new site will increase capacity at Tufcot by 50%, enabling the business to bolster its workforce by an additional 10% over the next three years.

Greg adds: “We are a very proud Sheffield business. This is where we were founded and will continue to be based.

“It’s so exciting. I moved up here 15 years ago now, and I said to the owner, Elvin, there’s no way we’ll fill our new site in the next 25 years, and here we are 15 years later, developing again.

“It shows that we’re doing a lot of things right.”

Demolition of the Catley Road building is expected to commence next year ahead of construction of the new site, with anticipation for what the future holds brewing throughout the whole Tufcot team.



Navigating the challenges of family-run businesses: 5 key issues addressed

Family-run businesses represent a unique blend of personal relationships and professional endeavours. While these ventures offer numerous advantages, they also face distinctive challenges that require careful consideration and strategic planning. Ryan Fitzpatrick, corporate partner at Shakespeare Martineau in Sheffield, delves into five common issues encountered by family-run businesses.

Securing the foundation: Legal structure and governance

Family businesses must have a suitable and robust legal structure and governance to thrive. Bespoke shareholder agreements and articles of association act as cornerstones – without them, shares are freely transferable under the Companies Act 2006. Provisions such as preemption rights (the right of first refusal) and compulsory transfer clauses (deemed transfer of shares in certain situations such as death, incapacity or bankruptcy) safeguard against undesired share transfers to unknown third parties, ensuring continuity and protecting the business from external influences.

Recently, one of our clients assumed he would inherit his brother’s shares upon his death. However, without the relevant corporate legal documentation in place, his brother’s shares in the company could have transferred to his partner who had no prior involvement or understanding of the family business – potentially jeopardising its future prospects and management.

By implementing a shareholders’ agreement and preparing bespoke articles, we gave our client peace of mind in respect of the transfer of shares and the running of the business going forward.

Guiding principles: Family business agreements

Establishing a family business agreement provides our clients with a roadmap for governance and directions on family wealth. While not legally binding, this document outlines business goals, roles, policies and protocols –promoting transparency and cohesion within the family enterprise. By creating a clear framework for operation, family business agreements minimise conflicts and enhance operational efficiency.

Balancing act: Employment practices

Balancing the employment of family members and

non-family members requires clear policies and procedures. Our employment law and HR specialists can help formalise employment contracts –eliminating accusations of nepotism and ensuring fairness in hiring practices.

Smooth transitions: Buying and selling with sensitivity

Transactions involving family-run businesses demand a nuanced approach. Experienced corporate solicitors adept at navigating familial dynamics are indispensable for smooth acquisitions or sales. Sensitivity to interpersonal relationships is crucial in mitigating tensions that may arise during such transitions and can help completion to be achieved without delay.

Passing the torch: Family succession planning Planning for the future is vital to ensure the seamless transfer of leadership within

family businesses. Succession plans facilitate efficient transitions whilst preserving family legacies. Recently, we successfully advised a local family-run manufacturing business on setting up an employee ownership trust, which offers tax advantages and promotes employee engagement. This enabled the business owners to sell their shares to the trust company – securing the long-term future of the business while benefiting all employees.

Addressing the multifaceted challenges of family-run businesses necessitates a comprehensive approach encompassing legal, financial and interpersonal aspects. By proactively dealing with these issues with the guidance of experienced legal professionals, family businesses can continue to expand and prosper, ensuring a legacy of success for generations to come.

Steel Cactus Ltd, Unit 8, President Buildings, Savile Street East, Sheffield, S4 7UQ Tel: 0114 287 0652 // info@steel-cactus.co.uk // www.steel-cactus.co.uk


Doncaster-Sheffield Airport is inching closer to reopening after Doncaster City Council announced a 125year lease has been signed to take over the site.

The lease will help ensure the future of the airport, with an ambition to return planes to the skies across the city.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “This is a major step in the reopening process. The next is appointing an operator and investor who will manage and develop the airport. This process is well underway and I am optimistic that I can announce a partnership later in the spring.

“I would like to personally thank council officers who have worked tirelessly with great dedication, insight, determination and skill to get us to where we are today. This has been no mean feat.

Let’s look forward to the future with an airport that will help boost the economic and growth fortunes of our city, South Yorkshire and the north.”

Responding to the announcement, South

Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard added: “I am very pleased at today’s news that City of Doncaster Council have agreed a lease with Peel which is an important step on the way to re-opening Doncaster-Sheffield Airport.

“There remain steps ahead on this journey, the next one being bringing in a private operator with the capability and experience to turn DSA into the thriving regional airport we know it can be.

“I am keen to see the Council now secure that private sector operator to run the airport as swiftly as possible. Once they have that agreement in place, the Mayoral Combined Authority stands ready to assess the Full Business Case (FBC) in order to release the funding to support this deal, and to get DSA flying again.

“I know people want us to move quickly and we will, but I have said from the start, we will only ever do things in a way that protects taxpayers while giving both DSA and South Yorkshire the brightest possible future.”


Barnsley Council is set to launch a new Age-Friendly project in an effort to make the town more age-friendly.

Like many areas of the UK, Barnsley has an ageing population, with 40% of its residents being 50 or older. Therefore, ensuring that town centre facilities, shops and venues are welcoming to everyone is vitally important.

The first phase of the Age-Friendly project will focus primarily within The Glass Works, Barnsley’s flagship retail and leisure development, with ambitions to expand the project into other town centre venues later.

Tenants of The Glass Works will be invited to be part of the project and will

be supported to achieve the Barnsley Age-Friendly accreditation, which will demonstrate to the public how businesses are ensuring all visitors’ experience of The Glass Works is positive.

Cllr Robin Franklin, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “Our towns and cities

need to ensure that urban centres remain accessible to all, including older adults as the UK’s average age continues to increase.

“In Barnsley, we are committed to being at the forefront of this initiative, being a place leader by tackling ageism, reducing stigma, and taking action to reduce the inequalities people experience as they grow older.

“This project is a wonderful step at making Barnsley the best place to grow old, but it is something that needs to be replicated across the country.”

As a member of the UK Age-Friendly Network, Barnsley has committed to implementing the AgeFriendly Communities

principles developed by the World Health Organisation across its plan.

The Age-Friendly Communities principles involve improving cleanliness, noise levels and green spaces in town centres, while also creating rest areas, reducing hazards, and creating cohesive and integrated spaces where all communities can feel safe to enjoy their experiences.

Barnsley Council has designed this project collaboratively with The Glass Works, Age UK Barnsley, BIADS (Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support) and The Foot Health Practice, the first tenant of The Glass Works to sign up for the accreditation.




A panel of inspiring female tech-industry leaders from across South Yorkshire came together to host a discussion about the future of digital transformation, sharing their expertise with local businesses.

Hosted by Innovation Network South Yorkshire, a partnership between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, the event attracted over 60 attendees eager to network and partake in thought-provoking discussions with like-minded peers.

Joining the panel of digital business leaders were representatives from Enterprising Barnsley, the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, and both Sheffield universities, with a focus on facilitating future collaborations to drive regional growth.

Key speakers included Bella Abrams, Director of IT Services at The University of Sheffield, Tracey Johnson, Tech Ecosystem Lead at Enterprising Barnsley, Jurga Zilinskiene MBE, CEO and Founder of Guildhawk and Ann Norton, Assistant Dean of the College of Business, Technology and Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, amongst many others.

Discussions explored topics such as the impact of artificial intelligence, how to capitalise on digital innovation, the digital skills gap and how to bridge it and how to harness the varied regional support available to businesses, with the panel also sharing powerful insights on the challenges women navigate in what is a traditionally male-dominated field.

Tracey Johnson, Tech Ecosystem Lead at Enterprising Barnsley, who spoke at the event said: “The Innovation Network’s events are the perfect way to bring South Yorkshire’s entrepreneurs and business innovators together with the expertise and knowledge of our amazing universities.

“The event demonstrated the wealth of knowledge, expertise and personality in our region and the keen desire to share this widely for the collective good. We enjoyed the insights of a panel of phenomenal entrepreneurs with a timely reminder that a diverse economy is a good economy.”

Another speaker, Jurga Zilinskiene MBE, CEO and Founder, Guildhawk Ltd, added: “In South Yorkshire, innovation isn’t just key—it’s imperative. The tech sector’s rapid pace demands we adapt quickly, bringing our teams along. "



Mason Thomas Law has been named as Sheffield & District Law Society’s Commercial Property Team of the Year 2024. This award recognised Mason Thomas Law’s dedication to their clients and peers as well as their community contribution through fundraising and volunteering for its nominated charity Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC).


The Sheffield College has been made an official partner of the South Yorkshire Institute of Technology, which aims to help local employers get the higher technical skills they need for growth. As part of its contribution to the South Yorkshire IoT, the college will provide access to higher technical qualifications (HTQs) of university level through its UC Sheffield.


A deal has been agreed for a flagship aircraft production site in South Yorkshire with the potential to create 1,200 jobs. Hybrid Air Vehicles and the City of Doncaster Council have agreed terms to locate the production programme for Airlander 10 at Carcroft Common with the plans expected to create a £1bn-plus per annum export business.


Savills Barbers, Sheffield’s award-winning stylish men’s grooming brand, is set to open a new flagship barber shop and training academy in Sheffield city centre this spring, as part of the Heart of the City development being led by the council. With this new location, Savills Barbers aims to bring the traditional barber shop aesthetics up-to-date with a modern twist while working with the original 19th century features of the unit.



New Sheffield hotel announces opening date

Sheffield City Centre’s new flagship Radisson Blu hotel has announced it’s now taking bookings as its official opening date has been revealed.

The Radisson Blu hotel, which will overlook the city’s Peace Gardens boasts an impressive 154 rooms and a beautiful rooftop bar and restaurant and is set to open on 10 June 2024.

The global brand, renowned for its unparalleled service, comfort, and style, will open as part of Sheffield City Council and Strategic Development Partner, Queensberry’s, Heart of the City scheme.

With plans to accommodate visitors for both work and relaxation, the hotel is housed behind the sympathetically refurbished Victorian façade along Pinstone Street, once home to the Palatine Chambers and City Mews.

Cllr Ben Miskell, Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are very excited that work on our new Radisson Blu hotel is nearing completion.

“The view from the rooftop restaurant, overlooking the Peace Gardens, is a unique addition to the city centre and we can’t wait for the hotel’s guests and city centre visitors to enjoy it for themselves in June.

“Radisson Blu is a leading brand in the hospitality sector and one we had long hoped to bring to Sheffield. The hotel epitomises everything that is being achieved with Heart of the City and the high-quality benchmark we are setting.”

Valerie Donaldson, General Manager of Radisson Blu Sheffield added: “Sheffield is undergoing significant investment right now, and we are thrilled to be a part of the transformation of the city.

“We’re looking forward to working with Queensbury, Turner & Townsend, and Sheffield City Council to make this hotel come alive. We can’t wait to bring the Radisson Blu brand to Sheffield and create a place within the city where people want to come and eat, drink, stay and just have a really good time.”

With Jill White of Andy Hanselman Consulting


AI, Cyber Security and Woman’s Hour

This month started with a new location for me, Pennine5. What a transformation - the previous HSBC building is now a very upmarket office space with such a cool courtyard. Huge thanks to Tim Bottrill of Colloco who introduced me to Jeremy Hughes from RBH Properties who manage the space.

As a tenant on the top floor, Chris Cain from First Intuition very kindly ‘loaned’ us his conference room for our AI Taster Session. It was certainly a room with a view. A big shout to Chris, Natalie, Jenna and the whole of the First Intuition team who took care of our 70 plus guests so wonderfully.

Next was my first International Women’s Day event and a trip out to Chesterfield FC, thanks to Banner Jones Solicitors. An inspirational panel and even a little bit of sparring! Huge respect to boxing champion Rachael Mackenzie who wowed us with her story.

Another IWD event and another football club, this time SUFC. Great to hear from Jess Bent about the women’s team there and their winning ways. Partners at this event were the team at Bhayani HR and Law and again there was lots of food for thought. My final IWD event was at Wentworth Woodhouse for the annual Rotherham and Barnsley Chamber event. It was great to hear Hayley Koseoglu address a packed room and to see Lisa Pogson hosting the panel.

Now to public appointing, and what a coup for Sheffield to be chosen as one of the locations for the Government’s Public Appointments Talent and Outreach Event. Cutlers Hall was the venue and the host was Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State from the Cabinet Office. It was an enlightening overview and yes, I am tempted!

Speaking of coups, how about BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour in South Yorkshire? I was delighted to head to Cast in Doncaster for a live broadcast of the show. Right up my street! Fabulous to see Radio 4 Presenter Anita Ranu working with Radio Sheffield’s Paulette Edwards. And what a great job they did!

When the subject of ‘Entrepreneurship in Schools’ came up, I tried so hard to let them know all about Sheffield’s Big Challenge initiative, having come from the Inspirational Awards night the previous evening! What a night. What an inspiration. And what hope for our future! My challenge is to now get those young people on Radio 4. Watch this space!

Follow Jill at uk.linkedin.com/in/jilltywhite or find Andy Hanselman Consulting at andyhanselman.com.




Chair of trustees hails ‘longevity, resilience and independence’ as Sheffield’s Workstation celebrates 30th anniversary

More than 90 businesses and stakeholders recently attended an event marking the positive impact that Sheffield’s Work station has had on the economy in its 30-year history.

Brendan Moffett, Chair of Trustees at Showroom Workstation, opened proceedings. He said: “It’s important to take the time to celebrate this story of longevity, resilience and independence in a world of turmoil and constant change.

“At the time of opening, this building was seen as a bold and pioneering move on behalf of Sheffield City Council and an early example of place making and creative clustering. We look forward

to working closely with the city in their next phase of economic development.”

Keynote speaker, South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard, shared how future growth for the region was about combining all sectoral strengths - including digital, creative and cultural - to create a city and region “alive with opportunity” for future growth.

He added: “This is our moment as a region. We need to get it right. We want the right kind of jobs, developed with good partners, in our region. And that brings me back to the Workstation.

Because I think the work you do is a showcase of the best of South Yorkshire.

“You bring together the

three principles of our plan: a clear physical locus of activity, nourishing excellence; an anchor for better public services and regeneration; and delivering commercial goals without losing sight of your social conscience.”

A panel of speakers from across Sheffield also discussed the growth of digital, creative and cultural businesses and how they reap the rewards of collaboration. This included Melissa Chambers, CEO of Sitehop, a business which has recently secured £5m of seed funding. She said she was proud that the business had grown via the Work Station and all that it offers.

Work Station opened in 1993 as the city’s

first collaborative hub supporting independent businesses and in its time has supported SMEs to generate in excess of £340m in combined turnover. The space, on Paternoster Row, has been home to more than 250 businesses in its three decades to date and currently has over 600 people based on site.

To mark the anniversary, the Showroom Work Station has launched a competition for a start-up business to win six months of office space.

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Last year, FluidOne, a leading cyber security, IT and cloud services provider, purchased Sheffield-based IT services specialists Highlander.

Last year, FluidOne, a leading cyber security, IT and cloud services provider, purchased Sheffieldbased IT services specialists Highlander. From an outside perspective, things have remained relatively unchanged since the acquisition. However, 12 months on, this is changing, as Highlander undergo an extensive rebrand to become FluidOne Business IT –Sheffield.

The core of Highlander will remain unchanged, with the same team being on hand to offer the same trusted IT expert advice and solutions. Rather than changing the identity of the company, this rebrand is homogenising the FluidOne family, allowing Highlander to become FluidOne in name, not just spirit.

Steve Brown, Managing Director at Highlander, said: “Since Highlander became part of the FluidOne group in January 2023, we have enjoyed working alongside our new colleagues, broadening the scope of what we are able to achieve for our customers.

“Highlander’s Managed Service provision has proven to be a natural fit alongside FluidOne’s existing Connected

Cloud solutions. We are now taking the next step towards integration and becoming FluidOne in name.

“FluidOne believe in a business model of people buying local, using local services, knowledge and engineers.

“So, rather than have one big IT business based in one place with say 500 staff, there should

be one regionally that is the centre of excellence, which is us, but then there are branches around the country that service local areas, doing exactly what Highlander do: getting involved in the local colleges, universities, charities and Chamber of Commerce.

Highlander will continue to be the Centre of Excellence for the UK,

however, this change will allow them to develop their services even further.

Steve added: “It gives us a more integrated root into IT businesses and allows us to deliver a betterquality service. We’re still here, we’re still growing, we’re still developing, but this means we will be able to offer more services.

“Being part of the FluidOne family means we can help you to address more of your business challenges with our comprehensive suite of services now covering connectivity, SD-WAN, cyber security, IT managed services, mobile, IoT, UCaaS and CCaaS. Helping you to transform, manage and secure your IT environment, all while creating the best possible user experience for your employees.

“We would like to thank you for being part of Highlander’s story so far and look forward to embarking on this new chapter with you.”

Whilst they are integrating Highlander’s capabilities into the Business IT area of the FluidOne website, they will also have a new dedicated FluidOne Business IT – Sheffield subsite, which their current site (highlanderuk.com) will now redirect to.



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We work with specialists that offer advice and guidance on how companies can implement effective change to better improve wellbeing in the workplace. Our consultant provides team communication assessments to explore how individuals react under stress and suggests innovative methods and tools to improve individual wellbeing.

Our Careers Coach provides tailored coaching at individual and organisational levels: Career Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Building a Coaching Culture, Team building & Leadership Development and Organisational Change

We are a recruitment agency and consultancy that specialises in People and Talent Strategy Based in Sheffield, and working across the region, we work with our clients to both attract and retain talent

We are a recruitment agency and consultancy that specialises in People and Talent Strategy Based in Sheffield, and working across the region, we work with our clients to both attract and retain talent

Our mission is to assist organisations in growing diverse and motivated teams, within inclusive and effective environments.

Our mission is to assist organisations in growing diverse and motivated teams, within inclusive and effective environments

We believe that retention of talent requires creating environments that are built around strong leadership and open and inclusive cultures

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Mental Health in the workplace is certainly not a new subject. We understand the importance of looking after our employees to ensure they are fit and well-supported, and no doubt we have all read countless articles advising us of the best ways to do this. But, what about us Business Owners?

Are we reminding ourselves that these rules also apply to us?

As a Business Owner, I remind myself every day that I have a responsibility to ensure I am fit and well, both physically and mentally, to ensure I can be the best version of myself (and that’s not just for work by the way). In truth, I feel the weight heavily of ensuring I don’t neglect myself.

Natalie, my wonderful colleague, relies on me turning up every day, being upbeat and prepared. If I was to be off sick for a long period, or my mental health was to spiral, that would have an enormous effect on her personally, as well as the business. Natalie knows me so well now she can see when I need to head out for a run, and actively encourages me to take time away from my desk because she knows it has a positive effect on us both.

I am in no way preaching here! There is no judgement if you’re not in to the gym (me neither!) or don’t fancy running. There are much simpler ways in which we can ensure we are prioritising ourselves.

I have set out below some guidelines for business owners which perhaps are worth keeping in the back of your mind:

Set the tone for your own business – Your behaviours as the Owner will really set the tone for the wider business. By demonstrating your own commitment to self-care, you might encourage your team to do the same.

Stress Management – Being both mentally and physically fit will help you to be better equipped to handle any tricky situations that may arise.

Avoiding Burnout – Running a business is stressful, I hear you! By prioritising your own health, you are much less likely to burnout and will be able to continue leading

your team with clarity and resilience.

Company-wide Engagement – Neglecting your own health can result in you losing engagement with your own business and your team. This might even result in your team leaving the business.

Clear Decision Making – As a leader, your team are looking at you for direction and clarity. By feeling mentally and physically strong, you will be able to make much clearer decisions and steer the business positively.

Work-Life Balance – I will bang the drum on this

subject forever! Work-life balance is essential! Business owners should model this balance to their teams and ensure personal lives are prioritised as much as work - both have tremendous effects on the other.

In summary, as business owners, it’s vital that we do not neglect our physical and mental health. Ultimately, we lead by example within our business, creating the foundations for our teams’ dynamic. By prioritising our own wellbeing and work-life balance, we are nurturing a positive workplace culture where hopefully our businesses and teams can thrive.





You have to continuously learn that the makeup industry evolves rapidly with new trends, techniques, and products. A makeup artist must constantly update their skills through workshops, courses, and staying abreast of industry developments. It’s also a physically demanding job requiring long hours, often on your feet, often in poorly lit environments. Not to mention carrying the heavy kit around!


A makeup artist must navigate diverse personalities, preferences, and expectations. Good communication skills and empathy are essential for client satisfaction. As makeup artists, we often face unpredictable situations, such as last-minute changes or unexpected client requests. Adaptability and creative problem-solving skills are invaluable in such scenarios.


This is vital for success. Makeup artists must cultivate relationships with clients, photographers, models, and other industry professionals. With this collaboration and career advancement. On top of the networking, you also need to be an entrepreneur, managing finances, marketing, and client bookings. Business acumen is essential for sustaining a successful career in the competitive beauty industry.

1 2 3 4 5


Holidays are popular for weddings and special events,

meaning makeup artists may have bookings during these times. Brides and their bridal parties often require makeup services early in the morning to accommodate wedding schedules, but they have booked you a year in advance for your services. Being prepared for early morning appointments such as wedding bookings involves careful planning and organisation with the bride and bridal party. As makeup artists, it is essential to be organised and ready, even down to making sure you have enough petrol in your car to attend the wedding in the morning on time and your kit is ready to go. While working holidays and early mornings may require sacrifice and flexibility, it’s often an integral part of a freelance makeup artist’s career, offering opportunities for growth, client satisfaction, and financial stability.


All my experience from the above helped me in February when I was a part of the MOBO Award makeup team. I got to create beautiful makeup looks on celebrities and work with other makeup artists and hairstylists from the industry who I have never worked with before, which was a fantastic experience. The pressure of working backstage can be overwhelming, but you need to stay cool and calm and listen to directions from stylist who have brought their client through for makeup and hair. I needed to work quickly and professionally and keep my hygiene standards high. Working at the MOBO Award has been life-changing, and it was a wonderful experience (even if it was 15 hours doing makeup!)

OM Makeup Artistry & Beauty is run by Eleasha Yarde. You can find out more about her at www.ommnb.co.uk or on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok

For local SME’s, effective digital marketing is obviously an essential way to drive sales and make informed, smart decisions for the business, but in an ever-changing digital landscape, compounded by potential financial constraints, how is the best way to utilise your digital marketing budget?

It’s a tricky question to answer, so we spoke to the experts, local digital marketing agency, Logica, who recently celebrated their 4th birthday, to get some handy hints and tips…

It’s unfortunately true that many SMEs and business owners struggle to find the time and resources to dedicate to digital marketing. It can often seem confusing and impossible to know where to start –which perhaps explains why 36% of small businesses still don’t even have a website – but it doesn’t have to be this way!

One of the first things to take solace from is that if you are struggling, you’re not alone! Many SMEs face the same challenges, but while it is a challenge it’s one that is well-worth attempting to overcome with 63% of SMEs reporting that digital marketing provides a good ROI.

To benefit from that handsome return, it’s important to first understand the reasons why your business should be running digital marketing in the first place, in order to target your marketing effectively and achieve your desired outcomes.

While there are a myriad benefits of digital marketing, Logica have

outlined the top 5 benefits for us:

1. It drives sales - PPC, Paid Social and SEO allow you to reach customers who are actively in market and ready to buy from you.

2. It provides data-driven marketing decisions - real-time data allows you to tweak campaigns and pivot quickly to get the most from budgets.

3. It levels the playing field between you and larger businesses.

4. It’s cost-effective - allows you to target your audience precisely and allow you to track ROI.

5. Your customers are online! More people than ever are using the internet to research and buy so being there when they’re searching is key.

But, with so much to consider with the day to day running of your business, it can sometimes be easy to take for granted the challenge of digital marketing. But, in order to overcome them and act effectively, it’s important to understand the challenges faced by SME’s when it comes to digital marketing.

In their experience, Logica have found the most common complaints coming from SME’s

when it comes to digital marketing are:

• Budget constraints

• Time constraints - no time to dedicate to digital marketing and business growth

• Trying to use all channels at once - takes time and makes it difficult to know where to focus.

• A lack of trust in third parties when outsourcing digital marketing.

• Reticence to try something new.

If your business falls into one of these categories, one of the simplest solutions is to overcome the fear of the new, put down the digital marketing guide for dummies, and free up your time by handing your digital marketing strategy over to the experts.

It sometimes is the case that no one could run the business as well as you do, or provide the product or services you do, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be the best person to market that effectively (you probably wouldn’t try to do your own accounting, would you?), so if the budget is there, then handing over to a local digital marketing company that you can trust and who provide regular







updates and reporting, is often the best way forward.


When the economy’s tough, marketing budgets and departments are squeezed. If you’re not getting the results you want but don’t have any more money to put in, there are steps you can follow to get the most from your existing budget. By following these steps from Logica, you might even find you can get more from your original budget.


Knowing what you want to achieve can help you to understand where your budget is likely to be best spent. Digital marketing might not help achieve these goals on its own but knowing where you want to go will help to determine which activities are likely to help you get there.


Key for any kind of marketing activitiy but especially digital marketing, where targeting allows you to pinpoint a specific audience. What channels do your audience use? Where do they spend time? How do they find out information? This is key to knowing which channels are likely to be most effective.


Once you know who your audience is, you can think about the channels they’re using. If your audience isn’t using the channel, resources and budget are wasted.


If you’re just starting out, start with a couple of channels, optimise them until they’re driving the results you need and then move onto other channels. This way, you’re not spreading yourself too thin.


Due to being busy, businesses set digital marketing campaigns running and leave them. Monitoring and measuring campaigns is essential to get the most from them. Take a look at what’s working and do more of it and dial down on campaigns that aren’t working as well.

Logica Digital is a digital marketing company based in Sheffield’s Harland Works. Originally set up by Mark Skinner in the midst of covid lockdowns, the business has flourished across the last four years, in part thanks to him bringing on Amy Ward as a co-director last year.

If you want to find out more about the services they offer, head over to their website logica-digital.co.uk or email hello@logica-digital.co.uk.

Logica recently conducted their own survey of marketers to find out where they would be investing their budgets in 2024.

These are some of the stats from that survey, which may impact on how you choose to spend your marketing budget in the coming year:

• Only 8% of the marketers surveyed said they would be reducing their 2023 digital marketing budget throughout 2024 - everyone else said they would be increasing spend by 10-30% or keep the same budget

• They asked marketers where their digital marketing budget was spent in 2023

• Email - 47%

• Social media ads - 49%

• PPC - 29%

• Content marketing - 33%

• SEO - 29%

• We then asked them which channels they would be planning to invest more in for 2024:

• Email - 8%

• Social media ads - 27%

• PPC - 8%

• Content marketing - 23%

• SEO - 10%

• We also asked what marketers are trying to achieve through digital marketing:

• Generate sales & revenue - 57%

• Drive foot traffic to a physical location - 33%

• Establish an online presence & build brand awareness - 32%

• Obtain potential customer details - 24%

Change of Ownership Transactions Business Valuations Forecasting and Financial Modelling Fundraising
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MEPS in the Steel City

As is well-documented, Sheffield’s industrial heritage has been built on our region’s steel manufacturing, but what is perhaps lesser known is the city’s wealth of expertise when it comes to predicting the fluctuations in international steel markets.

In fact, Sheffield is home to a leading international steel market analysis company, MEPS International, and we spoke to its Director, Jayne Craven, to find how the business developed from its inception in 1979, her background before taking on the reigns from her father, and what the future holds for MEPS.

Hi Jayne. Can you start by telling us how MEPS began life?

MEPS was established by my father, Peter Fish, in 1979. It started off as Management, Engineering and Product Services. He wanted to be able to attract as much business as possible at that point, as he didn’t know where the business would go. He targeted the steel industry because that’s where he had built his career. He started as a draftsman, but even taught maths and sold insurance in the evening when we were kids to bring in extra money. However, his primary experience and passion lay in engineering, becoming Production Director for Firth Vickers in his early thirties.

How did the business become involved in researching the steel markets?

Back then, it wasn’t labelled as entrepreneurial; instead, it was about seizing opportunities wherever they arose and putting in the hours. Today, you would say that Peter had an entrepreneurial spirit. He’d thrown his net out to catch whatever business he could, whether that

was consultancy work or providing technical drawings. In the early 80s, with is wide knowledge of the steel industry he secured a consultancy job with the European Commission.

There was an issue with pricing and price fixing at that time and the European Commission appointed MEPS to research the steel market. Peter was given authority to go into the steel industry and steel mills to look at their invoices and start collecting European steel prices.

Of course, the EU eventually said, we’re happy now with where the industry is, we don’t need that information anymore. This is, I suppose, where Peter was entrepreneurial, because he thought, well, we’ve got all this data, we’ve got all these contacts, why don’t we do something with it rather than just moving onto the next job?

They stayed in contact with the companies, continued to collect the information, and created a publication called European Steel Review. At that time, it just had steel prices and commentary, which he developed from there to the portfolio of products we offer today.

How was the review then used?

MEPS started out by selling the European Steel Review on a 12-month subscription basis. After that success, the decision was made to expand. We’ve now got European Steel review, and a supplement that covers some of the other European countries that are not in that original publication, along with the Stainless Steel Review,

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International Steel Review and the Developing Markets Steel Review, which we have plans to rebrand as a lot of those countries can no long be classified as developing. With the emergence of the internet, the business also decided to create online products which could provide instant access to steel prices if the customer paid by card.

Who are your typical customers?

Anybody who is buying or selling steel. We do serve some financial sector clients but that’s not really where our market is. Our market is somebody who is physically selling steel, is buying it to make something or stocking it.

Why is this information vital to them?

If you are buying or selling steel, certainly if you are buying steel, you would buy MEPS publications for two reasons: the first one would be to know what the price of the steel is today, because you want to go and buy some. If we’re saying, for instance, the price is less than it was last month, but your supplier suggests otherwise or proposes an increase, our insights give you knowledge and confidence to negotiate.

We also provide price forecasts. If you don’t need to buy now, you

know you don’t want to be buying at the top of the market, so people might hold off buying if they know when the top of the market is and when prices are going to drop. Certainly, if you’re selling steel, you’ll also want to know where the top and bottom of the market is.

Our subscribers might buy steel from stock, but they’ll also procure their material they need through longer-term contracts. In that instance, they might actually write into the contract that the price will fluctuate based on MEPS index for the term of that contract, so they’re not having to constantly renegotiate.

Your father set up the business in the late 1970s and it developed to what it’s become today – how did you become involved?

I came into the business because he came to retirement age. He’d been pestering to get me or my sister into the business for quite a long time, because he didn’t want to sell the company. He knew that if he sold MEPS, the staff in Sheffield would likely not be kept on and he didn’t want that to happen. Ultimately, I joined the business and, as you might expect from someone who remains hugely passionate about the steel industry and considers MEPS ‘his baby’, Peter didn’t retire early. At the age of 84 he still likes to come

into the office.

I was probably best placed to join the MEPS business because I have a management background. I spent most of my career, outside of MEPS, in the energy business. Starting with Yorkshire Electricity, I was in the industry for about 15 years.

Within that time, I was a call centre manager, marketing manager and a commercial manager. From that, I learned the importance of customer service.

When the energy industry opened to competition, I was in marketing. Our in-house call centre didn’t want to handle the calls generated from the television adverts and leaflet campaigns that we were doing, so I set up an external agency to handle those calls.

Once that was all set up, I went on maternity leave. By the time I returned to work, the market had been open for six to nine months and, as Yorkshire Electricity didn’t promise you your old job back – just a role at the same level – I went back into sales, managing three external agencies with a budget of £10 to £12 million.

The first thing that I realised upon starting my new role was that they’d got a backlog of mis-selling complaints. At that time, everybody was with their incumbent supplier


but if you signed a dual fuel contract, you were always going to save money, so it was unexpected that there would be so many misselling complaints.

The first job was to streamline the process by splitting up the team to made sure we were dealing with new complaints, while also dealing with the backlog. It was then a case of making sure the sales process was more robust to stop further complaints.

Around this time, npower bought Yorkshire Electricity and made large-scale redundancies. It was a difficult time but, in true tradition of the Yorkshire humour, someone placed a post-it note above the light switch saying “will the last person out please switch off the lights”.

Because I was heavily involved with the department’s integration into npower, I continued to work for the business, joining their sales team as commercial manager. When they, not long after, bought Northern Electric, I was also given the task of integrating that business into npower.

Once that was integrated, as

commercial manager, I liaised between sales and customer services. There was no Yorkshire office at that point, and I was always driving up to Newcastle, going down to Worcester, or going to Birmingham, but my home was still in Yorkshire. Eventually, they said to me, “your job is not in Yorkshire, your job’s in Worcester, we want you to relocate”.

My son was young, and my support network, was back in Yorkshire. My husband was a selfemployed electrical contractor, so his business was also in Yorkshire, so we decided that wasn’t the right choice for us.

While I was deciding all of this, one of the agencies who I used to manage approached me and asked if I would join them as a client service director. It made sense, so I took my redundancy package. On the Friday I was in a meeting, working for npower, and then on the Monday morning I was back in a meeting with the same people, just on the other side of the desk with the external agents.

I worked for them for two and

a half years before there was a change of MD. The previous MD lived in Nottingham and he was very focused on the Sheffield office being the primary office for the work activity. The new MD was based down in High Wycombe and we knew then that she was going to close the Sheffield office. I didn’t move to Worcester, so I certainly wasn’t moving to High Wycombe!

My dad was 67 by that time and he was still pestering me to move to MEPS, so in 2006, I did.

How do you think all that experience helped when you came to MEPS?

Peter was an engineer and he loved what he did on the steel price side of things, but I don’t really think he liked the business management side of things, so it worked perfectly. I came in with management experience and just started changing things quite slowly. I couldn’t come in like a Tasmanian devil because it had been working fine up to that point, but it was clear that some changes needed to be made.

What changes did you bring then? Originally, it was making sure that the business had a company policy document, contracts were up to date, making sure that health and safety was right, making sure that there’s more management information, and making sure that somebody was on top of jobs. It was all about ensuring that we had proper processes in place, that we weren’t missing a trick somehow, and we were doing things in the most efficient way possible.

The business looks nothing like it did when I joined. We have recruited 19 staff since I joined 18 years ago. One of the things that we did when we brought in Joe (Rugg – Head of Marketing), was to get a new website, which we were quite scared of because our Google ranking was high. But that’s been a great success.

From a structural point of view, the business has changed quite a lot as it has grown. Although we try to maintain as flat a structure as possible to facilitate quick decision making, we now have formal policies and procedures in place and constantly look to see how we can improve. We develop staff and encourage them to go on training courses. We’ve got four IT projects


on the go right now, and we’ve just introduced a CRM system. We’re redesigning the customer portal so that all our products are available on there, and we plan to provide more functionality for the clients, so that they can create graphs and personalised dashboards. We want to keep it simple, but if a client wants to, the new portal will allow them to do more with the data.

We’re also embracing and investigating AI from a forecasting point of view. Is a pure AI model a preferable way to forecast? I think, in the end, it will be a mix; we will always have someone at the end of that process who is critiquing the numbers who knows the market. But who knows what AI will bring. We’re keeping an open mind and watching this space.

We’ve currently got four to five thousand clients and we’ve got some really exciting things happening.

How do you get the data to your clients currently?

We offer two options. Our premium publications are currently delivered as a monthly PDF with an accompanying Excel spreadsheet. This service is priced at around £1,400, depending on the specific report. However, recognising that not everyone requires or can afford a premium product, we also provide online prices and forecasts. These are accessed via our online portal, providing a cost-effective steel price information service to all, irrespective of their budget constraints. While they may not provide as much in-depth insights and data, at £280 for a 12-month subscription to a price table and £450 for a forecast, they are highly affordable alternative.

Our aim is to provide value and flexibility to our subscribers, so the online portal allows them to cherry pick the services they require – from a regional or steel product type perspective – to create a very bespoke package. If they require more support, or a personal consultation, we ensure that we’re always available.

You’ve had very few people leave the business over the years – why do you think that is?

We look after our staff well and we pay them well. They get a November bonus every year, but

as the company has become more successful, we’ll often give staff an extra profit-share bonus, which is discretionary. We’re not one of those companies where the owner is driving round in a Ferrari, while paying staff minimum wage. It’s a fun environment to work in. We’ve also brought in other benefits like homeworking days and death in service insurance policy. If people work over, they can claim that time back as a late start, early finish or a TOIL Day (time off in lieu). We also have flex days to allow staff to deal with personal matters during the

working day. We’ve only had one person leave in the last 13 years.

The industry you’re in has obviously been hugely important to Sheffield, and that landscape has changed dramatically over the years, do you still see any benefit of being in Sheffield?

Being in Sheffield has always helped MEPS; we have traditionally recruited from the steel industry, and we continue to do so. That’s not the case at our competitors. We think it’s important, because if you talk to someone who is buying and selling steel, it’s better if you’re speaking to somebody who understands the market – and who better than those who use to buy or sell steel, or at least used to be in the industry?

That’s a USP for us.

Being from Sheffield always adds credibility to the business. Steel knowledge is important and being confident enough to speak about the market and being able to question what people are telling us is important. That’s why it’s crucial to know the industry. Our staff can ask those important questions.

We’re a worldwide company, so the economic environment here in Sheffield doesn’t affect us, but from a personal point of view, I like that Sheffield is building on its heritage with the Advanced Manufacturing Park opening in 2006. I think there should be more manufacturing, not just in Sheffield but across the country.



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For this month’s cover interview, unLTD’s Joseph Food sits down with the directors and co-founders of Gravitate Accounting – a forwardthinking, fast-growing digital accounting firm who by embracing game-changing tech and employing an honest, people-first approach are redefining traditional stereotypes about accountants. After being invited down to their Kelham Island-based office, our editor spoke to co-founders Sam Newton and Mike Crocker, as well as accounting director/co-owner Jonathan Carr, Head of HR and Operations Claire Conley and Martin Dean, director of their recently launched corporate finance department. Over a wide-ranging interview, they delved into the driving factors behind the company’s impressive growth, their focus on staff development and the array of new services they now offer to businesses in South Yorkshire.

Could you tell us a bit about the Gravitate story and how we’ve come to reach this part of the journey?

SN: We started Gravitate in 2019. I don’t think we really had a masterplan, but we knew all of the problems in the accountancy industry. Things like being dictated by timesheets or getting billed every time you wanted to speak to your accountant were issues for a lot of people. We wanted to set up a business which righted a lot of wrongs within the industry and changed the stereotypes and perceptions around accountants.

Could you give us an example of how you did that?

SN: Pricing is a big one. A lot of companies don’t know what size bill they’ll receive from their accountants until they get the invoice, but we clearly state our monthly prices on our website. That’s just one example of how to change a perception about how we work, and it’s a direction we’ve continued to head in, trying to better the experience both from a client and staff point of view. In terms of staff, there’s generally quite a high turnover in the accountancy industry, but we take a lot of time to make sure we’ve got the package right for them here.

On that note, could you talk a bit about your

recruitment strategy here at Gravitate?

JC: It’s about finding the right people with the right personality and mindset, but also making sure we’re at our best to keep them. We clearly show our staff the progression routes and what they can get for themselves here. We always say that we can train someone to be a good accountant, but we can’t train them to be a good person. So getting good personalities in, prioritising openness and helping them get to where they want to be helps us to keep the right staff.

CC: I think it’s easy to talk about work benefits and talk about looking after your staff properly, but a lot of firms can also get away with not doing it. We’re very conscious about backing up what we say we’re going to do.

It’s probably a good point now to bring in one of Gravitate’s most recent appointments. Martin, you’ve come in to lead the company’s new corporate finance department. What appealed to you about joining the Gravitate on this journey?

MD: I previously worked at another accountancy firm in Sheffield called Shorts Accountants, where I’d been for 11 years. I knew and kept in touch with Mike and Sam and they offered me the chance to come here and do my own thing. Being able to implement my own ideas along with the opportunity of joining a growing firm





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was the ultimate lure for me. Sam had explained that they felt there was a bit of a hole in the messaging and having a corporate finance department to fill in some of those holes would really add to the overall service at Gravitate.

SN: Yes, I think a key thing for us is down to the fact that we’re working with some of the best companies in Sheffield now. If they wanted to sell in however many years, we didn’t want them to think that Gravitate couldn’t facilitate that and take their businesses to a national firm. It means we can work with start-ups and scale-ups through to the exit process where Martin and his team can take over. We can work with a client through the whole life cycle of their business.

What other services are covered by the new corporate finance department here at Gravitate?

MD: We cover a range of services including business valuations, extremely detailed forecast modelling, setting up an Employee Ownership Trust or any type of ownership transaction – whether you’re buying/selling a business or helping businesses grow through acquisitions. It’s quite a specialist offering so we’ve been trying to reach out and partner with other accountants who don’t have that service so we can help in that respect. There’s a genuinely collaborative approach at Gravitate, I think we’ve managed to establish a sense of trust in how we work and ultimately, the end goal is to help local businesses.


SN: I think we’ve built up the brand awareness online and have always been honest and open with anyone from the industry who we’ve engaged with; we post about the good stuff and we post about the bad stuff. I think the trust factor is there and now with Martin, we have the ability to support other accountants with their corporate finance work.

What tends to be the most common issues you find that clients are coming up against in the current business landscape?

MD: I think when it comes to changes in ownership, it’s such a big once-in-a-lifetime decision and you need advisors that can guide you through it and genuinely care


about meeting your objectives. As every client is different, these objectives are often going to be different. Whether it’s getting as much money out of it or protecting legacy, I want to be the type of strategic advisor who hones in on understanding what the client wants out of it and guiding them through the process so they can look back on and be proud of what came from it. I think sometimes it can be too much of a transactional process when it comes to working with advisors on these processes, and that’s where we want to approach it differently.

Another problem is that really good smaller businesses can often be priced out of the specialist advice we provide. That’s something we want to change.

SN: It’s important to realise that while going through the sale process, clients need to continue running their business as well. It could take anything between three to twelve months and they need to keep things moving in the meantime, so having someone like Martin to run the sale process for them is hugely valuable.

You’ve enjoyed impressive growth over the last couple of years and have been adding to the ranks considerably in recent months. Could you talk us through that process?

JC: It’s been quite significant. I started three years ago and there were five of us, a year later there were twelve, and a year after that there were twenty-four. I expect we’ll finish this year with at least 30 people.

And has that growth been driven purely by demand?

JC: Yep, it’s been driven by the leads coming through the door and we’ve been delivering a service that has been attracting more and more clients.

MC: It’s also important to point out that we’re working with clients who are growing themselves, so as they’re growing we’ll offer more services that they could be interested in.

What areas have you been focusing on in terms of recruitment?

JC: It’s mainly been accounts at


all levels. We’re passionate about bringing apprentices in and training them from the start, and that’s because we are doing things differently in terms of a much more digital approach and working with our clients to make sure things are right from the start, so when they get to the point of wanting to sell, they’ve got years of history of doing things correctly.

So, bringing in apprentices from the start is quite key as it allows us to teach the Gravitate way and our way of approaching the job. Thirteen out of twenty-four of our team members are on some form of training contract to become a qualified accountant – and we’ve had about six qualify while being with us – and that’s a huge thing for us, helping to get people that professional qualification.

SN: We’ve got a team who do genuinely love working here, and we now have a policy that if a member of staff successfully recruits someone, they receive a £1,000 payment. We’ve gone from three people saying it’s a good place to twenty-plus saying the same thing.

We’re seeing a lot of accountancy firms move into offshoring and outsourcing work, but we’re so proud to take on local apprentices, train them up, and help the city of Sheffield.

MC: Rather than make more money by offshoring, we’d much rather make an impact in the local area.

Martin, as a newcomer to Gravitate, did anything really stand out about how things are done differently here?

MD: For me, it’s the no timesheet policy. It’s pretty much a standard in the industry. But it’s very refreshing to have that trust; people know they need to get the work done but it doesn’t feel dictated by the timesheet.

MC: I think the timesheet thing is more of a Big Brother-style mindset of ‘we’re watching you’. We operate more on a trust-first basis and have found that if you treat people like adults, that respect will be reciprocated.

MD: Another thing that was a big shock to me was seeing the amount of people in the office each day. We do offer hybrid working, so they don’t have to be here, but the fact


that people want to come in and be part of the workplace speaks volumes.

MC: We know the importance of being able to collaborate with your peers. It’s the best way to learn. So, it almost feels like a duty to create an environment where people want to come into the office. It’s almost like creating a bit of FOMO for staff if they’re not in the office!

You spoke about how important it is to get the right sort of personalities in. With that in mind, what sort of questions are you asking potential recruits?

JC: When doing the interviews, a big thing for me is just getting to know the person. You can easily see with already qualified accountants who have the skills and experiences to do the job, but then it’s a case of how they might come across to a client, how they engage with others and also what makes them tick away from the job itself. We want people that enjoy and are passionate about their work but are also able to build relationships with clients and in the workplace.

MC: We’ll also be looking for that natural alignment in company values. Are they frustrated with being an accountant and only seeing their client once a year? That’s a key reason of why we set this business up and sharing those common frustrations is a big one.

Let’s talk about some recent successes. You won Finance & Accountancy Company of the Year and Best Small Business at our very own unLTD Awards in November before heading to the Yorkshire Accountancy Awards in February and winning Team of the Year and Independent Firm of the Year. It must be nice for the hard work to be recognised?

SN: Absolutely. We’ve put ourselves out there from day one really, receiving nominations for a number of national awards and just missing out. There’s been some

pain involved! But yes, to win and get the recognition for the team is really important to us. The unLTD Awards felt special because it was celebrating businesses in South Yorkshire, and we’re really proud of where we’re from. To then take it up a level three months later and win at the Yorkshire Awards was again just amazing, particularly the Team of the Year award – that was a big one for us.

What do you think has helped you to stand out from the competition for these awards?

MC: I think we realised that perhaps we weren’t naturally great at promoting ourselves, as sometimes you can be your own worst critic. We brought in one of our advisors to help us write the applications for the awards, using another perspective to help draw the information out. I think there was a sense of honesty to the applications – not bragging but honesty showing what the business is like – and I think that may have helped us.

How are you planning to build on the recent growth and success?

SN: We started off the interview by saying that we never really had a masterplan, but bringing Martin in has allowed us to review our business from a corporate finance perspective and plan for the future. We want to scale the business and continue to grow. As a shareholder group we had to create internal roles for ourselves to manage the business effectively and bringing Martin will help spread the workload and ensure our longer-term strategic goals can be achieved. It's something we tell our clients to do so it's something we'll now be focussing on even more.

www.gravitate.digital @gravitate.digital 0114 321 7459

Unit 13e, 92 Burton Road, Sheffield, S3 8BX




Gravitate were one of the big winners at our most recent unLTD Business Awards, taking home trophies for Best Small Business and Finance & Accountancy Company of the Year. The company followed that up with two more wins at the regional Yorkshire Accountancy Awards.

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Anna Maher, the founder and owner of Anna Maher Recruitment, shares with unLTD how nearly thirty years immersed in the recruitment industry set her up for spearheading a thriving Rec2Rec service catering to diverse clients within the industry.

Anna, you have over 28 years of experience in the recruitment industry. Could you tell us a bit about getting to where you are today?

I went to university in London and studied for a business degree, came back home to Sheffield and ended up getting a job in the accounts office at Bassett’s sweet factory in Hillsborough. They quickly realised that I was good at talking to people and suggested that I’d be suited to recruitment.

I was a graduate with a 2:1 in business thinking that I knew it all, but when I was looking for a recruitment role all the agencies wanted some sales experience. There was an agency called Protemp Recruitment who told me to go and get three months sales experience and come back. So, I was still working at Bassett’s during the day but at night I’d do telesales for a marketing company selling timeshares.

Following that, I started at Protemp, who were one of the biggest agencies in Sheffield at this time in the mid-90s. I had a fabulous time there, starting as a recruiter and ending up as a branch manager, focusing on the commercial business side of things. I moved on to manage another business following that and I eventually took the decision to set up in a partnership before going on to start my own business.

Your company stands out by specialising in recruit-to-recruit (Rec2Rec). Why did you choose to focus on this particular field?

During my career, I was often getting contacted by recruitment headhunters and I remember thinking about how impersonal it was – how would they know that just because I was a recruiter I’d be a good fit for these other roles? So I took the approach of taking a more personal, considered approach and the business took off.

Also, when we started out, a lot of

Rec2Recs were based down south, so there also felt like there was a need for a local company to do it. We’ve now got a fantastic, familyrun business brand with nearly 30 years of experience behind it, and that knowledge of recruiters and recruitment companies has really helped along the way.

What do you enjoy about focusing on this type of recruitment?

I think it’s a case of being able to utilise a lot of relationships I have in the industry. With the experience behind me, I know what a good recruiter looks like. I spoke to someone who called me just the other day who I initially placed as a trainee recruiter and is a now VP at a big agency.

As mentioned, when I started out there was a bit of a niche for Rec2Rec in South Yorkshire, so I think that combined with knowing I could excel at doing a different type of work excited me.

The best bit of the job is quite straightforward for me: getting other people jobs. When you place somebody with a recruiter and you see their career develop and hear about how much they’re enjoying it, the feeling of knowing you had something to do with that is a great one.

On that note, what sort of qualities do people need to succeed in the recruitment sector?

Resilience is a key one and being at ease with sales targets is another. Of course, you need to be a people person and able to communicate with others well, but that needs to be balanced with being targetdriven. Staying ahead of the game, acting on feedback and prioritising customer service are givens, too.

What are the most important aspects to being a successful rec2rec recruiter?

I think being honest and trustworthy is a big one, as people are trusting you with the next steps in their


career and I take that very seriously. Also, you’ve got to be prepared to put in the time to forge the relationships and to really put yourself out there. Oh, and spending plenty of hours doing your LinkedIn research is key!

In the recruitment industry, what do candidates tend to be looking for from job roles?

Work-life balance is naturally a priority these days. A lot of recruiters can do their job from home, so a hybrid working policy is almost a standard – though some people still love the buzz of the office so having the option is the way forward. Generally having roles that are a little less structured so people can work around their family and personal life is what people are looking for. Basic salaries have gone up and there’s been a more general shift in how people approach their careers and what they want from their job. That’s why it’s so important to keep up to speed with the changing trends in the industry, so you can offer the right sort of service and get the best results for both candidates and recruiters.

What are the key values you run your business by?

Our values are that we’ll always operate with integrity and honesty, whether that’s feedback from interviews or being honest if a job isn’t right. This is a family business ran by myself and my niece, Rachel, and we’re passionate about our jobs and working with the Sheffield business community. We're looking to get out there and support even more businesses. If anyone wants to get in touch, let’s have a chat!

Contact AMR today for all your recruitment needs at 07715454545, or by visiting amrl.co.uk/contact. Keep an eye for the next issue of unLTD, where we’ll be exploring the business support side of the business, led by Anna’s niece Rachel.


Zoe Wadsworth

Ask Zoe, headed by Zoe Wadsworth, offers insider information on how to successfully grow a business. From one-to-one consultancy to dedicated strategy days, Zoe provides expert insight on how to market your business towards its target audience.

Her podcast, The Hub, tackles different business and development strategies with expert guests. Zoe’s blog also contains an abundance of posts that highlight her understanding of the complex business world.

Zoe offers an initial call, free of charge, to learn more about Ask Zoe’s strategy and how you can turn your business into a multi-awardwinning enterprise. The business rose like a phoenix from the ashes when Covid put pay to her previous enterprise. She has gone onto become an awardwinner by being agile and adaptible, something she is about to demonstrate once again...

What does Ask Zoe do?

Ask Zoe provides specialist business and marketing strategy services, with a marketing intelligence focus. Ask Zoe hosts online business founder communities, delivers in-person strategy masterclasses, and works one-to-one with business owners.

I’m based in Barnsley, but help business owners throughout South Yorkshire and beyond.

After winning multiple awards, helping countless businesses to scale and grow, and having the most successful Q1 to date, I now want to give something back.

Where did the idea for Ask Zoe come from?

If you don’t know the Ask Zoe story… well, let’s just say that Covid put an end to my previous business overnight. But Ask Zoe was born and quickly became an awardwinning enterprise.

And three years on, there’s

another adaptation to shout about.

Tell us about your involvement with the Onside Youth Zones charity.

Ask Zoe has always been involved in supporting career events at local schools, offering work placements to Further Education students, and raising funds for charities. But now I’m personally taking this to the next level.

Onside Youth Zones is a national charity supporting young people and is currently preparing to launch in my hometown of Barnsley. They have already delivered impressive results with 77% of young people using the network saying they are more self-confident, 85% of frequent users saying

they have more friends, 73% feel less isloated and 70% consider they are healthier.

Supporting young people has always been a passion of mine and when the opportunity to work with Onside Youth Zones as a Hybrid Senior Philanthropy Manager arose, I knew I couldn’t refuse.

What plans do you have for Ask Zoe in the future?

Ask Zoe will continue in its planned growth, putting its customers at the forefront of their business activity as always. But I will now be giving back to my local community, in a way I could only dream of.

It is so exciting to be taking these next steps in growing Ask Zoe, even more so that we’re able to provide

an opportunity for young people in our community further.

What are your hopes for your Strategy Days?

Our customers will benefit greatly from working collectively together on the Ask Zoe Strategy Days and together we can help work towards rejuvenating the sector and our region after a difficult few years.

How can people get in touch with you?

If you would like to know more about the support offered by Ask Zoe, you can visit our website, www. askzoe.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Email: hello@askzoe.co.uk

Call: 01226 249590

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Set on Sheffield’s Cambridge Street, and nestled in the Heart of the City development, the former 19th Century little mesters works, one of Sheffield’s most important heritage buildings, is edging evercloser to an exciting new future that will both honour and celebrate its rich industrial heritage.

The courtyard and ground floor will be occupied by resident retail businesses, with popular Sheffield artist Pete McKee, award-winning speciality beer shop Hop Hideout and plant and homeware store Gravel Pit already confirmed as its first tenants.


With 13 total retail spaces available for independent businesses, more tenants are expected to be announced soon, along with their plans for regular events in the courtyard to be held throughout the year.


These headline grabbing announcements have been wellpublicised, but perhaps less has been made of their plans for the upper floors, which will be given over to beautiful studios, workshops and office spaces available for local businesses who want to form part of this unique community.

With the Rockingham Group’s James O’hara (Public, Picture House Social, The Foresters) spearheading the retail side of things, his Leah’s Yard partner, Tom Wolfenden, will use his wealth of experience navigating Sheffield’s business community to help to incubate businesses upstairs, integrating them with the thriving mix of retailers that will live downstairs, making Leah’s Yard such an exciting prospect as a place to work as well as socialise.

The upstairs floors boast 20

different studios, ranging from space for a team of 16 down to four people spaces, which either come furnished or unfurnished, depending on the tenant’s requirements.

The spaces are some of Sheffield’s most unique and characteristic studios. Unlike conventional offices, every space has a character and charm of its own, steeped in history and each with its own story to tell.

Tom’s own story includes experience fostering an amazing business community at Sheffield Tech Parks in the Cooper Buildings – the tech and digital workplace – which has been a real breeding ground and haven for start-ups and small businesses.

Telling unLTD what is important when it comes to getting the right mix in a co-working space, Tom said: “I’ve run workspaces for probably

15 years now, including commercial workspaces and industrial sheds, as well as running The Workstation in the showroom, which was a similar kind of project to Leah’s Yard.

“It sounds cliched, but the most important thing in my experience is that you work with nice people that you can introduce to each other and they get on and naturally form a community, genuinely forming friendships through the place that they work.

“We’ll help foster that community by holding tenant events, and each tenant can use the yard after hours, if they’ve got a preview or a product launch, or they just want to show some clients around.

“We just want this to be like a great place to work. It’s in the city centre; It’s part of the heart of the city and you’re above all of the good stuff you’ve already been reading



By not being tied to any sector Tom hopes to attract a diverse mix of businesses, and by pricing the units reasonably (units start from £500) they hope to accommodate a wide range of independents.

Tom said: “The way we’ve priced these is not to undercut or compete with anybody, but there’s people out there in pretty grotty offices, paying not inconsiderable amounts of rent, so we want to offer another option.

“We’re charging what we need to charge to make Leah’s sustainable for the long term rather than profiteering from it.”

“The pricing starts at £500, and that’s dependent on whether the business wants it furnished or not. The key message is, that if you’re using an office, you’re paying rent somewhere, but if you pay rent here, you’re helping to maintain the sustainability of one of Sheffield’s most prized heritage assets.”

Over 50 people have been working onsite at Leah’s Yard for the last seven-years, helping to preserve that heritage.

In that time, they have replaced all the windows with frames made in Hillsborough and fitted locally fabricated staircases. Stonemasons have also relayed all the cobbles, at times reusing cobbles from elsewhere in the project, so every effort has been made to preserve the heritage wherever possible.

The vibe inside will be industrial and hark back to the building’s past, but also provides modern amenities and custom desks, sourced from

local makers.

This attention to detail in restoring the building’s heritage, along with the project to restore it and its long and storied past, will be celebrated within the grounds of the building.

Tom explains: “Each room has got a story; whether that’s from what they found when we were building it or what it used to be. There’s going to be so many people asking so many questions, and we want to package it all up in a really nice hardbound book with loads of photos.

“We’ve already had Rob Nicholson from Pedalo photography coming down to take photos all through the stages, in order to get some shots of the people that worked on it, so we can tell their story and listen to what they have to say.

“We’ve also got audio recordings and transcript from a university project we did with two students who found a number of people that used to work here, so we’ve got the story of the people who used to work here too.

“We’ve got all this data, and we want to package it all in a book because it’s not a museum. We want to make it relevant and future facing, because yes, it’s a historical asset, but it’s not Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, we’re not walking around saying this is where someone worked, or this is where this was made. We want to be able to say, if you want to know the history, here’s this beautiful book and pull those threads through that way.

“It’s coming back full circle to that idea of new industry versus old industry.”

Tom and James haven’t taken the importance of the site lightly, and while the industry inside won’t be exactly the same as what was once there, it’s history will be preserved. Tom said: “If you look at the old insurance maps from hundreds of years ago, the whole city centre was built around places like this. All where John Lewis’ was, all down Cambridge Street, there were all these little works, and this is the last remaining example, which is important to us to respect.

“When we originally saw Leah’s Yard mentioned, myself and James were like, we’re gonna do this right and we’re gonna smash it, even though it’s a massive project.

“We’re not walking into this naively, thinking it’s going to fill and be perfect straightaway, but by bringing people around and seeing them awestruck, that’s kind of nice. It reinforces what a good project it’s going to be.

“It’s a good news story for the city, and an important part of the rebirth of the city centre.”

For more information on Leah's Yard and the office space available head to leahsyard.com.


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Why Heather said “I Do” to The Business Village!

Fifteen years ago, I Do Magazine began as a simple idea. Heather Tiffany was working on the popular Around Town Magazine when creating a wedding edition was suggested. Heather responded with a challenge: if enough people were interested, she’d create the magazine for good.

Fast forward to today, and I Do has evolved beyond print. Heather, the founder, works closely with her marketing expert Natasha Fisher to deliver a vast array of services. They began hosting wedding exhibitions around thirteen years ago and now cover Sheffield, Leeds, Doncaster, and the East Midlands with big plans to move into more areas.

Aside from the magazine and wedding exhibitions, I Do offers an online wedding directory. Wedding suppliers can choose from a variety of packages to advertise in the directory and promote their business to couples planning their wedding.

Heather and Natasha are also proud to support smaller wedding fair organisers with their hosted wedding fayre promotion packages. This includes extensive promotion of wedding fairs online and through their large email database of engaged couples, as well as distributing I Do branded goody bags and the I Do Magazine out to these events.

Annual awards celebrating the wedding industry

One standout aspect of I Do’s journey is their annual wedding awards, which celebrates 10 years this year.

Natasha explains, “The I Do Wedding Awards are free to enter and are voted for by happy couples whose wedding day suppliers have helped create. Suppliers receive votes against five criteria from the couples they’ve served in the last year. We then average out the votes based on the criteria and declare a winner. As there’s no judging panel bias and is purely voted for by happy couples, it’s one of the fairest wedding awards out there. It also means that smaller businesses can compete on an equal playing field with larger ones.”

Why I Do said yes to The Business Village

I Do Magazine found a new home at The Business Village in December 2023.

Heather explains, “It feels very secure for all our staff, especially with parking and onsite security.”

The Business Village’s inclusive policy for allowing dogs also played a pivotal role. When Heather first enquired about space, they ended up going elsewhere because dogs were not allowed in the offices. But, when she reached out again more recently, she found the policy had changed.

“I was working at home with Luna, my soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, so the main stipulation was whether an office took dogs. We’d wanted to move into The Business Village from the start but had to find

The facilities, networking opportunities, and convenient location were all major draws. The inclusion of a shower, bike store, and 24/7 access only added to the appeal.


We provide small businesses with a supportive environment that nurtures business growth with our wide range of meeting and office space in Barnsley. Visit: www.business-village.co.uk

somewhere that Luna could go. I was so pleased when I learned The Business Village had changed their policy. I now have a second dog, Skye, who comes to the office too.”

Along with the benefits already mentioned, Heather talks about the advantage of having other tenants nearby.

“We currently use Phase 5 for our internet services. It’s cheaper than getting our own broadband, but the onsite support is really handy too. They popped into our office the other day to tell us about a problem we didn’t even realise we had. It’s those small things that make running the business much easier.”



Tel: 01226 704682

Email: info@ido-magazine. co.uk



2024 is the biggest election year in history, with over 2 billion people… including you heading to the polls, it’s a year like no other. By Bryn Hawkins, Cyber Security Specialist at Simoda

It’s also a highly pivotal year for Generative A.I. Those two little ubiquitous letters that appear on everything from your desktop to your toothbrush. A.I. has exploded in 2023 and sets to be embedded in our lives in ways we will not expect.

So, what do these two things happening on the same year mean?

We are about to witness an arms race in AI led misinformation that is likely to transform cyber security, and potentially, how we do business for ever. A bit dramatic? Probably. It may sound a bit Skynet, and scary but we should definitely be on our guard.

Elections are always a war of information/ misinformation what is different is the accessibility of tools to get involved. Whereas the barrier of entry used to be high (expensive). Now, in 2024, almost anyone with a passing skill in IT and an internet connection can get involved.

Deepfakes, where AI generated are already being deployed and WILL explode this year, you will see videos of politicians giving all sorts of messages online, we will see news outlets accidentally running stories that aren’t real. We will reach a point this year where it will be very difficult to trust anything you see or hear through a screen… Or the Post Trust era.

Other than it possibly affecting the world

order… so what? Where do you fit in?

Deepfakes will be used to separate the human from technology. We are easier to fool than a machine, its already happening, a finance worker in Hong Kong paid out $25 mil after having a meeting with several deepfake accounts pretending to be his finance team.

What on earth are we going to do? Focus on people and process...

People are an ongoing problem. According to

a recent report, 29% of incidents were caused by people. With this in mind, security training must be seen as an essential. At Simoda we work with Knowbe4 to create vigilant and aware staff.

If you aren’t already discussing this… you need to be! Find a way that suits your business to confirm what is real. Whether it’s a passphrase or physically getting together for mission critical decisions, that will be down to you but starting to think about how you validate that you are talking to a real


Speak to the team at Simoda any time about deepfakes, cyber security or anything else technology and IT-related

Our friendly team are always more than happy to help local businesses in the South Yorkshire region understand fast-paced technology opportunities and threats.

Email: info@simoda.co.uk

Tel: 0114 5533600


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This month, unLTD’s Ash Birch heads to city centre Japanese BBQ specialists Guyshi to grab lunch with Harriet Ecclestone, founder of the eponymous, award-winning, Sheffield-based responsible women’s clothing brand to discuss her journey into the, at times, surreal world of fashion…

Hi Harriet. If you can start by telling us a little bit about your brand?

A responsible womenswear designer is how I like to think of myself. I’m basically creating clothes that are timeless, meaningful and responsibly crafted. That literally means minimal waste clothes that are designed to last and are made with natural materials.

The whole process, from the design through to the production, and then how you go on to wear them is completely thought through and ethical, and with the wearer in mind.

Sounds great. Where do you source your materials from?

I’ve been able to work with a brilliant company that are based about an hour away from here. I predominantly use cotton as the main material for pieces and I know who’s grown the cotton, and from which part of the field in California it comes from.

It’s shipped over in its raw state, in huge quantities. From there, it’s then cleaned, spun, dyed, and woven within a really small radius, and then it arrives, and is finished at my studio in Kelham Island.

I make everything to order, so no garment goes unworn. There’s really minimal waste and any waste, or scrap fabrics, I make into greetings cards and scrunchies and things like that. They’re beautiful quality fabrics as well. The idea is that the garments are well produced and are going to last and last. At the end of the day, it’s cotton, so it will go back into the ground.

Do you make all the pieces yourself?

Yes, it’s a one-woman band. I’ve got a really good support network around me, who are there when I need them, but it’s mostly just me.

When did you launch the brand?

I launched in 2019, which was great timing, just before a global pandemic! That first year was a roller coaster.

What made you decide to start your own brand?

I was very fortunate. I was studying at university and I did a placement year, so I had a whole year working in the industry. I worked with Paul Smith, The Designer Company and All Saints. That made me realised that I wanted to have my own business.

I went back to uni for the final year and at the end of the year you have Graduate Fashion Week. I was selected to show my clothes on the catwalk and I got spotted by a fashion scout. We did a photo shoot and it was published in New York, and that was really cool.

I went back to Paul Smith straight after graduating, and then a couple of months later, I applied for Midlands Fashion Awards, and again, I got spotted there by a fashion scout and I won in my category. She basically wanted to buy my next collection and I was like, I’ve been out of uni for four months!

It all happened so fast, but I kind of felt that because there was local press and I had the support of her, it kind of felt like a now or never moment. I left Paul Smith at Christmas and had some freelance work lined up as well, so all the pieces sort of fell into place.

That was the jump moment and I jumped. It’s been interesting and I’ve been working it out as I’ve gone along and five years later, I’m still here.

Have there been any standout moments over that five years?

Quickly after launching, I was selected for something called Global Talents, and went on a fully funded

trip to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Moscow. There were ten of us selected from around the world to show our collections at the event and there was amazing press there – that was incredible.

It was an amazing experience and I’m so grateful for it. It was a definite highlight, because I was interviewed by Vogue and Grazia. For all of us there, it was a brilliant learning experience.

It sounds amazing. Did you get your own catwalk show at The Fashion Week?

Yeah, I got a full catwalk and I was the first one of the 10 designers to go. We’d done rehearsals, but I’d not seen the space with people in it. What happens is, you have your 25 looks roll out and then you’re stood behind stage, just checking everything before the models go out.

When the final piece had gone out, the woman running it, with the stopwatch and everything else, looked at me and said, ‘right, it’s time to take a bow’. I was like, what?

She was like, ‘Yeah, you can either walk out, do the whole loop or just smile and wave, but go, now!’ I went out, and obviously there were hundreds and hundreds of people there all looking at me, and all the lights and cameras flashing – it felt huge.

My head is thinking smile and wave, but my feet go, hell no, and I basically ran to the other exit – it wasn’t a good look, but I think the other nine were grateful that I’d gone first! How did you get into fashion and making your own clothes?

When my brother and I were little, we’d always have art projects on the go, so I’ve never known not being creative. My mum’s a graphic designer, and my grandmothers on both sides were very creative, made


all their clothes, had an absolute eye for precision, and they taught me to knit and to sew from being tiny.

I used to make little clothes for my Teddy’s and then if I was going away, my grandma would help me make an outfit, so I basically grew up sewing and making clothes. I didn’t really use patterns; I sort of got an idea and worked it out for myself. Through school, I was into textiles. Then I was very fortunate to go to college and then to the University of Newcastle and Northumbria to study fashion, and it’s gone from there.

I’ve always been very technically minded. My dad’s a scientist but it was mainly my grandmothers who influenced my making clothes. I think this is why I’m so conscious of the responsibly crafted clothing side of things because it’s never been about fashion for me – it’s never been about the latest trends. It started as making things that made me feel nice and now I’m able to make clothes that have meaning and make other people feel emotions.

It definitely runs in the family then?

Yeah, definitely. My great, great grandfather actually had a menswear clothing shop in the late 1800s, early 1900s and I’ve just been really fascinated by that. That’s influenced a lot of my work today as well. Things like how clothes were produced in that time, or how if it wasn’t you making your clothes it was a family member or somebody a few doors down the street and then you treasure those clothes and pass them on and I think that’s definitely something that’s missing now.

What else influences your work?

The meaning really has a big impact on me. Overall, a lot of my pieces have that androgynous look because I am trying to empower women.

There are so many elements of women’s fashion that effectively take power away from women. For instance, the way shirts are done up is designed so that your maid does your shirts up. Pockets is another big one. It’s been said that during the time of the suffragette movement, the government dissuaded garment manufacturers from putting pockets in women’s clothing, so they couldn’t hide, or carry whatever they needed. Pockets are a big thing for me. Emily Davison, the suffragette, who was killed at the Epsom Darby, she went into the shop, owned by my great, great grandfather, nine months before the Darby happened to get her gloves dry cleaned. I’ve got the receipt of that transaction signed by my great great grandfather.

What are your plans for the brand?

I’m enjoying life in Sheffield. I love Sheffield; I love the heritage behind it and there’s real craftsmanship here. I’ve been in the Kelham studio about a year now, which is really nice.

I’ve got lots of events coming up this year. I’m going to be part of Selected Space, from 12th14th July, which is run by four Sheffield creatives and is set to be a stunning exhibition of amazing local crafts people, and I’m also slowly starting to work on unisex pieces, which is really exciting. harrieteccleston.co.uk

One of the most popular culinary traditions in Japan, Yakiniku dining is a style of cooking bite-sized meat and vegetables on gridirons or griddles over a flame of wood charcoals.

Each table at Guyshi, which sits just next door to the newly refurbished Hallamshire Hotel, on West Street, has a built-in smokeless roaster and we popped along on a rainy Thursday lunchtime to sample what they had to offer.

Guyshi offers set menus starting from £55 as well as an a la carte menu, but as we’re after a lighter lunch while we discuss Harriet’s journey through the world of fashion, we opt for the lunch set menus.

The BBQ has limited vegan options, so I go for the Bento Box, picking out vegetable soba, edamame, pumpkin croquettes, salad and miso soup, while Harriet punts for the Yakiniku lunch set, which allows you two, three, or four BBQ items, alongside miso soup, salad and Japanese steamed rice.

Saving some room for the avocado and salmon maki we’ve (probably greedily) ordered, Harriet opts for the sliced sirloin steak and king prawns.

While we chat in the comfortable booth, the miso soup arrives and is a welcome hearty broth, set against the cold outside.

The friendly and attentive staff (there was no sign of the robot waiter today, unless AI has improved pretty impressively while I wasn’t paying attention!) then set to lighting our BBQ in preparation for Harriet’s Yakiniku. Once the dishes arrive, Harriet wastes no time delicately cooking the steak and prawns, which adds a playful element of theatre to the meal.

The noodles and croquettes in the Bento Box are both delicious but the surprising highlight is the Japanese salad, which is coated in a zesty dressing.

At £12.99 per menu, which includes a drink, Guyshi is definitely a dinnertime treat, but one that’s well worth it.


180 West Street

Sheffield , S1 4ET guyshi.co.uk


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Outstanding results achieved by Whyy? Change’s marketing apprentices have seen them scoop another commendation from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Commendations are awarded by CIM to accredited study centres that provide outstanding academic results, achieving pass rates of 90% or more for a specified CIM module, which recognises the high standard of our teaching and the dedication of our staff.

“The Awarding Body at The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has commended Whyy? Change for the excellent standard of results achieved for assessments submitted in the December 2023 assessments session for the Applied Marketing module of the Certificate in Professional Marketing.”

Whyy? Change’s marketing apprentices are currently studying towards their respective Level 4 Marketing Executive Apprenticeship or Level 3 Digital Marketer Apprenticeship. This includes the CIM’s Applied Marketing and Digital Techniques Awards in Professional Marketing.

CIM professional marketing qualifications are recognised internationally as the gold standard for marketing professionals, including them alongside the apprenticeship provides apprentices with a professional qualification that in showcases their commitment to professional development in addition to their marketing apprenticeship.

Laura Stead FCIM, Head of CIM Programmes at Whyy? Change shared her delight:

“Our marketing apprentices work tremendously hard and submit

a very high standard of work, so to see that recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing is brilliant. We’re extremely proud of our marketing apprentices and our thanks goes to them for their continued commitment and enthusiasm.”

Laura added: “The marketing apprenticeships are designed to equip marketers already working within the industry. It equips marketers with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to implement effective marketing campaigns, enabling them with confidence to perform professionally within their marketing departments.”

What is the CIM?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the world’s largest community of marketers that supports, represents, and develops marketers, teams, leaders and the marketing profession as a whole. Their accredited qualifications are highly sought after by employers, with over 30,000 members worldwide.

What is a marketing apprenticeship?

It’s a way to gain your marketing qualifications while you’re in employment. An apprenticeship enables you to develop your knowledge, skills, and practical experience. If you successfully complete Level 3, 4 or 6 marketing apprenticeship, you will receive recognised and accredited qualifications.

What will I learn on a marketing apprenticeship?

That depends on which marketing apprenticeship you have chosen and what level. Marketing apprenticeships include all the core marketing skills, knowledge and behaviours that you would expect such as; market research, market


segmentation, the marketing mix, marketing tools, digital marketing techniques, metrics and analysis, campaign planning, budgeting, and more.

Whyy? Change’s CIM Marketing Apprenticeships

Whyy? Change’s Marketing Apprenticeships are delivered face to face by a team of highly skilled practitioners from their training centre in Rotherham at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. You can expect interactive workshops, industry guest speakers and engaging discussions on the latest marketing trends. Training is delivered in open cohorts, designed to enhance collaboration, share marketing challenges and build their professional network.

With a choice of marketing apprenticeships, across a variety of marketing roles tailored to your

business needs, Whyy? Change offers the following apprenticeships:

• Level 3 Multi-Channel Marketer Apprenticeship - Designed for current or aspiring, Digital Marketing / Social Media / Content / Communications / SEO / Marketing assistants and Marketing administrators who are involved in delivering multichannel marketing campaigns and marketing activities.

• Level 4 Marketing Executive Apprenticeship - Ideal for aspiring or current Marketing Executives / Officers / Specialists without formal marketing qualifications or general marketers looking to become more specialist.

• Level 6 Marketing Manager Apprenticeship – Includes two CIM Level 6 Awards, aimed at Marketing / Communications / Corporate Communications / Brand Managers who work in

an operational, supervisory or management role and wish to develop their strategic marketing knowledge and report into the Marketing Director or CEO.

Whyy? Change ensures apprentices come away from their apprenticeship training with more than just a piece of paper by including a student membership to CIM, plus two CIM awards at no additional cost.

Are you or your business looking upskill your existing marketers or recruit a marketing apprentice?

Get in touch with Whyy? Change to see how they can support you with a professionally recognised marketing apprenticeship. Visit www.whyychange.com, email info@ whyychange.com or call them on 0114 400 0077 for a chat.




• Extending our support to young people who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET), or at risk of becoming NEET

To kick off the campaign, we will work with the 25 secondary schools involved to host launches in their settings. These will be a great opportunity to meet students, staff and local businesses around the schools, to find out more about the campaign and what it means to them. The first of these will be at Meadowhead School on 24 April.

Once the campaign is up and running, there will be a wide range of opportunities available across a variety of settings, so whether you and your people can spare half an hour or half a day, there will be something for you to get involved in.

Tim Roberts the CEO of Henry Boot and chair of the Pride of Place, calls on all employers across the city to back this campaign to ensure all our young people, regardless of background, achieve their full potential.

What is the Sheffield Pride of Place?

Sheffield Pride of Place (PoP) established by Business in the Community, is a business-led forum connecting the private, public and voluntary sectors in Sheffield, to create economic opportunity, address societal issues and deliver long-term transformative change in our communities.

PoP members, Business in the Community, Aviva, Henry Boot, Mott Macdonald, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Sheffield City Council, Voluntary Action Sheffield, NHS Integrated care partnership and SADACCA are asking local businesses to join them in helping to inspire the next generation in schools, colleges and other educational settings across the city.

Why should you get involved? Research suggests that four or more encounters with employers can significantly improve the life outcomes for young people, strengthen the link between education and the world of work, and drive a more inclusive and productive local economy. In a

tight labour market, engagement with young people provides employers with an opportunity to recruit and develop local talent and grow their brand profile, whilst raising the attainment, aspiration and work-readiness of young people.

See it Be it in Sheffield!

We are partnering with Sheffield City Council’s See it Be it in Sheffield campaign to increase our employer engagement in schools and colleges by:

• Providing targeted and focused support for 25 secondary schools in areas of deprivation and low social mobility, ensuring every young person in these schools has at least one meaningful encounter with an employer a year

• Creating an offer to primary schools to broaden horizons, raise aspirations and challenge future-limiting stereotypes, ensuring they keep an open mind about the world of work as they move through education

• Supporting the development of technical and vocational pathways for young people aged 16-18 though a new Post 16: Careers Made in Sheffield

Opportunities in schools and colleges will include:

• Mock Interviews

• Careers Talks

• Workplace Visits

• Mentoring

• Skills Workshops

• Enterprise skills

• …and more!

We can also work with you to tailor your own activities or deliver an existing offer, targeting skills gaps specific to your sector, or schools / colleges local to your workplace.

With your help, we can ensure that more young people in Sheffield can achieve their full potential, regardless of their background.

To find out more and pledge your support:- Complete this online form: https://tinyurl.com/ PoPPledge. Someone from the See it Be it Team will then be in touch to discuss next steps.

“Henry Boot are one of Sheffield’s well known longstanding businesses and I am proud to represent the company and Chair the Sheffield Pride of Place Board. I am confident that the See it Be it campaign will inspire and inform a generation of learners across the city and provide them with aspirations for the future” Tim Robert, CEO of Henry Boot.

Thank you; Sheffield is better when we work together!



Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan’s sold-out fundraising event has raised over £65,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity.

‘An Evening with Barry Bannan’ took place at Sheffield Mercure St. Paul’s on 3 March and was Barry’s first fundraising effort since being announced as an ambassador for the charity earlier this year.

Hosted by Steve Bracknall, the night featured a Q&A with owls players, both from the current squad and legends from days gone by, plus musical entertainment from Jon McClure of Reverend and the Makers

Guests were treated to a three-course meal as well as a raffle with money can’t buy

prizes, with all proceeds going to the Charity.

Barry said: “I’ve got two lovely children so supporting Sheffield Children’s is so important to me.

“If I can use my voice to share the work of The Children’s Hospital Charity, it’s an honour. We’re saving lives by raising these funds and we were all touched when we visited as a team at Christmas.”

Sheffield Children’s is one of just three standalone specialist children’s hospitals in the UK, providing the best possible care for children all over Yorkshire, the UK and beyond, and is crucially supported by the vital work of The Children’s Hospital Charity.


A Sheffield-based charity which provides free interview outfits to help struggling unemployed people into work has received vital funding from South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF).

The Suit Works have received £14,000 through SYCF’s Moving on Up project to support young adults aged 19 to 25 with free styling sessions and interviewappropriate clothing when they have an upcoming job interview and are unable to buy anything suitable.

The organisation also helps clients prepare for interviews by providing informal training in areas such as body language, dealing with nerves and practical skills including how to iron a shirt.

Awarded over a three-year period, the SYCF funding has enabled The Suit Works to help a total of 121 young people, exceeding their original target of 115.

Works, said: “Due to a lack of financial support from elsewhere, individuals are facing many barriers to employment. With support from projects like Moving on Up, we’re able to assist by giving them the tools to succeed and reach their potential.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support from South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation in helping to achieve and exceed our aims.

“We believe giving clients a styling session and beautiful, good quality clothing to attend their interview has a transformative effect. It can significantly impact on clients’ self-esteem and selfrespect, ultimately contributing to employment success.”

South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation is the region’s largest local grant-giving charity, and in 2023 it awarded grants totalling more than £1.7m to help transform the lives of people and communities across the region.



Sheffield-based charity, The Sunday Centre, has received a £1,500 donation from Barratt and David Wilson Homes to help support its essential work feeding and empowering the local homeless community.

For nearly 30 years, The Sunday Centre has served over 100 people every week, offering them food, emergency clothing, toiletries and sanitary items.

The donation came as part of the Barratt Developments Plc Charitable Foundation, which is designed to support national and local charities across the UK to leave a legacy in the communities in which the housebuilder operates.

Steve Clark, Former Chair of Trustees at The Sunday Centre, said: “As we feed the most vulnerable of our city, we do not charge for our meals, and would simply have to close without generous donations such as this one from Barratt and David Wilson Homes.

“Barratt and David Wilson Homes’ Community Fund scheme is a wonderful initiative which makes such a big impact on charities like ours. The homeless community can be marginalised at times, so having a large business consider them is very important.

“We would like to offer Barratt and David Wilson Homes our most sincere thank you for its kindness, generosity and for spreading awareness of the homeless community.”

Gary Chambers, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes Sheffield, added: “As a leading housebuilder, we strive to support the communities in and around the areas in which we build and we’re delighted to be able to offer The Sunday Centre a donation to support the fantastic work it does.

“Our homeless communities deserve to be treated with care and respect, and The Sunday Centre continue to provide vital services which vulnerable people rely on.”


How are we in the second quarter of the year already? How was the first quarter for you? Let me tell you what has been in my diary and this will explain the support I provide to my retained clients and the ad-hoc work I am able to provide…

• Set up a CIC for an existing client – this involved picking the appropriate template Articles of Association, completing the CIC36 form and completing the application on the HMRC site.

• Created a funding application content for a client on an ad-hoc basis.

• Undertook research for funding applications for a monthly client I write applications for – for this, I updated the tracker of funding bids applied for, the success rate, closing date and feedback.

• Noted my success rate for last year across all applications was 56%.

Business generation calls to follow up with nonprofits who have enquired about my services via Linked in.

• Attended a project meeting for a charity raising funding for a £2million capital project I am the lead fundraiser for the project.

• Zoom call with Trustees and CEO of a charity to discuss their funding requirements for the next 12 months and establish a suitable strategy and calendar.

• Create content for many more funding applications for my retained clients who I work for 5, 10 and 15 hours per month.

You can see the variety –which I love! I am really at full capacity currently, but should you wish to discuss some work you need me to assist with, drop me a line.

• Face to face meeting with a client to discuss funding requirements and how they would like to raise income – bid writing? Corporate sponsorship or Community Fundraising event?

If you need more help with this or any aspect of Business Planning/Funding Strategy, call meWendy Ward, Let’s Save Consultancy Services, 0772 9481010. wendy@letssave.biz



Leading property regeneration and placemaking specialist, Scarborough Group International (SGI) has announced the promotion of Nicola Wallis to its Board of Directors, as it seeks to expand its residential service offering.

In her newly-elevated position, Nicola will be responsible for providing strategic leadership in respect of the Group’s expanding residential development and management portfolio, following the launch of Scarborough Management Services earlier this year. She will continue to lead the residential sales and marketing discipline within the Group, working closely with the development team to deliver award-winning mixed-use neighbourhoods.

Nicola joined SGI in 2014, when she became the first employee in the Manchester office, responsible for launching the Group’s residential sales business. Since then, she has played a pivotal role in the success of several residential schemes including the awardwinning, mixed-use neighbourhood, Middlewood Locks in Salford, and Hatbox in Manchester.

With over 23 years of experience in the industry, 13 of which were gained at Urban Splash, where she spearheaded the delivery of national residential sales pipelines, Nicola boasts a depth of knowledge and expertise across all aspects of new home sales, including branding, marketing, events, customer care, and developing strong relationships with both private and public sector partners.

Commenting on her promotion, Nicola Wallis, said:

“Throughout my career, I have always loved helping people achieve home-ownership and building vibrant communities where our customers can truly thrive. It is therefore extremely humbling and gratifying that the board has recognised my commitment by placing their trust in me to drive the growth of our residential business forward.”

British Manufacturing Consortium Appoint a New Director

The British Manufacturing Consortium (BCM) is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Director, Claire Taylor Foster. Claire brings with her a wealth of business and digital marketing knowledge to the Sheffield-based non-profit and will be responsible for overseeing the organisation’s operations and membership from 1 April 2024.

Commenting on Claire’s new role, BMC Chair, Graham Honeyman CBE, said: “Claire is an outstanding individual, ideal for taking charge of the British Manufacturing Consortium.

“She comes with a vibrant personality and a work ethic which will contribute hugely to the

success of the Consortium.” The BCM is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to bringing together those in the manufacturing and engineering industries, allowing them to share expertise and building meaningful, strategic connections.


John Bradley, current chairman and director at Wake Smith Solicitors, has been announced as the next High Sherrif of South Yorkshire.

The Highly regarded corporate lawyer will step down from his roles at Wake Smith Solicitors to take on the new position, with Head of Property at the firm, Neil Salter to take over as Chairman.

John, who has been at the Sheffield-based firm for over 30 years, will take up the role from 8 April this year, taking on responsibilities such as supporting crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and the voluntary sector across South Yorkshire.

Every country across England and Wales has a High Sherrif, a role which originated during the Norman Conquest and has somewhat evolved into being largely ceremonial today.

John said: “I am very proud to be taking up the role as the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire.

“My decision to leave Wake Smith has been an incredibly difficult one; however, the office of High Sheriff is a high honour and it is an immense privilege to be selected. I hand over the role of Chairman in Neil Salter’s capable hands. I wish him all the best in his new role.”

Speaking of both his and John’s appointments, Neil added: “John being chosen as High Sheriff is a remarkable recognition of his profile in the city and, to an extent, that of Wake Smith.

“Sadly for us, John will be stepping down from the firm whilst he undertakes his duties, as he will be spending substantial amounts of time with the judiciary, and this has the potential for a conflict of interest.

“We wish him a fond farewell for now, with a huge sense of pride and admiration on his appointment.”


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After nearly two years of hard-fought campaigning and work taking place behind-the-scenes, the fate of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) is looking brighter than ever.

The source of this newfound optimism stems from City of Doncaster Council’s recent announcement of reaching a significant milestone in their discussions with Peel Group, the owners of the airport. Specifically, they’ve finalised a longterm lease agreement spanning 125 years for the site.

Responding to this good news, the Chief Execs for all three regional Chambers of Commerce (those being the respective networks for Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley & Rotherham) issued the following joint statement:

“Today’s announcement will doubtlessly come as a huge relief to those who have been invested in this complicated situation and who have been following all of the latest developments with keen interest. Successful economies need

successful airports. As such, when the fate of ours was first called into question 20 months ago, we know that it came as a massive blow for the region and that there was justifiable concern about what losing such a prominent asset would ultimately mean.

“After all, DSA had been serving our communities for over two decades by the time it closed its door, so it was only natural that residents and businesses would feel so passionate about keeping it alive. Yet even then, we could not have predicted just how determined that community would be, with countless groups and individuals from across the political spectrum rallying behind the campaign to save our airport; some of whom were very much in the public eye while others worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

“Today is a victory for


all of those activists and supporters, especially the operational colleagues who have been toiling night and day in their offices to get this lease deal over the line. It’s been a real team effort that has shown just what South Yorkshire is capable of when it pulls together in service of a common goal."

Naturally, unLTD are hugely excited to hear about this development, considering that it promises substantial benefits to the local economy. With the lease now secured, the council can direct its attention towards finalizing the ongoing search for a private sector partner to manage the airport.

Things are certainly looking up and, assuming everything proceeds as intended, it seems increasingly probable that South Yorkshire will regain its airport in the near future.



Seasonally inspired local food.

PJ taste is an employeeowned company catering for businesses, weddings and events for the past 18 years

Applications for the increased incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice are now open. The team at First Intuition tell unLTD readers more.

With a focus on sustainable, local produce we offer delivered catering of all types for all occasions

Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in April, employers will receive £3,000 for eligible apprentices of any age who start employment from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021. You can apply for incentive payments for these apprentices from 1 June 2021 to 30 November 2021.

• Aged 16 to 18 or

• Under 25 with an education, health, and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority.

Get in touch to see how we can help cater your next event

The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice:

PJ taste Street Food Fiesta

Whether you’re looking to offer your guests a hot lunch or evening option and you’d like to feed your team with a festival cuisines from across the world, this is the perfect place to start!

paying employers can utilise their levy pots.

Homemade Burritos

Applications for the increased incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice are now open.

Hot Meat Sandwiches

Apprentices will have an additional two months after the deadline of 30 September 2021 (until 30 November 2021) to start their training programme – this is to allow for probationary periods and sign-up processes to occur.

Hungry Budda Curry

Level 2, 3, 4 and 7 Apprenticeship schemes for the AAT, ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW,

Pie & Peas

Thai Curry

CTA and ATT Qualifications are covered for the incentive payment.

Taking international inspiration , and combining them with seasonal, local ingredients there’s an option for everyone! Contact

If you are looking to recruit an apprentice into your Finance Team, then we can help. Contact Sheffield@fi.co.uk for more info.

The Accountancy Employers Guide

Trainees and new staff need as much support as possible to ease them into work over the next year.

Proper British BBQ

Furthermore, employers will also receive a National Insurance exemption if the apprentice is aged under 25 and a 95 per cent subsidy of the training costs (if not paying via the apprenticeship levy). Levy

Greek Gyros Pizza (from 80 guests)

The Accountancy Employers Guide provides links to relevant resources on trainee recruitment, onboarding, pre-start resources, employability skills, apprenticeship incentives, employer events, and hot topics.

The Accountancy Employers Guide is now available to access for free at www.firstintuition.co.uk/fihub/ accountancy-employers-guide/

Feed between 30 & 400 guests

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