unLTD. Connecting business across Sheffield City Region #70

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ON THE COVER... 26: COVER For our inaugural cover feature of 2024, unLTD speaks to Mike Kent of Kitlocker.com – an innovative Sheffield-based business that has achieved significant success in supplying sportswear and apparel across the UK for the past two decades.

34: LAYING DOWN THE LAW Ash Birch speaks with Kerry Russell, Carys Thompson and Ryan Fitzpatrick, partners at the full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau. The trio discuss the company's ambitious plans in South Yorkshire, their passion for working in the area and the inclusive culture fostered within the organisation. 40: HAVE LUNCH WITH Our first business lunch of the year saw us feasting at The Mowbray with co-owner Sally Clark and head of house Lucy Hughes, who discussed the work behind the scenes that goes into turning dilapidated buildings into thriving events spaces. 44: TIME FOR ANOTHER ROUND Ahead of its upcoming launch at Sheffield Beer Week 2024, renowned beer writer Pete Brown previews his report exploring the city’s thriving beer industry. 52: REDEFINING REMOTE WORKING Following their victory in the Best Business Start-Up category at the unLTD Awards, we caught up with James Coughlan, the founder and CEO of innovative remote working app Reef.




COLUMN EDITOR Olivia Warburton


VIDEO CONTENT CREATOR Lizzy Capps lizzy@unltdbusiness.com

DESIGN Marc Barker ADVERTISING Phil Turner

phil@unltdbusiness.com 07979 498 034


Nick Hallam

Depending on when you’re read this, you’re probably well back into the swing of the working week, following a much-deserved break from the office filled with family, friends and leftovers. After a suitable busy festive period for us, it’s nice to be back in the office with time to reflect on the previous year’s milestones and achievements. As you may or may not be aware, January marks a year since our partnership with Chapter II came to an end and we brought the magazine completely inhouse, including everything from editorial and design to sales and awards. Over that year, we’ve been thrilled to cover all the major business stories in our region; whether that’s been the story of strongman competitions and their link to Sheffield or strong women around South Yorkshire making their way in male-dominated sectors, there’s been plenty for us to get stuck into. We also wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone we’ve spoken to and worked alongside over the course of the year. The support from the business community for the magazine and our inaugural awards ceremony has been fantastic and very much appreciated. But we’re not finished there. 2024 is already looking like a big one for South Yorkshire, with the Heart of the City development coming to fruition in Sheffield and other major developments around the region. Rest assured that there’ll be plenty to keep the pages turning in the year ahead.

FINANCE Lis Ellis accounts@ exposedmagazine.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS

nick@exposedmagazine.co.uk 07843 483536

Charlotte Cassells Ryan Connolly Jo Davison Rachael Flintoft Ross Jarman Becca Morris Tim Renshaw Laura Stead Wendy Ward Jill White

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.



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£3 billion

decrease in spending across the largest city centres in the UK due to rise in workingfrom-home practices.

IS WORKING FROM HOME WORKING? Not for business in central Sheffield it would appear. The Sheffield Property Association (SPA) recently unveiled a ground-breaking report, patented by Kada Research, which has evaluated the impact of working-from-home (WFH) practices on the city centre. Changes in working patterns, along with more people working from home, have led to a £3 billion decrease in spending in the largest city centres in the UK. Sheffield has the fourth joint highest increase in remote working, where many city centre employers are operating at under 25% occupancy. The objectives of the report are to analyse national and international WFH trends and impacts, assess Sheffieldspecific impacts, gather stakeholder insights, and predict future trends. The latest findings provide valuable recommendations for Sheffield employers and key stakeholders to encourage increased levels of office work and support the future economic prosperity of the city centre. The report revealed that the number of UK homeworkers increased from 4.7 million to 9.9 million between 2019 and 2022. The impact of reduced spending, due to WFH practices, has led to a significant loss of £3 billion in the largest city centres. The report highlights the vulnerability of city centres, particularly those with a high concentration of professionals, and emphasises that changes in working patterns are substantial and likely permanent. The hybrid working trends reveal

that UK daily office occupancy, as of the end of 2022, averaged close to 30% and varied throughout the week, with Mondays and Fridays having lower occupancy rates. However, recent data indicates an increase in office occupancy to 35.9% in April 2023. The report also addresses employers’ concerns regarding the potential negative impact of WFH on productivity and the benefits of agglomeration. While some businesses require employees to work in the office for two to three days, employees appreciate the enhanced mental, physical, and financial well-being that comes with hybrid working. Companies are planning to reduce office space, indicating their preparation for a hybrid future. The report shows that Sheffield benefits from remote working patterns by keeping the spending of the 37,500 Sheffield residents who do not work within the city within the local economy. However, the sustainability of businesses and services that rely on city centre workers is being questioned. Ultimately, the report emphasises the importance of having a diverse residential population in the city. You can read the report in full at www. sheffieldpropertyassociation.com


average daily office occupancy across the UK as of April 2023 Sheffield has the

4th highest increase in remote working WHO’S BEHIND IT? Kada Research is a renowned research firm specialising in providing valuable insights and data-driven solutions for various sectors. Their expertise in conducting comprehensive studies and delivering actionable recommendations has made them a trusted partner for organisations worldwide. The Sheffield Property Association (S-PA) is an active group of businesses dedicated to revitalising Sheffield’s built environment. Since 2017, they have been actively investing, generating opportunities, and promoting prosperity in the city. Through research and collaborative efforts, they influence decision-making processes to benefit local communities while fostering strong relationships between land-owning and development businesses, stakeholders, and partners.




AWARD-WINNING STARTUP GETS THE GREEN LIGHT FROM TECH ACCELERATOR An award-winning Sheffield startup committed to decarbonising the chemical sector has gained the backing of leading venture accelerator Carbon 13. Eutechtics, an ecochemistry startup based at Sheffield Technology Parks, is developing groundbreaking, sustainable processes to cut harmful emissions in the production of chemicals. After being crowned National Champion of Climate Launchpad UK 2023, the startup has been accepted onto Carbon13’s Venture Launchpad, which focuses on startups with the ambition and potential to tackle climate change. Through the programme,

Eutechtics could secure pre-seed investment from Carbon13 of £120,000. Founded by Armando Leal and Dr. Mauricio Murillo in 2022, Eutechtics relocated

from York to Sheffield, drawn by the city’s impressive innovation landscape. Co-founder and CEO, Armando Leal, said: “We relocated here with support

from Sheffield Technology Park’s LOCATE programme, which has been really useful in helping us to connect with the start-up ecosystem and important stakeholders that could play a vital role in the development of our tech. “We are really happy to be accepted onto Carbon13’s Venture Launchpad. Firstly, because of the commitment and enthusiasm the team has for tackling the climate emergency, and for the specific expertise they have in supporting and accelerating eco-startups. “I feel that we’re in the best hands to develop our investment strategy and to achieve our first round of funding.”

Sheffield tech company receives sensational funding Sheffield-based smart sensing solutions company Tribosonics have raised £1.5m from the latest round of the NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. Tribosonics’ smart solutions are used to monitor industrial machinery and components and manage efficiency and product quality. Its integrated systems provide data and insights to help companies improve performance, extend plant life, reduce maintenance and energy use and meet sustainability goals. The investment will support Tribosonics’ ongoing 8


product development and bring its solutions to a wider audience. The company also plans to expand its team, creating around 25 new jobs and will continue to

invest in its award-winning apprenticeship scheme. Glenn Fletcher, Tribosonics CEO, said: “Industry is facing a host of challenges such as the need to be energy efficient,

sustainable and ESG compliant, reduce costs and enhance quality. “Our integrated sensing solutions provide the data required to help companies to meet these challenges and achieve digital transformation. “The funding will help us to drive further growth and bring our solutions to a wider global audience.” Will Schaffer, Investment Director at Mercia, added: “Tribosonics’ technology is one of the most advanced of its type and the company has a strong management team to drive it forward. “This latest investment will help it take advantage of this new and growing market.”

NIBS NEW TITLE SPONSOR OF SHEFFIELD HALF MARATHON ANNOUNCED Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All have announced Sheffield Mutual as the new title sponsor of the Sheffield Half Marathon and Sheffield 10K. Sheffield Mutual will support South Yorkshire’s leading running events for at least the next two years and will kick off their partnership with the Sheffield Mutual Sheffield Half Marathon on Sunday 7th April 2024.

SHEFFIELD REMAINS A WINNER WITH STUDENTS Sheffield has been named one of the top three ‘best student cities’ in the UK by StudentCrowd. The ranking was based on 9000 student reviews across key areas like cost of living, nights out and public transport and comes after the recent award-winning ‘Sheffield: Your University City’ campaign that celebrated the Steel City as a place with a distinct and individual personality for students.

Flying Sky-High The award-winning musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge has been granted the prestigious Made in Sheffield Mark. The Made in Sheffield mark is internationally renowned as a mark of origin and quality and is usually awarded to successful world-class companies in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, technology, the creative and digital industries, food and also healthcare. Standing at the Sky’s Edge is the first Sheffield-made theatre production to secure the mark, meaning that Sheffield will be recognised on the London international stage when the musical opens on the West End in February 2024 Rupert Lord, Producer of Standing at the Sky’s Edge said: “Our Musical is a wholly Sheffield-made show. Conceived, written and first performed in Sheffield deploying the enormous talents of a Sheffield born and bred writer, Chris Bush, songwriter, Richard Hawley, and directed by a Yorkshireman, Rob Hastie. This production is truly a love letter to this great city. “I couldn’t be more delighted and proud that it has now been awarded the honour of using the iconic Made in Sheffield mark. Like great Sheffield cutlery, we believe Standing at the Sky’s Edge is of the highest quality and built to last, and this award is a fitting tribute to the creative energies that the city embodies.” Charles Turner, Master Cutler, Chair to Made in Sheffield, added: “Standing at the Sky’s Edge is as made in Sheffield as knives. It’s created here, its music comes from here, it’s the heart and soul of Sheffield and it tells the story of Sheffield to the world. “We’re an export city and to have something like this going to London as a cultural export item is absolutely brilliant – why wouldn’t we give it the Made in Sheffield mark?!”

DOCFEST FUNDING APPROVED FOR NEXT THREE YEARS Sheffield City Council have approved funding of £100,000 a year to support the delivery of the International Documentary Festival Sheffield (DocFest), for the next three years. Councillors approved long-term funding for the event, which is estimated to contribute almost £2 million to the Sheffield economy. The week-long annual event, which has been running since 1994, unites the international film community in June each year, spreading events across a wide range of independent venues in and around the city centre.

FORGE BAKEHOUSE RESCUED FROM ADMINISTRATION The jobs of over 40 people have been secured at Sheffield’s acclaimed Forge Bakehouse after it entered into administration last year. The Sheffield office of insolvency and business turnaround specialist Leonard Curtis was appointed administrator of Forge Bakehouse, but now the company has been restructured with CPLG Limited at the helm, headed by original Forge Bakehouse owner Craig Guest.




Community foundation moving on up after awards win An innovative enterprise project which is tackling unemployment amongst young people in South Yorkshire has been recognised with a regional award. The Moving on Up (MOU) young people and employment programme has been awarded the Social Impact Initiative of the Year at the 2023 South Yorkshire Business Awards. MOU was developed by South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) to help bridge the gap between employment, skills and education amongst 14- to 30-yearolds in the region. Since launching in 2021, the MOU programme has allocated over £300,000 to 24 community groups and organisations over two rounds of funding. Roundabout, Barnsley-based Serenity and Grow Sheffield are just some of the projects and organisations which have benefitted from the grant funding. Successful groups were allocated up to £5,000 a year, over three years. Ruth Willis, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, said: “This award win is wonderful recognition for a truly unique project which has been developed by listening to the needs of the communities we live and work in. “All the funded programmes have been incredibly successful in supporting young people’s enterprise ambitions by arming them with the skills and training needed to succeed.” 10 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

SYCMA LAUNCH OVERHAUL OF REGION’S APPRENTICESHIP SERVICES Plans have been announced by South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard, to bring quality new apprenticeships to the region, with the launch of a new apprenticeship hub and levy matchmaking service. Launched in December, the hub aims to create a higher number of better quality apprenticeships start-ups in the region, with an initial target of creating 300 new apprenticeships by 2025. The Apprenticeship Levy Matchmaking Service is a brand-new service from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), delivered by the South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership, which provides smaller businesses with access to apprenticeship funding. Khalil Kirkwood, Senior Development Manager at SYMCA, said: “This new platform will give an opportunity for employers who are currently paying the apprenticeship levy, which is typically a business or connected companies with an annual pay bill over £3million, to pledge their unspent allocation into a pot that smaller businesses can then bid for.

“Smaller businesses will now have an opportunity to upskill their workforce or expand their team through an apprenticeship that is designed to fulfil the skills requirements of their industry. “Being able to offer this innovative approach to address collective skills shortages in South Yorkshire is just one of the strategies we are looking at to improve the lives of our residents.” South Yorkshire Mayor, Oliver Coppard, added: “South Yorkshire doesn’t just need a bigger economy, we need a better economy. “But if we’re going to get there, and if everyone is going to be able to access the opportunities that the new economy will bring, we need to make sure people have the right skills, so they can access opportunity wherever it might be. “That’s what our new Apprenticeship Hub is all about; offering people, organisations and businesses a ‘one-stop shop’ for all the information and support they need to get the right skills, in the right place, so we can all benefit from more jobs.”

VIDEO GAMES FANS ARE SET TO GET GAME ON IN DONCASTER THIS JANUARY A spectacular interactive exhibition full of video games is heading to Doncaster Dome this month (January 16). Game On will be at the Dome for three months, giving video games fans from across the region a chance to take a trip down memory lane and enjoy some of their favourite games. Michael Hart, chief executive of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust said: “This is the first major international touring exhibition to explore the history and culture of video games and we hope that lots of people, from school groups to families, get to take part in the event to learn all about gaming’s fascinating

past and limitless future.” Focusing on key game developments across the globe between 1962 and the present day, Game On has welcomed over 4 million visitors from 23 countries and a newly updated version of the show is all set to make its first visit to Yorkshire whilst at the Dome from 16 January to 14 April 2024. Gamers can enjoy everything from the colossal Mainframes of the early sixties to the latest industry releases, as the exhibition features more than 150 playable games, including Space Invaders, Sonic the Hedgehog and Rock Band, to virtual reality and Minecraft. “We are really excited to be the first venue in Yorkshire

to host this incredible, interactive event which is set to be a real eye-opener for audiences . “Game On is a must-see opportunity with a whole host of different areas to explore and lots of chances for young people to learn about gaming history as well as playing the games and

getting involved. “Yorkshire is home to some fantastic companies that play a significant role in the UK gaming industry and we’re very excited to host Game On and inspire the next generation of developers in the region!” added Michael. The Game On Exhibition curated by the Barbican Centre and organised in collaboration with The Doncaster Dome. The City of London Corporation is the owner, founder and principal funder of Barbican Centre Tickets costing £8.50 £14.50 (plus booking fee) are on sale now. For more information, please visit: www.dclt.co.uk

Sheffield Hallam University welcomes new Vice-Chancellor Sheffield Hallam University has welcomed Professor Liz Mossop who has begun her tenure as ViceChancellor She formally took up her position on 2nd January after being appointed in August 2023. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh and her career as a veterinary surgeon, Professor Mossop developed a strong academic career in higher education leadership. Her previous roles include having served as Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and Professor of Veterinary Education at the University of Nottingham, alongside a senior leadership role in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher

Education Academy in 2016 and is a Council member of the Academy of Medical Educators, a member of the Teaching Excellence Framework panel, Board member of Nottingham College and Vice Chair of the European Veterinary Accreditation Committee. Liz said: “I am delighted to take up my position as Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam. It is a huge honour to lead a University with such a strong civic ambition, commitment to inclusion and emphasis on innovation. “I am greatly looking forward to meeting the University community and connecting with the city and region over the coming weeks and months.” Professor Mossop succeeds Professor Sir Chris Husbands who stepped down from the role in December at the end of an eight-year term.




CAUSEWAY Could you tell us a bit about your organisation and what you do? Causeway is a charity headquartered in Sheffield, that exists to create lasting change for marginalised and vulnerable people. This includes survivors of modern slavery and those caught in cycles of exploitation and crime. We have been supporting thousands of individuals to make progress and thrive for nearly 20 years, and currently work with over 1,200 services users each year. We offer a person-centred approach to trauma support, so that those on their recovery journeys feel seen and


heard, but not judged or defined by their experiences. Services we provide include, but are not limited to, safe houses, one-to-one specialist support, holistic crisis support interventions and community connection groups. We also signpost service users into counselling, training courses and volunteering or employment opportunities. We are committed to raising awareness of modern slavery, human trafficking and crime reduction across the UK, as we advocate for a fairer and more understanding society. We do this through investing in research,

national campaigning, strategic partnerships, community and corporate fundraising, training courses, and collaborating with local authorities, government officials, media and influencers. Causeway is one of the largest providers of modern slavery support in the UK, and are experts in the field of survivor recovery. We recognise the deep trauma survivors of modern slavery have experienced, and believe in empowering them to live free and meaningful lives. What projects or programmes are you working on at the moment? Survivors: Life Beyond Exploitation is a new modern slavery campaign from Causeway. The campaign provides a platform for modern slavery survivors to tell their own, often unheard, stories in their own words. This is with the aim of challenging stereotypes, getting to the real people behind the statistics,

and empowering survivors to show there is life beyond exploitation. Three brave survivors made films for the campaign, which can be viewed on our website, along with the films for our films.

With Jill White of Andy Hanselman Consulting

Breaking Cycles: Building Lives is Causeway’s latest crime reduction campaign, which aims to educate the public about the effects of trauma (particularly adverse childhood trauma) on people going on to commit crime. At the centre of the campaign, Causeway’s own Head of Criminal Justice Services, Stu Otten, made a film to bravely share his own story of being trapped in cycles of trauma and criminality. Hidden Men of Modern Slavery is a new campaign from Causeway that raises awareness of men’s increased risk of modern slavery. Currently three quarters of those identified as modern slavery victims in the UK are male, and the majority of victims of labour exploitation, criminal exploitation and organ harvesting are men and boys. 19 male celebrities have joined forces with Causeway to create a film to shine a spotlight on this, including national treasure Stephen Fry, TV presenter Dr Ranj Singh, darts champion Bobby George, fitness guru Mr Motivator, and EastEnders’ actor Rudolph Walker. How can people get involved with or donate to Causeway? Causeway needs to raise critical funds each year to continue to deliver our life changing work to modern slavery survivors and those caught in cycles of exploitation and crime. Any amount you are able to donate would be gratefully received, and you can do so via the following methods: Online Donations – causewaycharity.enthuse.com/ profile Text Donations – To donate £3, text GIFT23 to 70331 // To donate £5, text GIFT23 to 70970 // To donate £10, text GIFT23 to 70191 You can follow Causeway on social media (@CausewayCharity) and subscribe to our free newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest news, projects and campaigns across out modern slavery and crime reduction work. www.wearecauseway.org.uk // @ causewaycharity

Happy New Year! Here we go again with another year of hopes, plans and business resolutions! Many business leaders I know will have taken some time out over the Christmas break to plan for the year ahead. Many of them will have reflected on the past year, on what has gone well, not so well and what they need to do differently next year. We too ‘practise what we preach’ and here are some reflections on December happenings... We were delighted to attend the See it Be It interim marketing awards event at Theatre Deli - such a great venue in their new-ish premises and one I’m sure we’ll return to. As sponsors of See It Be It’s ‘The Big Challenge’, it was a real treat to present the award to the winning school teams. We love nurturing budding entrepreneurs and will certainly be something we carry through to 2024! We’ll also continue supporting charities, and the Paces Club 300 is one we love to work with and enjoy going along to their quarterly events. Crazy golf at Golf Fang was their December event.. such an interesting venue. Not sure I’ll be dashing back though! Where I will be dashing to, but sadly was unable to make the opening, will be Panenka. This unique new venue really does look like ‘the place to be’. Hats off to Rick Bailey and the team. In facy, Panenka is going to be the venue for our first 3D Connect session of 2024. Rick will be hosting us and sharing his entrepreneurial journey. Watch this space! On the subject of 3D Connect, our December event was superbly hosted by the team at Sheffield Theatres. The Adelphi room at the Crucible proved to be the perfect venue. A big thank you to all the team there. Back to our love of local charities, the Sheffield Hospitals Charity wowed us with their annual Carol concert at Sheffield Cathedral. Such a great lineup of stunning local talent and we especially loved the host for the night, Reverend Kate Bettley. Now we look forward to 2024, to more exciting events and happenings within our fabulous business community. Here’s to a great year ahead for all of us. See you in February!

Follow Jill at uk.linkedin.com/in/jilltywhite or find Andy Hanselman Consulting at andyhanselman.com. unLTDBUSINESS.COM 13



For this month’s journey into the entrepreneurial stories behind South Yorkshire businesses, unLTD caught up with Annie Buckley BSc (Hons) and Joshua Weston BSc (Hons) MRICS, who three years ago decided to take their relationship to the next level and become business partners, founding chartered RICS building surveyors Fourth Wall…

Can you start by telling us about the ‘lightbulb moment’ which led to you setting up your business? Joshua: To say I live and breathe building surveying sounds cliché, but my passion for this industry is a driving factor for me personally and professionally. I’ve always seen the potential in the surveying profession to do better for itself, the general public and the environment we live in. My time in the corporate world was a privilege, allowing me early in my career to work with some of the largest institutional funds on world renowned buildings, but I always knew there would be the opportunity to create a more dynamic and personal practice that would do better for its clients and its people. Annie: I’m sure mine will be the answer of many... Covid. As we went through that crazy period of change and uncertainty, we were forced to adapt. For me, being at home took me away from a feeling of loyalty and a fear of change I harboured and gave me the time to think about what I really wanted. As we went on our daily walk around the local park, we began discussing our ideas for business and how to bring our different professional experiences and personalities together to create something of our own. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while building and growing your business, and how have you overcome them? J: Building a new brand from nothing. We’ve been fortunate to work with some great clients who’ve trusted us and seen the value we offer, but it’s been hard at times when competing with a corporate marketing budget. As we’ve grown, finding the right people who share our genuine drive for doing things better for the right reasons has also been difficult. It’s so critical for any SME, especially in the early days, but I’m glad to say we’ve got a good team of people. A: You face challenges every day in business, it’s undeniable, and you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. The most essential thing for me is being able to self-reflect. Whatever challenge we face, be that with recruitment, finance, workload, training, you always have to look inwards and question yourself. It’s not always comfortable but it is always necessary. 14 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

Can you describe your typical client and how they that benefit most from your services? J: We work with owners and occupiers of property across residential and commercial sectors, so whether you’re buying a house, leasing a business premises or developing a site, we can help. We work with a lot of small businesses and charities, and we feel we can really add value here, as we bring large corporate level experience into a small business where we provide a personal service – we’re always on the other end of the phone to help every step of the way. We recently helped save a charity £77,000 on their dilapidations claim from their landlord when they left their recent premises. With a further £120,000 saving on future liability at their new premises, achievable through proactive negotiations on Landlords works and lease terms. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the difference we can make, as they now have a significant extra sum to put into supporting their service users and the important work they do in the mental health space. How do you feel you differ from other building consultancy businesses? A: The personal service we’re able to offer is essential for our clients. You’re not going through to a switchboard or struggling to get hold of your surveyor, you get the direct email and phone of the surveyor working on your property. We’re here to support as much or as little as you need. Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? J: This will sound like a tease, but we have some incredibly exciting new surveyors coming. We’re investing heavily in our team, ensuring we have wide ranging experience across commercial and residential to provide the very best expertise to our clients. The next couple of months sees us going live on site with another £1m project, bringing in two fantastic Chartered Surveyors, and upping our capacity across dilapidations, project monitoring and heritage consultancy. Our goal has always been to build a business that supports both our clients and our team, so our focus is on ensuring this is a reality at every stage. fourthwallbc.com



Lightbulb Moment

NAME: ABI MERRITT EMPLOYER: MERCIA LEARNING TRUST ROLE: HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT AND ENGAGEMENT Why motivated you to get involved in the SIBI Ambassador group? I have personally witnessed the profound effects that meaningful interactions between students and employers can have. In today’s increasingly digital and remote world, where our children are growing up, it is more crucial than ever to provide them with authentic real-life experiences. I hold great admiration for the efforts of See it Be it, and I eagerly anticipate contributing to raising awareness about their invaluable services, benefiting both schools and employers. What have you enjoyed most about being involved in the campaign? I’ve had a wonderful experience collaborating closely with the See it Be it team to provide meaningful interactions between employers and the students at Mercia Learning Trust. It’s especially gratifying to witness the enthusiasm of the young individuals when they discover previously unknown career paths or establish connections with potential future contacts or employers. What are the benefits to your business/ employer? See it Be it is an amazing resource that we rely on at Mercia Learning Trust to facilitate connections between our students and professionals in the Sheffield business community. With their assistance, we can effectively identify the specific types of individuals or organisations we seek, and the See it Be it team excels at establishing those connections with remarkable proficiency.

Sheffield City Council’s See it Be it in Sheffield campaign aims to inspire the next generation by linking up schools and colleges with local employers to provide meaningful encounters and experiences of the workplace. You can find more information at sheffield.startprofile.com/page/ seeitbeit-employers or by following @SeeItBeIt_ Sheff on Twitter.


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SAFEGUARDING BUSINESS AND RELATIONSHIPS The Importance of Prenuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements for Business Owners

For business owners, the intertwining of relationships and financial assets can be a complex and delicate balance. As individuals embark on the journey of building a life together, it is crucial to consider the potential impact on the business if the relationship were to end. Here, Kelly Parks, Head of Family Law at Banner Jones explains why business owners should consider a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements may not be the most romantic aspects of a relationship, but they are invaluable for business owners looking to protect their personal and business interests. By addressing financial matters and potential conflicts before they arise, these agreements can help couples navigate the complexities of personal relationships and business partnerships and protect the business if the relationship ends.

Understanding Prenuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements A prenuptial agreement, commonly known as a prenup, is a legal document entered into by a couple before marriage or a civil partnership. A post-nuptial agreement is an agreement made by a couple after they have married or entered into

a civil partnership. Both will record the agreement reached between the parties as to who gets what if they separate. They are prepared at a time when couples are together and communicating without the hostility and emotions that can be present at the point of separation.

How do they work? Prenuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements can record what will happen to the business if the parties separate. You need to clearly set out how the business assets will be divided, and who will get what in respect of your personal assets. The income generated and potential maintenance can be considered. Liabilities and who will be responsible for them can be recorded. You can agree that inherited

assets and assets brought into the marriage are protected. It is important to note, however, that prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are not automatically enforceable in England and Wales. The case of Radmacher v Granatino in 2010, was a landmark case with Judgment given from the Supreme Court that the pre-nuptial agreement in that case was valid. This does not mean that every pre-nuptial agreement will be upheld, however, provided they are drawn up fairly and accurately and are freely entered into, and the implications fully understood by both parties, pre-nuptial agreements are persuasive and will be considered and the terms may be upheld by the Court. The fairness

of the agreement will be considered on a case-bycase basis.

Key Components of Prenuptial Agreements for Business Owners Business Valuation: Clearly outline the value of the business at the time of entering the agreement. Specify how this value will be determined in the future, especially if the business grows or evolves. Will this change the agreement?

Protection of Business Assets Define the extent to which the business assets are considered separate property. This includes intellectual property, business profits, and any other assets directly associated with the business.


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MICROSOFT: TRANSFORMING TODAY, INNOVATING TOMORROW In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, one company has consistently stood at the forefront of innovation, shaping the way we live, work, and connect. As organisations increasingly embrace digital transformation, Microsoft’s suite of modern workplace solutions emerges as a cornerstone for unlocking unparalleled value.

Central to this evolution is Microsoft 365, a comprehensive suite that encompasses intelligent applications and cloud services. The integration of familiar productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with advanced collaboration features empowers teams to work efficiently, irrespective of their physical location. Real-time co-authoring, file sharing, and communication tools streamline workflows, ensuring a connected and responsive work environment. So, are you getting full value from your investment in your current licenses? Ensuring that you are getting the most from your Microsoft 365 investment requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Microsoft 365 is a powerful suite of tools that can significantly enhance productivity and collaboration within your organization. Here are some key considerations to maximize the value of your Microsoft 365 investment: Understanding the Full Suite of Services: Take the time to explore all the applications and services included in Microsoft 365. Beyond the familiar tools like Word, Excel, and Outlook, there are powerful collaboration tools like Teams, cloud storage with OneDrive, and advanced analytics capabilities with Power BI. Training and Adoption: Invest in training and adoption programs to ensure

that your team is proficient in using Microsoft 365 tools. Microsoft provides a wealth of resources, including training modules and documentation Customise Your Deployment: Tailor your Microsoft 365 deployment to align with your organization’s unique requirements. Utilize features like SharePoint for document management and Power Platform for building custom applications. Security and Compliance: Leverage the security features of Microsoft 365 to protect your organization’s data and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Implement features like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and information

governance policies. Optimise Licensing costs: Regularly review your licensing structure to ensure it aligns with your organization’s needs. Microsoft offers various licensing options, and optimizing your licensing can help control costs while providing the necessary features for your users. Monitor Usage and Performance: Utilize monitoring tools and analytics to track usage patterns and performance. This data can provide insights into how your team is utilizing Microsoft 365, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that the platform meets the evolving needs of your organization.

Regular Updates and Feature Adoption: Stay informed about updates and new features introduced by Microsoft. Regularly review and adopt new features that can enhance your organization’s productivity and security. By taking a proactive and strategic approach to your Microsoft 365 deployment, you can maximize the value of your investment, empower your team, and position your organization for success in the digital era. Whether you’re approaching your renewal date, or simply want to get ahead of your licence strategy, get in touch and secure a slot with our experts. www.highlanderuk. com unLTDBUSINESS.COM 19

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HAVING DIFFICULTY PUTTING YOUR HANDS ON THAT REALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION? ‘Now where did I save that file… ?’ It's a question we’ve all probably asked ourselves before, then we rack out brains to work out just where we could have put it!

In the modern dynamic business environment, effective document control is a cornerstone for organisational success. Whether for compliance, quality management, or operational efficiency, document control plays a pivotal role in ensuring that businesses operate smoothly and achieve their objectives. Legal and Compliance: To remain legally compliant you need to retain records, but you can’t be expected to retain this information by memory, nor would it be reliable if tested. Failure to comply with the legal requirements can result in penalties and fines. There aren’t many ‘must have’ ISO documents but the ones that are, are the bedrock of your management system and are tools for you to help improve your business performance. Quality Management: Delivering quality products and services by having clearly prescribed standards of work and checking procedures enables you to control the consistency of your outputs. Poor or inconsistent quality is a major turn off for customers and increases your own costs through having to correct mistakes, not to mention the reputational damage. Risk Mitigation: In the business landscape, risk is inherent. Document control serves as a powerful tool for risk mitigation by

reducing the likelihood of errors, inconsistencies, and miscommunications. By establishing version control, access restrictions, and revision histories, organisations can trace changes made to documents and identify potential risks before they escalate, preventing costly mistakes. Personnel Changes: Organisational knowledge being lost through key people leaving can shatter a business, particularly if the knowledge was largely in their heads and not written down. Written procedures, easy to understand records, and good filing of documentation really can make a huge difference to training new staff.

Operational Efficiency: Efficiency is a key driver of success in any organisation. Document control contributes significantly to operational efficiency by streamlining document workflows and minimising the time spent searching for information. So, what are our tips for good document control? ‘Keep It Simple’, with clear titles in obvious locations. We encourage people to design document systems so that in 3 clicks, you are on the document itself, or you can be 99% confident that you are on the right path to reach the document you are looking for. Reference numbers, dates, authors and

version numbers all help keep things tidy. All businesses evolve over time so keeping documents up to date is vital. Protecting documents is important to prevent them from being altered accidentally. You can do this by applying passwords or storing them on companywide folders with read only access. Good document control is essential as brilliant documents poorly controlled can undo all the great work done in the first place! If you want to know more, get in touch the team at Glade Consulting Services on 0114 398 4123 or email us at info@gladecs.co.uk unLTDBUSINESS.COM 21

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SPECIAL THANKS The success of the 2023 Office Heroes event would not have been possible without the support Glu Recruit received. The judging panel, comprised of industry leaders, played a crucial role in identifying the best of the best among the nominees. The judges for the 2023 Office Heroes were:

Celebrating Excellence Glu Recruit celebrated its sixth Office Heroes event at The Cutler’s Hall, Sheffield, on Friday 8th December. Shortlisted finalists, their nominators, the esteemed judging panel, special guests, and the Glu Recruit team all gathered to celebrate the successes of these individuals. In an afternoon that showcased outstanding contributions and exceptional dedication, Glu Recruit announced the results of their 2023 Office Heroes as follows:



Brett Harris from First Power and Surge Protection Brett Harris, Business Manager at First Power & Surge Protection, was crowned 2023 Office Hero – with no deliberation from the judges! His commitment to excellence, exceptional dedication, and tireless efforts have not only positively impacted his colleagues but have also elevated the business as a whole – after just 20 months in the role.

Chris Ellis at The Montgomery Theatre and Arts Centre Chris Ellis, Venue Manager at The Montgomery Theatre and Arts Centre, was also highly commended for his outstanding work for the theatre, during a time of change and renovation. Chris was recognised for continuously putting everyone’s best interests at the forefront of his mind, putting his team first, and making decisions that best suit his community. Glu Recruit took to their social media channels to announce the results on the day, congratulating those who took home awards and celebrating those who made the final.

2) HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dave Hall at Paces Dave Hall, Fundraising and Communications Manager at Paces, was highly commended for his positive attitude and morale – during a difficult time for charities. Over the years his efforts have led to the success of The Paces Club 300 initiative, which connects businesses in the region, allows them to forge new business relationships, and in turn, raises funds to allow Paces to continue their incredible work.

• Dame Julie Kenny DBE DL • Phil Turner, Managing Director of Meze Publishing and Blind Mice Media • Ray Byrne, CEO of Whyy Change • Hannah Duraid, CEO and Founder of The Great Escape Game Glu Recruit has also offered thanks to: • Marisa Rowding, Managing Director at Identity Merchandise: For providing the exclusive Office Heroes pens – gifted to all finalists. • Andy Taylor Magician: For providing enchanting entertainment that added a magical touch to the evening. • Claire Else, owner of Occasions Hub Limited: For the delightful balloons that adorned the venue, creating a festive and celebratory atmosphere. • Cutler’s Hall Hospitality: For allowing Glu to host the 2023 Office Heroes in their exquisite venue, providing the perfect backdrop for this momentous occasion. • Helene Michaelides, owner of Cuckoo Films: For bringing the nominations to life and capturing them on film. The 2023 Office Heroes event was a celebration of excellence, camaraderie, and the unwavering commitment of individuals who go above and beyond in their roles. Here’s to another year of outstanding achievements and continued success in the workplace! unLTDBUSINESS.COM 23

Celebrating excellence

The unanimous 2023 Office Heroes winner was Brett Harris, the Business Manager at First Power & Surge Protection Ltd, who in just 20 months managed to turn around the fortunes of the business. Nominated by Director Mario Vesuvio, we found out exactly why he put Brett forward for the honour… What makes Brett an office hero? The business was somewhat in disarray following the complexities of Covid, Brexit and other issues. Brett arrived with no knowledge of the industry; he arrived into a toxic atmosphere of change. Within six months the business had been turned around, bringing an incredible work ethic, strong attitude and a ‘can do’ approach to everything. Previously, we had a culture of let’s annoy the customer; now we have a culture of let’s love the customer. He has brought about significant change, stability and now growth. Without Brett, who is also registered disabled, I would have closed the business – this makes him a man amongst men, a go getter! Every lost client has returned, and he is held in very high esteem both with customers and all the team of FPSP Ltd. How would Brett’s colleagues describe them? Fantastic to work with, hardworking, and makes everyone smile. All the team want to work with Brett as he brings fresh 24 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

air, amusement, merriment and encourages a feeling of wellbeing in a previously difficult environment. Tell us about a time when Brett went above and beyond expectations? I was working in New Zealand on a project for three months, and Brett had been in the business for just six months, when a device which was critical for a project in the very north of Scotland, about 50 miles north of Inverness, was short shipped. The devices had to be on site that day – the other units had arrived but one of them was still in the stores due to a packing error. Brett grabbed the unit and did a 750-mile round trip, in 16 hours to deliver it! When he returned, rather than go home, he slept in his car for an urgent meeting in Lancaster the next day – a truly spectacular effort! Never has an employee shown so much commitment! Even if he hadn’t won this award, he would be a hero in my eyes for the dedication he has shown through some very difficult times. How has Brett contributed to making a difference to the team or organisation? Brett has taken FPSP Ltd from a potentially failing as a business into a dedicated, focused team with a future. Without him, I was ready to retire and close, but he has given his teammates long-term employment.



unLTD’s Ash Birch speaks to Mike Kent, managing director and co-founder of Kitlocker.com, a trailblazing Sheffield-based business who have scored huge success providing sportswear and apparel to teams across the UK over the last 18-years… You’ve probably crashed into the New Year on a wave of leftover roast potatoes and beige buffets and the fitness regimes to unclog your overindulged arteries are most likely in full flow. For many of us, that means buying new sportswear, and the likelihood is, a cursory Google peruse will have led you to Kitlocker.com’s e-commerce sportswear website. What you might not realise, as you browsed for a new reflective snood, is that Kitlocker’s gargantuan HQ is based right here in South Yorkshire, in Sheffield’s industrial heartlands, no less. In fact, the company was brought to life right here in Sheffield in 2005, at a time when Fergie was still in charge at Man Utd, Lance Armstrong was yet to be disgraced and Peter Kay was yomping about the top of the charts with Tony Christie. Simpler times. However, it was actually a couple of years prior to 2005 when the initial idea for the business was hit upon, firstly out of the need to submit a business model for a piece of university coursework, and latterly as an alternative to a career in Swedish volleyball! Let us explain… Kitlocker founders Mike Kent and Tom Ward met when they were around 15 years old, when Tom was flogging burned CDs, downloaded from Limewire, to fellow kids on England’s national youth volleyball team camp. “Tom would come to the camps with a big duffel bag full of burned CDs,” explains


Mike. “Some people may not know that reference point, depending on how old you are, but he would be selling CDs of what would have been Oasis or Dido at the time. It’s an interesting anecdote, because I think it showcases his early entrepreneurial instinct.” Not traditionally a sport we, as a nation, succeed in, funding for the volleyball program was pretty sparse. Mike and Tom made do with the facilities on a disused army airbase, which had been reimagined as a training camp where they slept on squash courts and trained three times a day, in order to represent England at Youth Level and travel to other countries to play. As they approached their later teens, they were encouraged to apply to Sheffield Hallam University as it provided a national volleyball team programme that would sit alongside regular studies. Both were accepted and Tom began a fiveyear degree in Engineering, while Mike enrolled on a three-year Sports Business Management course. On arrival in Sheffield, they remained close friends and continued to play volleyball together, before also becoming housemates. In his second year, Mike was tasked with writing a business plan as part of his coursework. In an effort to combine another aspect of his busy student life, he wrote the business plan around his experiences of organising the university


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volleyball team’s kit. “Myself and Tom were heavily involved in organising all things volleyball for the university,” says Mike. “I saw some big failings in the provision of sports apparel. If you were trying to compete for a sports team, trying to kit everybody out was an absolute nightmare. “The industry was really quite cottage. If you’ve got 100 people in a sports team who all want to order kit, at that time you would have to collate all that information, and the cash, for the supplier, who would then have to translate these handwritten notes. It was really just a disgusting process and inevitably, when you got your order back, there are all sorts of problems with it. “The whole crux of the business plan was to take out a lot of the noise and add e-commerce into this space. This is back in 2005, when e-commerce was pretty rudimentary. In this fragmented piece of the marketplace, it was awful, if it existed at all. “But, in the end, it was just a business plan that could be submitted as a passing piece of coursework. It was something I was semi engaged with. It wasn’t too much hard work to do, because it was part and parcel of what we’re

already doing, and after submitting it, it was good to see the back of it. “There was no thought that it was something that I’d take on to do as a business.” Fast forward three quarters of a year, when Mike was coming to the back end of his degree and applying to all sorts of accountancy jobs, while Tom was going into a placement year, where he had been offered the opportunity play professional volleyball in Sweden. Mike adds: “Myself and Tom hadn’t really been discussing any of this since I’d submitted the business plan, but we began toying with the idea of setting the business up and just giving it a go, rather than Tom going off to Sweden and playing volleyball. We decided that giving it

a go was the best route.” They already had good contacts with universities and suppliers, so they embarked on the challenge of building a business that would streamline the process for university sports teams to order their kit online. It’s a simple premise, but what they were trying to achieve, as just two people, proved to be quite an undertaking. Nobody had tried to tackle e-commerce with the amount of customizability and additional manufacturing they were attempting, and Mike admits they were probably quite naïve and full of youthful enthusiasm. “With youthful exuberance, there’s also a big lack of experience,” he explains. “We set out with no clear expectations. We didn’t really have a clear idea of where we wanted to get to, and even now, we don’t have crystal clarity on that, but I think that’s been a contributor to the success because we’ve never put undue pressure on ourselves or had that barometer of success. “It was just myself and Tom, so we didn’t just have the sales part; we were looking at spinning up a manufacturing wing, at how do we cover dispatch? How do we cover e-commerce? There was that much


going on, we didn’t overly scrutinise success.” Undeterred by certain suppliers telling them that the business wouldn’t work, and the fact that they didn’t have premises and were operating out of their volleyball coach’s attic, they just got out into the world and started to sell. There were, however, challenges to overcome at that stage. Mike told us: “We bought from eBay what we thought was an embroidery machine, but which turned out to be a glorified sewing machine. We spent about three days stitching one logo and, in the end, listed it back on eBay and made more money from that than the order. “We realised that wasn’t the way forward, so we began to outsource our print and embroidery work, which we’ve subsequently brought back in house. “We didn’t do too bad in the early days, but it probably took us 8–10 years to get to a critical point where we were really scaling up. We probably doubled the business as we went, but we were never fixated on that performance, as daft as it sounds. We were much more focused on making sure we delivered good customer service. “In hindsight, there’s definitely stuff we could have done better, but actually, I think we learned an awful lot that’s helped to shape the business.” After leaving the attic, the business has moved location within Sheffield seven times, including the upstairs floors of a house in Stannington, an old takeaway in Kelham, the building that now houses Ryan Rhodes’ gym on Shalesmoor, and more recently as neighbours to popular street food market, Peddler. They’ve seen what they describe as a hockey stick trajectory, characterized by a sharp increase after a relatively flat and quiet period, which kicked in around the ten-year mark. “After the house in Stannington, we took a small unit just around the corner from the EIS,” says Mike. “It was 800 square feet, so the embroidery machines came in, and that was probably the tipping point where it really felt set up.” Since then, as well as the various premises moves, there have been significant milestones along the way that help chart the success of the business. “Early on, we needed supplies. There were no real UK sportswear 30 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

manufacturers at the time, so we had to look a bit further afield. We picked up a couple of Italian suppliers in Errea and Macron, who do a lot in football in the UK, but they have a big multi-sport catalogue. “We had a meeting at a hotel on the M1. These 60 plus years old guys from Errea came across from Italy to see these young guys from Sheffield. One of them, Fabrizio, took a shine to us and said, ‘I see something in these guys, let’s sign them up’, and that helped us get up and running. “We did some really good work with Errea, particularly early on, but the big turning point was when Nike actually engaged with us, maybe around six or seven years in, simply because they really liked what we were doing from an e-commerce standpoint. “They saw e-commerce in the grassroots sports space as hugely important and no one else was doing it. At the time, because we didn’t have a traditional storefront, we were precluded from selling the likes of Nike and Adidas, which is

bizarre looking at it now, but this was 2010. “That was hugely significant for us, because as soon as Nike came on board, it was a catalyst for building big relationships with some really quite punch universities, like Oxford and Glasgow, as well as from a profile point of view. “Nike now restrict their distribution, so, nowadays, it means even more to be part of a select amount of accounts worldwide that have access to Nike product. “Through the deployment of our e-commerce into different relationships that Nike already had, we started to work with the FA, The Premier League, and lots of their football clubs. It threw up some really weird and wonderful relationships and projects, so that was a huge turning point. “Working as a halo site for Nike, using e-commerce in this way had never been done before, that’s not to make it sound overly grand – no one had been stupid enough to do it!” Those relationships and others continue to this day, and as we

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Applications for the increased CTA and ATT Qualifications • Aged 16 to 18 or paying employers can utilise incentive payment for hiring a are covered for the incentive • Under 25 with an education, their levy pots. new apprentice are now open. health, and care plan or who Applications for the increased payment. The team at First Intuition tell If you are looking to recruit an has been in the care of their incentive payment for hiring a unLTD readers more. apprentice into your Finance local authority. new apprentice are now open. Following the Chancellor of Team, then we can help. Level 2, 3, 4 and 7 the Exchequer’s announcement Apprentices will have an Contact Sheffield@fi.co.uk Apprenticeship schemes for in April, employers will for more info. additional two months after the the AAT, ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW, receive £3,000 for eligible deadline of 30 September 2021 apprentices of any age who start (until 30 November 2021) to The Accountancy Employers Guide employment from 1 April 2021 start their training programme Trainees and new staff need as much support as possible to to 30Construction September 2021. – this is&toSocial allow for probationary Commercial & Executive Industrial & Engineering Health Care ease them into work over the next year. You can apply for incentive periods and sign-up processes The Accountancy Employers Guide provides links to relevant payments for these apprentices to occur. resources on trainee recruitment, onboarding, pre-start from 1 June 2021 to 30 Furthermore, employers resources, employability skills, apprenticeship incentives, November 2021. also receive a National employer events, and hot topics. Temporary & will Permanent HR & payroll Insurance exemption if the Contract SearchThe Accountancy Employers Guide is now available The incentive payment isStaff apprentice is aged under 25 in addition to the £1,000 and a 95 per cent subsidy of the to access for free at www.firstintuition.co.uk/fihub/ employers already receive for training costs (if not paying via accountancy-employers-guide/ hiring an apprentice: the apprenticeship levy). Levy

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speak sitting in the break room, Mike and I are surrounded by mountains of cardboard boxes that are part of a Premier League project they are currently working on (unbelievably, due to their exponential growth, they are already running out of room in this mammoth space!) They moved into the Stevenson Way space four or five years ago, and they now employ 125 people from the local area. Their position in Sheffield has meant that they have always fostered a strong commitment to getting the most talented people in from the local area, and still hold strong connections with the local universities, particularly Hallam, with 60 per cent of their current senior management team being made up of Sheffield Hallam alumni, who predominately came through placement programmes. “We trade very much nationally, so we’ve sometimes been switched off to that local piece, but from an employability standpoint,

we’ve always engaged with the universities to bring people in on graduate programmes. “However, The University of Sheffield was our first real contract. Andy Cox, who is the Director of Sport, saw something in the business and thought you guys are good guys, what’s the worst that could happen? “You wouldn’t get away with it now because of procurement, but it’s interesting because, coming from Hallam, we’d always had a sort of sporting rivalry with Sheff Uni, so we used to hide that we were Hallam graduates.” As physically manifested by the Attercliffe unit, they’ve come a very long way in 18-years, and while the business is still Mike and Tom’s business, they’ve naturally stepped into different leadership roles, with Mike taking on more of a Managing Director position, overseeing the business as a whole, while Tom’s skillset and entrepreneurial mindset has naturally led him to be more focused on building new

relationships and creating new opportunities for the business, as well as focusing on procurement and purchasing. Mike said: “It’s still very much a collaborative effort – through thick and thin, I think. “There’s a complimentary element to the way we both work. People told us that going into a 50/50 partnership was a bad idea, and it hasn’t been plain sailing, but we’ve been fortunate to avoid any huge catastrophes that could have tested the relationship. Touch wood, that continues. “The business is like night and day from where it was, but at its heart, it’s still trying to do what it always set out to do – that’s providing sports kit in a super streamlined fashion. The principle has always been using e-commerce to supply product, but every other aspect of the business is radically different.” For the first time, the last six months has seen the senior management team compile a coherent strategy. Mike explains: “We’ve made a conscious decision to grow up as a business. Our strategy will see us round this year off around £20m and over the next three years, we think we’ll double the business again. “We’ve seen where the opportunities sit, and we’ve become a bit more intent driven. It’s probably seen as doing the stuff that’s a bit more boring, but it’s adding a lot more structure. There’s still an entrepreneurial aspect to the business, even if we are a little bit more selective. The business outlook is really quite positive. “As a business, we’ve done some really cool things, and I put that down to the cool people working in the business. We don’t attract d**kheads, and I feel that’s a measure of cultural success.”


Shakespeare Martineau

MUCH ADO ABOUT SOUTH YORKSHIRE unLTD’s Ash Birch sat down with Kerry Russell, Carys Thompson and Ryan Fitzpatrick, partners at full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau, to talk about their ambitious plans in South Yorkshire, why they love working in the area, and the firm’s inclusive and ethical culture…


While Shakespeare Martineau’s sister brand and consumer law specialists, Lime Solicitors, has been operating in Sheffield for around ten years, it wasn’t until intellectual property law expert, Kerry Russell, relocated to Doncaster in 2021, that the commercial law wing of Shakespeare Martineau had a presence in the region. Historically, Lime Solicitors had been a division of Shakespeare Martineau, but a wider restructure meant that the two entities now sit side by side under the house of brands, Ampa Group, and they currently share an office space in Sheffield’s Omega Court, which is where we meet for today’s reflections on the last couple of years since Kerry’s move. Kerry trained with Shakespeare Martineau and has been with the firm for over 13 years, working initially out of the Leicester office, before moving to their Birmingham head office. When she took the big decision to uproot her life around the time of the Covid lockdowns, she quickly saw the opportunities for the firm in her new home. Kerry said: “When I moved my main base to Sheffield, we started to look at the market and to see who else is around here, what kind of legal services people in South Yorkshire need, and we got quite excited about it. “We quickly recruited Carys (Thompson), a commercial lawyer who works in my team and is now the head of the Sheffield office, as well as Ryan (Fitzpatrick) a corporate lawyer who deals with mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, private equity and healthcare transactions, and Catherine Rustomji, who does charities governance work. “The firm is really invested in Sheffield – an area in which we see a lot of potential – and we’re continuing to grow through our recruitment.” Over the last couple of years, the team’s main aim has been to get involved locally wherever possible. By spending time supporting the Master Cutler’s Challenge, sponsoring Sheffield Digital, providing free drop ins at Sheffield Technology Park, providing legal clinics through Business Sheffield, giving seminars at the AMRC and organising Curry Clubs through the firm, they have successfully embedded themselves within the community and raised awareness of the brand in Sheffield. “There’s a vibe about Sheffield,” says Kerry. “A lot of people are willing to travel here and have meetings or go to events in the city. “As a firm, we are really successful in the locations we want to be in. For example, in Birmingham, Shakespeare Martineau is a really well-known brand, and we want to replicate that in Sheffield. “We now have a really solid investment plan and a lot of people have bought into the idea of having a strong Yorkshire presence.” That investment plan will be heavily centred around recruitment, and they see no reason why their current team of seven won’t have at least doubled by the end of this year.

AS A FIRM, WE ARE REALLY GOOD AT RECOGNISING THAT WE’RE NOTHING WITHOUT THE PEOPLE THAT WORK HERE, AND IT’S ALL ABOUT GETTING THE RIGHT FIT OF PEOPLE, WHO MATCH OUR VALUES “Our ambition is to become full service within Sheffield,” explains Carys. “A big part of that is recruitment and we are talking to people in other practice areas to complement what we’ve already got. “People in Sheffield want to be instructed by somebody who is well regarded in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, so our main focus will be on recruiting people who are already practising in this area, and that want to join us.” Ryan added: “We’ll also be working closely with the two excellent universities. We’re happy to do seminars and presentations to the students to explain our core values and beliefs, and I think that will be very appealing to them. Kerry continued: “As a firm, we are really good at recognising that we’re nothing without the people that work here, and it’s all about getting the right fit of people, who match our values.” Diversity and inclusivity are extremely important to the brand as an employer. These values are fundamentally important to Kerry, who, when working in the Birmingham office in 2017, set up More in Common, a diversity and inclusivity group that acts as an internal network for supporting diversity and inclusivity and underpins many of the firm’s values. “My whole ethos with More in Common was to let our people know that we want you for who you uniquely are. You don’t need to look like a lawyer. You don’t need to act like everybody else expects you to act. You will do your best work if you are completely yourself. “We took that idea and ran with it and it’s now massive within the firm. I think it’s been one of our biggest strengths. “The reason I started More in Common was because of an experience I had when I briefly left Shakespeare Martineau for another firm. This other firm had loads of awards for diversity, but when I went there, I had to explain to one of the senior partners how I could be married, but not to a man. “I just thought that there’s no point in having awards if your day to day experience of that job is that you have to explain to somebody what


Shakespeare Martineau

it means to be gay. More in Common was about making sure that we celebrate differences and educate each other about what is important to our identity. “That might be teaching people about celebrations during Ramadan or learning about what it means if you’re transitioning gender, or what it means if you’ve got a disability. We really encourage people to share stories and to bring their “whole self” to the firm every day “These types of conversations are becoming more prevalent in workplaces nowadays, but we were ahead of the curve back in 2017. It means that we’ve already recruited and retained so many great people from diverse backgrounds, and that it something as a firm we are really proud of. “It’s made the world of difference to the firm, but it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t supported from the top. When our current 36 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

CEO first joined, I got a call from her PA saying Sarah (Walker-Smith) wants to come and meet up with me and talk about More in Common. It was only Sarah’s second day in the office and one of the first things she wanted to do was to talk to me about how she could support what we were doing.” Carys added: “The message we’re trying to get across is that while we are new to Sheffield, we’re not a new firm and we’re not the same as every other firm. “When it comes to recruitment, we’re looking for the right people. We want to work with people who share the same values.” Another thing that sets the firm apart is their B Corp certification, a designation that means the business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to sustainable supply chain

practices and input materials. Ryan said: “To achieve B Corp status, you are required to have the highest client service standards and to consider the impact of business decisions on our people, communities and the environment; ensuring that good business can be both purposeful and profitable. We want our clients to be assured that we not only provide outstanding service and advice, but that we do it responsibly, which distinguishes us from the competition. “The other feedback that we’ve had from clients is that we’re competitive on our prices, so you’re getting the same expertise that you would expect from a national law firm but we’re flexible on the cost and sensitive to the local market.” “That comes from years of advising businesses based in Sheffield and throughout South Yorkshire.” Carys and Ryan have lots of experience working

in Sheffield, but for Kerry, moving to the region has changed her career trajectory in ways she couldn’t have imagined. One industry she particularly loves working with is Sheffield’s burgeoning tech start-up market, a feeling that both Carys and Ryan share, leading them to set the aim of becoming the go to legal firm for Sheffield’s tech and digital community. Kerry said: “Sheffield is very supportive of its tech industry; in ways that are not always replicated in other cities in the UK. “For me, there’s a big difference between working in Birmingham and working in Sheffield. I liked working in Birmingham, but I really love working in Sheffield. It’s a little bit more face to face. A little bit friendlier, and it has got that kind of village feel to it, whereby even though it’s a big place, it feels smaller because you have a really supportive community.”

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The BiG Challenge

The BiG Challenge The BiG Challenge recently revealed the winners of their Interim Marketing Awards, which included our very own award for The Best Ad, as judged by unLTD Director Phil Turner and magazine designer Marc Barker. The annual enterprise competition, open to Y7-Y9 students and facilitated through Sheffield City Council’s See It Be It in Sheffield Team, allows students from participating schools to form their own teams and receive a start-up loan of £25 to design and develop their business. In addition to their teachers and home support networks, teams are mentored by volunteer Business Advisers from the Sheffield business community. The programme runs from September until February, during which selling opportunities at the Moor Market are offered to the teams and culminates in teams reflecting on their experience by completing a BiG Challenge Journal. In addition to keeping any profits they make, teams are also competing to win a number of awards, sponsored by local businesses covering a range of categories including innovation, use of technology, visual media, and sustainability. This year, unLTD sponsored the ‘Best Ad’ award and from a field of five, unLTD’s Phil Turner and Marc Barker selected the two below ads as the winning entries. Paws and Pals from Sheffield High School were selected for their ‘Great design and use of illustrations, which gives the brand a soft, welcoming feel’, and Coasters and Co from Newfield, for their ad’s ‘great logo and use of font and colour scheme.’ 38 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

The two winning teams were joined by VIPs and other winning teams at Theatre Deli Sheffield on Wednesday 6th December for an awards presentation, which also included the categories: Andy Hanselman Consulting Award for Best Sales Pitch Winners • Flickering flame from High Storrs School • My Furry Friend and Me from Yewlands Academy • Torched Views from Holgate Meadows Community School Cavendish Cancer Care Award for Best Community Engagement Winners • Magpies from High Storrs School • Paws and Pals from Sheffield High School The Smart Station Award for Best Branding Winners • Jar It from Sheffield High School • The tool box from UTC Sheffield City Centre



unLTD sits down in the beautiful surrounds of the award-winning Neespend venue for a lunchtime feast with the building’s co-owner Sally Hubbard and head of house Lucy Hughes. Over some stunning food provided by The Mowbray's kitchen team, the duo discussed what goes into creating vibrant event spaces in Sheffield’s industrial heartland.

Let’s start at the start. How long has The Mowbray been open for? SH: We opened in 2018, so we’re now coming up to our sixth anniversary. Time flies! You have a sister venue, The Chimney House, which was the first building of yours to host events. How did that pave the way for The Mowbray? SH: It laid the foundation really. The Chimney House grew quite organically. The building was bought during the financial crash in 2010 and housed the design agency 93ft, who are now based upstairs at The Mowbray. We could see that the main room had potential as an events space, so it started by hosting corporate events, meetings, training, away days, etc. We then introduced catering, started hosting a variety of gatherings, and things grew from there. Before too long we began looking for a second building to branch out into. What was it about this building that made it stand out? SH: Even though it was a derelict building at the time, which eventually took three years to restore, we looked at the huge factory doors, beautiful big arch windows at the front and back, the open ground floor space too, and we were sold – you knew there was huge potential. The first few weddings we hosted after opening are amongst some of my favourite memories, and we’ve had many couples that have been married here that have continued to use The Mowbray – for christenings, parties, 40 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

corporate events, or to come along to our Supper Clubs. I think that sort of relationship quite unique for a wedding venue and something that we’re really proud of. LH: People want to come and experience it all again – especially the food! We’ve recently finalised our upcoming events list up until the end of March and there’s plenty in the pipeline. We like to keep busy! On that note, you mentioned the Supper Clubs, which have become a real social highlight on the city’s culinary scene. Could you tell us a bit about the ethos behind those? SH: We do all sorts of Supper Clubs and regular house events, such as our very popular Italian Canteen and summer social BBQs on the terrace. It gives the kitchen a good creative flex and helps them to explore different menus and styles. In terms of ethos, the main thing is the food is seasonal and provenance-led, so we know the story behind its origins, how it was produced, and the journey it has taken to get to us. That’s nonnegotiable. What is it about the space that lends itself so well to these types of social occasions? SH: I think a big thing for our Supper Clubs, and all of our food events, is that we serve feasts rather than individual plates. From the long dining tables to the way the food is laid out, we’re creating a communal setting to enjoy food socially. It’s all about passing and sharing, savouring and discussing

the food with those around you. That’s one of the most commentedon subjects in the feedback we get from weddings or any other dining event: the way in which the food brings people together and blows them away. Did it begin as a wedding events venue and then diversify? Or was the idea to always host a wide range of events? SH: I think we’ve always had a bit of an open house policy on the business, so whatever people want to use the space for, we’ll try and accommodate. LH: Chimney House was sort of the basis for that, and then opening The Mowbray has allowed us to scale up in that respect. We use The Chimney House for shoots, photography, filming, corporate events, and of course weddings. The Mowbray has hosted all manner of events – everything from car launches to yoga retreats. Working with local suppliers is a key aspect of what we do, so we also host independent markets showcasing local makers. Excitingly, we have a third venue on the way! What can you tell us about The Victoria? SH: Yes, hugely exciting! The Victoria, formerly Victoria Works, is based just around the back of The Mowbray. Part of it was used as a church, which will give us a bigger space for hosting wedding ceremonies on a larger scale, and it’s currently being renovated with the hope of being open at some point this year. It’s another big ➢



➢space with plenty of character, boasting a large outdoor area too, and we’ll have our flagship kitchen space there. It’s already receiving plenty of interest, but it’s a big job and we want to get the fundamentals in place before opening for viewings and bookings. There’s a distinct aesthetic and feel to all of the venues. In terms of buildings themselves, what sort of things are you looking to be in place before you take on a renovation project? LH: It’s about bringing the life back to buildings that have fallen out of use, and you’ll see at The Mowbray that it’s bustling away 24/7. SH: Yes, it’s all about the building. How does it make us feel? How does it look? What’s the story? We like to take on buildings in a dilapidated state because we believe in rebuilding and reclaiming these unused spaces, bringing people back into these places and making them feel great. Everything we bring into these buildings has a story, from the chairs reclaimed from a town hall in the 1940s to the chandelier using bricks from an old bus depot. The future potential of the spaces has to be evident, and that’s where my husband Tim comes in. He’s the founder and creative director of 93ft design agency and he’s able to see the potential of these spaces and convert them into something we can work with. Being able to take something that has fallen in wrack and ruin and turning into something that drives people through the doors all year round gives us a huge sense of purpose. For booking enquiries and upcoming events, head to www.themowbray.co.uk. 42 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

The Mowbray impressed the judges enough to win Best Micro Business at last year’s unLTD Business Awards – and judging on the standard of the food we sampled during this interview, they were more than worthy of the accolade. While we got settled into our chat, we were furnished with fragrant, crunchy sea salt and rosemary focaccia, freshly baked on-site that day in the Mowbray kitchen, paired with oil and vinegar for dipping. The main course featured a succulent roast chicken finished with butter, served atop a bed of lemon-scented orzo pasta. The chicken, cooked to tender perfection, was rich and plentiful, accompanied by the slightly zesty orzo providing a refreshing and satisfying complement. Alongside the centre-piece were two sides that brought plenty of vibrancy to the ensemble. The radicchio with orange, chili, olive oil and Parmesan was a delightful medley of sweet, spicy and savoury. The second side consisting of grilled cabbage, hazelnuts, lemon, and chives offered another of winning blend of textures and flavours, ranging from smoky and nutty to bright and citrusy. In keeping with the venue’s ethos, our meal was a communal dining experience. The food was placed on gorgeous vintage ceramics and we were encouraged to dig in, filling our plates and taking it in turns to pass dishes amongst each other. Even on a small-scale setting such as a business lunch, it’s an incredibly wholesome way of enjoying a meal. It instantly promotes a convivial atmosphere and a deeper mutual appreciation for the food being shared. As if our mini-feast couldn’t get any better, slices of warm custard tart and rhubarb were brought to the table for pudding. The unbeatable unison of velvety richness and tantalising tartness brought the animated chatter to a rare pause, as we all took some quiet time to appreciate surely one of the finest gastronomic duets ever committed to a dessert menu. They took the final bow on a culinary symphony that hit all the right notes. Our first business lunch of the year complete, we were left wondering if we might’ve already peaked! We cannot wait to see what The Mowbray team have up their sleeves for the remainder of 2024.


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An in-depth 2016 report which pronounced Sheffield as the best city in the world for beer is currently undergoing a comprehensive update, ready for a fresh unveiling at the 2024 instalment of Sheffield Beer Week. Renowned beer writer Pete Brown, hailing from Barnsley and a recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his work, has resumes his role as the report’s author. He took the time to have a quick chat with unLTD last month about the city’s thriving beer scene and what goes into pulling together a report of this nature. Hi Pete, thanks for talking with us. Eight years after your first report on the Sheffield beer scene, what are you expecting to find this time around? I’m hoping a lot of it stayed the same! Obviously, the last report was a hugely positive thing for the city to use in a tourism sense and the beer scene remains a key reason for people to come and visit Sheffield. As you said, the data is eight years out now, so it’ll be good to update it. I’m anticipating that Sheffield will still be really strong in terms of concentration of breweries, the vibrancy of the beer scene and how many good beers you can get on the bar at any given time. In terms of change, I suppose the whole industry across the country has been through difficult times. We’ve definitely got to the end of the craft beer boom, whatever that was, and there’s no reason to suspect that Sheffield would be immune to that. We’ve definitely had some closures, but at the moment, I think, it’s looking like there have been more openings than closures as a whole, which is great. Another thing from a Sheffield point of view. There was previously a slight criticism that while there was plenty of great breweries


doing great beer, they were often in a fairly narrow set of styles. But I think that’s changed quite a lot, and you’re now getting much greater diversity in the city. You still get your Pale Rider-style 4% session pale ales on cask, but there’s much more out there too.

then go a bit deeper, do a number of in-depth interviews with people from the industry, and we’ll also take a broader look at the business trends in the city, the regeneration going on in certain areas of Sheffield, Kelham Island for example, and how that could be linked to the beer industry. You can often make the case that opening a good craft brewery or pub in an area can be a step towards regeneration. That’s just a small taste of what we’ve doing.

To pick you up on the point you made about us moving past the craft beer boom. Could you explain that in a bit more detail? So, there were seeing a lot of new brewery openings happening each Has anything specifically impressed year and that started to decrease, you about Sheffield so far? followed by an increased number What I love about Sheffield’s beer of closures. Journalists are often scene is how many small-scale very keen to point towards ‘the operations are producing great end’ of something, and a lot of stuff. Sometimes, it’s just one or two people claimed it was down to an people going for it. It links back to the over-saturated market. I don’t think industrial tradition of the city’s little it’s that. There’s a lot of proof that mesters in the small workshops. there’s plenty more scope out there Another thing that sets the city for growth in terms of the number apart is just the number of great of people who want to drink breweries and great pubs that interesting, well-made beer. combine to sell an amazing range of For me, it’s more about how local beers. I’m looking forward to tough the market conditions are. delving into that even further! The price of practically everything a brewer needs has soared: energy, The report will be launched at the grain, aluminium, basic cardboard next Sheffield Beer Week, taking packaging. You name it, it’s gone place from 4–10 March 2024. up in price. Add the cost of living crisis facing THE 2016 SHEFFIELD BEER consumers and there’s no CITY REPORT FOUND THAT: surprise there have been • The Sheffield city region could claim the closures. title of birthplace of the UK craft beer revolution. Logistically, how do you • Sheffield had one brewery for every 23,991 pull something like this people – 4.7 times more brewers per capita report together? Basically, than Greater London. what have you been up • On a typical day 400 different unique to? beers were available in the city’s pubs. A lot of different things! • The city region’s breweries turn out over It’s about doing some 1,000 different beers each year. good research and getting • As well as the report, in 2024 there’ll also input from every brewery be a series of podcasts and other online in South Yorkshire. We materials that will dive deeper into some of the issues explored in the report.



THE BIG SELL Benchmark MD Becca Morris explains how businesses can make the most out of their recruitment in 2024… I’ll be honest with you, moving into 2023 I was concerned about how things were looking for the recruitment sector. There was a lot of talk in the press about redundancies across various sectors and we saw the closure of some big household names. Considering that, I suppose it’s only natural that there was a bit of apprehension in the air. However, the reality is – we adapt. The South Yorkshire business community has certainly


done this, and every single month last year we continued to place candidates with ideal roles in a wide range of industries. So, in a nutshell: we’re busy, and we expect to remain busy! In fact, we feel that 2024 is going to see even further growth and opportunity as companies finally emerge from the long shadow cast by the pandemic. So Here’s a Top Tip for Employers: Sell Yourselves! Looking ahead, it’s important for employers to

recognise that candidates are increasingly conscious about who they work for in both an ethical sense and in terms of flexibility offered (think of the rise of people working from home for example). It’s on businesses to be clear about what they stand for and how they look after their staff. Of course, there are limits to what can and can’t be offered and a lot of that is tied to the nature of the work and the industry in question. But all businesses should be able to ask themselves the following question: are we doing enough to attract good, committed people who will want to invest themselves in what we do? Not everyone can offer remote working – but what are your policies on things like paid leave, pensions, performance incentives, personal development, and health & wellbeing support?

These are key markers that will allow you to attract the best talent out there. There are also more wideranging questions about the aims and underpinning values of the company to consider. Who are you and what do you do? Where are you heading? Reflecting on what it is about your business that sets it apart from others in the sector will help you to stand out to candidates. To summarise, the jobs market in 2024 continues to be fiercely competitive. In this environment, candidates have no shortage of options, emphasising the importance for employers to reflect on their offer and showcase incentives. It’s your business – sell it! Contact Benchmark for bespoke, efficient and dedicated recruitment service



Help raise money for Sheffield Children’s by sporting your favourite pyjamas, slippers, or onesie for a whole day! Find out more and sign-up on our website tchc.org.uk/pyjamas


WHY IS DATA MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT? Swimming in a sea of data? Effective data management can be your life vest. But first, you need to navigate the murky waters: where’s your data, who’s using it, and how can you harness its power? Our Data Intelligence expert here at Simoda, Tim Latham provides a guide to effective data management for your business and what challenges it can help solve. BY CHARLIE MCCORMACK AND TIM LATHAM What is data management?

becomes more important due to the volume and variety of data being generated.

Data management is the systematic practice of collecting, organising and maintaining data to facilitate productivity, efficiency, and informed decisionmaking. Organisations are generating and consuming data at unprecedented rates and having a good data management process ensures that this data is easy to access, readily available and accurate.

Types of data management • Data management fulfils various roles within an organisation’s data environment, streamlining essential functions and reducing the time required for these critical processes. Key data management techniques include the following: • Data security safeguards data from unauthorised access or modification, using measures like encryption and anonymisation. It ensures data integrity and confidentiality. • Data warehouses store vast data volumes from various sources, aiding easy access, analysis, and interpretation. They serve as central repositories, consolidating diverse data for streamlined analysis. • Data governance establishes standards, processes, and policies ensuring data security 48 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

and integrity. It formulates rules for data use, playing a crucial role in compliance with data privacy regulations. • A data pipeline is an automated system that efficiently transfers and processes data between sources and storage, enabling functions such as data cleansing, integration, and real-time event processing. • ETL extracts, transforms, and loads data from diverse sources into a target system, streamlining data movement and transformation for enhanced organisational insights. • Data modelling documents data flow in an application or organisation, creating models to represent data

sets and relationships. This enhances data professionals’ comprehension of the data structure for effective analysis and reporting. • Data Preparation is used to cleanse and reshape raw data, ensuring it is in the appropriate format for analysis. This process includes making corrections and merging data sets as necessary. Bottom of Form

Why is it important? Your data can be a great asset to your business if used correctly. When stored and managed well, you can make data-driven decisions, refine marketing efforts and optimise your operations. Also, data management is key as regulatory compliance

Some of the benefits of having a robust data management solution include, but not limited to: • Data-backed decisions, enabling your business to make quicker and more informed business decisions. • Time saving, being able to quickly access, analyse and act upon data. • Minimise errors by establishing processes and enable yourself to respond effectively to your customers’ needs with upto-date data. • Regulatory Compliance and Security by safeguarding against legal issues and protecting your organisation from data losses, thefts and breaches. At Simoda, we work with businesses that are all facing different issues when it comes to data management. It is only going to become more important for businesses moving forward, but before looking at data management solutions, it is important to identify what challenges you are facing so an expert can find the right solution for you.

To speak to our data management team about how to make the most out of your data, email: info@ simoda.co.uk or call: 0114 553 3600. www.simoda. co.uk


SHEFFIELD CROWNED ‘FOODIE CAPITAL OF UK’ Hospitality company Accor have curated an exhaustive list of the best foodie locations in the UK (outside of London) scoring each one out of 100 based on Google reviews, Michelin guide ratings, social data and sentiment. And what d’ya know? Sheffield comes out on top with a whopping 99/100! Accor’s website explains: “Our data crowns Sheffield as the foodie capital of the UK after achieving a weighted score of 99.“This city distinguishes itself as a hub for food festivals and markets. Following a thorough evaluation of Google reviews and social media engagement, Sheffield garnered an impressive score 50 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

of 99 for its food festivals and a solid 71 for its food markets. “Additionally, securing a place among the top three sought-after destinations for food tourism, this city, boasting a foodies’ population score of 54, can rightfully be dubbed a paradise for food lovers.” With four Michelin Guide listed venues, the Steel City beat off competition from Edinburgh (2nd with 86) and Newcastle (3rd with 77). This new accolade comes after Time Out named Sheffield one of the best places in Europe for a city break earlier in the year and, after banging Sheffield’s drum for 20-odd years now, it feels a bit like everyone else is catching up.


James Coughlan Fresh off the back of winning Best Business Start-Up at the unLTD Awards, we caught up with James Coughlan, founder and CEO of Reef – an app that is changing the meaning of remote working.

Hi James. Can you tell us about how you came up with the idea behind Reef and how you got started? It was 2019 and I was fed up with working in your big coffee chains. They were always noisy, always busy and you could never find a plug socket. I was sure there was an easier way to find quieter laptop-friendly spaces, but other than going on Google Maps, there was nothing. We teamed up with a development agency in January 2020. It wasn’t the best time because a couple of months later, Covid hit. But instead of launching, we did a lot of research around employee wellbeing, as people were working from home. We found people were burning out because they didn’t know how to separate their personal and work lives. They were feeling isolated, so we thought how do we help these people get back out there again? We launched in May 2022, with about 20 venues and 50 users. Now, we’ve got well over 2000 venues across the UK and over 10,000 downloads. So it’s kept us busy! How does the app work? We’ve got two types of users. One is the venues, the other is the company or employees. From the hospitality side of things, it’s completely free to sign 52 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

up. One of our missions is to help the industry – a lot of them are still struggling after Covid, so we aim to help by giving them a free listing on our app. From our user’s perspective, once you sign up you get access to all of these spaces and you can book as many as you want. About 85% give out a free hot drink when you book through Reef as well. Others give out discounts on food, and some offer discounts on booking meeting rooms. One even gives a free half-day spa access every six months, so there are loads of benefits of booking through us. Aside from navigating the Pandemic, have there been any challenges you’ve faced? The investment journey has been a learning curve. It’s a lot more work, time and effort to put in place than I had thought without having done it before. You have to know the right people as well. It’s like a full-time role on its own. What does the future look like for Reef? You can add friends/ colleagues on the app already, but we’re building a new feature where you will be able to see where your friends/colleagues are booked in, so you can book in and work with them. We’re also expanding in

Left to right: Beckie, Head of commercial. James, Founder and CEO. Si, head of venues


January, moving into the US, South Africa, The Philippines, New Zealand and Europe. In the next few years, we’d like to hit Australia, Dubai, China and Japan. We want to be the Uber/AirBnB equivalent of finding places to work remotely! What has it been like, going from a new start-up to now an award-winning business? It’s a very nice feeling. I made a few mistakes, but it’s all about learning. I realised learning from mistakes quickly helps a lot, and saves a lot of money! Starting to win awards and seeing that other people can see where we’re going is very nice. I think the hardest thing is just going for it. The worst that’s going to happen is you’re going to fail, but many people who have made it fail in their initial projects. Once you’ve taken that leap, it will be the best decision you’ve made.

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SOUTH YORKSHIRE REQUIRES MORE INVESTMENT IN TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE, REPORT FINDS... Recent findings from the South Yorkshire Infrastructure Survey revealed while business conditions across the region are improving in areas such as cash flow, sales, and overseas exports, organisations are continuing to face significant inflationary pressures, with many forecasting an imminent rise in the costs of their goods and services. Conducted by the Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley & Rotherham Chambers of Commerce, the questionnaire ran between November and December 2023 and was used to gauge the views of local business owners on a range of different issues, with a focus on transport infrastructure. It solicited respondents’

opinions on the quality of South Yorkshire’s roads, railway networks and public transportation services, as well as the challenges that they face in relation to each. Feeding into the nationwide Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), it also asked respondents their views on the overall state of our economy, their experiences with staff recruitment and retention and whether their investment plans for the future have changed in recent months. Reacting to the findings, the respective Chief Execs for all three South Yorkshire Chambers collectively said: “While none of our results are especially surprising, given the current macroeconomic climate and the assorted headwinds that

ON THE SUBJECT OF SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE, THE MAJORITY OF ORGANISATIONS REPORTED THAT THEY ARE FACING REGULAR DELAYS ON THE ROADS businesses are contending with, they are nevertheless incredibly revealing. “These findings are in line with the national trends being observed by our umbrella body, The British Chambers of Commerce

right now. As such, we are echoing their call for a long-term plan for growth from the Government and are urging politicians to remain focused on growing the economy and helping businesses thrive, as they head into a noisy election year. “On the subject of South Yorkshire’s transport infrastructure, the majority of organisations reported that they are facing regular delays on the roads, while over a third of them also pointed out similar problems with our rail networks and our public transportation services. “These issues are leading to increased travel costs, restricted access to prospective employees and even the loss of business opportunities.”


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TAYLOR EMMET ENHANCES EXPERT HR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW SUPPORT SERVICE FOR BUSINESSES Leading South Yorkshire-based law firm, Taylor Emmet, has enhanced their comprehensive Employment Law subscription service to provide businesses with a more bespoke approach to managing HR issues. Whether a business already has in-house HR or is looking to outsource its HR function, ‘TE Assist’ offers a range of services to ensure compliance with everchanging employment laws, whilst offering guidance on how to implement and manage these changes and minimise risks. With TE Assist, businesses can access fully qualified Employment Lawyers and senior CIPD-qualified HR professionals who can offer guidance through various HR challenges. From urgent support to staying updated on forthcoming changes in employment law, TE Assist provides valuable assistance. The service includes an initial review of employment documents, provision of two employment contracts, and a Staff Handbook containing up to 20 HR policies. It also provides verbal or written advice and assistance, along with quarterly review meetings. TE Assist subscribers can benefit from discounted access to legal services. This includes a 15% discount on employment law issues that fall outside the scope of TE Assist, such as employment tribunal claims and settlement agreements. Additionally, subscribers can receive a 10% discount on other services offered by Taylor Emmet’s wider Business Legal Services department. TE Assist starts from as little as £250 per month, with the flexibility of monthly payments to avoid large upfront costs. Head of Employment Law, Matthew Ainscough commented: “We are thrilled with the enhanced version of TE Assist. It supports our ongoing commitment to providing industry-leading legal

services to businesses of all sizes. TE Assist is another testament to our dedication to supporting our clients with their HR and employment law needs. “We are confident that this invaluable service will be pivotal for businesses, allowing them to focus on their core operations while we take care of their HR and employment law needs.” Taylor Emmet has served people and businesses for more than 150 years and is the largest independent firm in the Sheffield City Region. It provides legal services for both businesses and individuals and boasts more than 140 legal professionals. For more information about TE Assist and to take advantage of this invaluable HR and Employment Law support service, visit www.tayloremmet. co.uk/te-assist




Sheffield City Council (SCC) has commissioned the Sheffield Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) to create the Social Enterprise Growth Accelerator (SEGA). In partnership with Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the South Yorkshire Community Foundation (SYCF), the programme provides specialist business support and advice for social enterprises in Sheffield. The programme will aim to create at least 30 new social enterprises in Sheffield, whilst providing expert advice and support to a minimum of 100 established social enterprises in the city. Funded by UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda, through the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, SEGA covers four key topics: engagement and diagnostic, specialist support, marketing and communication, referrals and networking. As a priority, SCC has identified 58 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

the provision of specialist, targeted assistance to support the startup, survival, growth and scale-up of the wider social enterprise sector within Sheffield. Terry Murphy, CEO of the Sheffield Social Enterprise Network, said: “The SEGA programme will facilitate the development of a more connected Social Enterprise sector and support Social Entrepreneurs to develop the skills and knowledge they need. “We’ll be welcoming more and more organisations into our network in the coming years as charities are forced to become more enterprising and businesses forced to become more social. “Through SEGA, Social Enterprises can demonstrate that they can be the city’s trailblazers, galvanising the changes necessary to shape the future of Britain’s economy into a sustainable one.”

Louisa Harrison-Walker, CEO of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “One of Sheffield’s strengths is its thriving social enterprise sector and with collaboration at the heart of everything we do at the Chamber, initiatives like this are exactly what we’re all about. “Social enterprises are a wonderful example of businesses operating as a force for good so it’s great to be able to contribute our collective business expertise to this cause. SSEN’s impact across the city, of which SEGA is a part, is vital to ensure Sheffield can be a hub for social enterprises. “We’re delighted to have partnered with them and SYCF to see the aims of the commission come to reality.” SSEN is the established membership organisation for Social Enterprise in Sheffield. SCCI, another membership organisation for businesses in Sheffield will offer membership benefits to all social enterprises who join the SEGA programme. To apply to be part of the SEGA programme contact the SCCI Membership hub on 0114 204 8888 (9-5 Monday to Friday). More information can also be found through them.


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Last month, The Sheffield College’s Chief Executive and Principal Angela Foulkes was named in the New Year Honours List 2024. Angela has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her services to further education. The honours system marks the achievements of those doing vital and extraordinary public service work across the country. Angela said of the accolade: “I joined the college when it was facing some challenges. Working with staff, governors, students and other stakeholders, we have got the college back on track so that it is now a highly valued part of the social fabric of our wonderful city. “This CBE is a recognition of our collective effort, the distance that we have travelled together and the hard work of hundreds of people. I am incredibly proud 60 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

to have been awarded it.” A former teacher, Angela has over 30 years’ experience in further education having worked at colleges in London, the South East, the North West and South Yorkshire. During that time, she has held posts at all levels including Director of Skills and Employability, Assistant Principal Pastoral and Support, Vice Principal Students, Vice Principal Curriculum and Support and Group Director for Safeguarding and EDI. Angela was appointed Chief Executive and Principal of The Sheffield College in 2018 after joining the organisation as Principal in 2017. Under her stewardship, the college has gone from strength to strength achieving an Ofsted


‘good’ grading in 2023, being among the top UK employers for equality, diversity and inclusion, and winning awards for its work with employers. She is a vocal champion for the sector as a whole, highlighting the vital role of colleges in their local communities, and plays an active role locally, regionally and nationally. Angela is also a board director at the Association of Colleges, Chair of the Sheffield Skills and Employability Board, CoChair of the South Yorkshire Skills Advisory Board, a Governor at Sheffield Hallam University, a member of The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust and a member of the South Yorkshire Combined Authority Business Advisory Board.



As we embark on a new year with fresh career objectives, professionals in the recruitment industry will be contemplating their next move. In South Yorkshire, one name stands out as the go-to Rec2Rec specialist recruiter—Anna Maher.

With close to 30 years of experience, Anna has solidified her reputation as a trusted expert in the region’s recruitment landscape. Starting her journey in 1995, Anna saw the need for a more personalised recruitment service. Her extensive experience and industry insight led her to establish Anna Maher Recruitment Limited, focusing exclusively on Rec2Rec placements. What sets Anna apart is not just her tenure but her close contacts with numerous recruitment agencies in the region. This network, grown over the years from her dedicated service, allows her to work on a multitude of vacancies with various recruiters, offering a diverse range of opportunities for job-seeking professionals in the field.

Anna’s commitment to the industry is evident in her emphasis on face-toface interviews with all recruitment consultants and personal visits to each recruitment company. This unique approach ensures a cultural fit and understanding of branch dynamics, setting the stage for successful and lasting placements. As the new year unfolds, recruitment professionals will undoubtedly want to

explore new job opportunities or review their current career options, and if this is you, Anna invites you to engage in a confidential ‘career chat’ to make sure your aspirations match your role. For recruitment agencies in South Yorkshire, Anna Maher Recruitment Limited is ready to find you exceptional candidates, leveraging on Anna’s extensive experience and industry insights. Contact Anna in confidence for a personalised approach to Rec2Rec that delivers outstanding results, on 07715454545, anna@amrl.co.uk or visit www.amrl.co.uk Your 2024 career journey starts here!

We got in touch with Debra Foster, senior associate at Andy File Associates, to discuss her recent promotion with the South Yorkshire recruitment experts. How long have you been working for Andy File Associates? I’ve worked for Andy File Associates over eight years and counting! Could you tell us a bit about your dayto-day role? As a 360 recruiter, it is varied. It can be account managing clients, taking briefs for new roles that they would like my help with – sometimes in person, often by phone. It can be dealing with candidates looking for a role, logging onto different job sites to sift through candidate applications for the many different roles I may have on, or contacting candidates that I am trying to woo if I feel I can place them with a potential client. I’ll be instructing the accountant to raise an invoice for a candidate placed, using our bible – FireFish CRM – with updates on an almost hourly basis. Another part of the role is looking constantly for new business and doing local networking events. Congratulations on the promotion. Could you share the details of how this opportunity unfolded for you? Thank you! It’s been really nice to have the recognition and it is just about hard work paying off, I guess. Our career ladder is target-led, aligned with our company values, so consistently achieving target and always keeping 62 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

our company values in mind, has led to this promotion How has your role/responsibilities changed since receiving the promotion? My role will not change in all honesty; it is continuing to make sure that I have a constant flow of clients and roles and having the ability to fill those roles. Also, as an account manager, ensuring that I am doing the best that I can for my clients, maintaining great contact and understanding the ethos of the client goes a long way to making a successful placement. What goals or milestones do you have in mind for both personal and team development in the upcoming year? We are a small team and all of us work hard for the end goal, ensuring that we have a buoyant business, and we work across the board to ensure this continues. Personally, I am currently on target to reach the next promotion level and also my annual target, so that is my all-encompassing goal. However, I don’t like to talk about it too much as recruitment, like most businesses, ebbs and flows – but watch this space! If you need any help with your recruitment I would be delighted to speak with you, my email is debra@ andyfileassociates.com www.andyfileassociates.com

NEW CEO TO TAKE THE HELM AT THE BUSINESS VILLAGE The board of The Business Village has announced that Martin Beasley will assume the role of chief executive from April 2024. Beasley is currently the group leader for Enterprising Barnsley, the economic development arm of Barnsley Council, and has been involved in significant initiatives over his 15 years at the council, including the ‘Future-Ready Net Zero Accelerator project, which aimed to help businesses work towards net-zero. He will replace Adrian Waite, who retired as chief executive at the end of December after nine years in the role. In the interim period from January to April, BBIC Board member Thom Webb will serve as the interim chief executive. Martin said: “I am deeply honoured to step into the role of Chief Executive at The Business Village and look forward to building on the strong foundation laid by Adrian and his management team to drive our mission forward.” Find out more about the opportunities on offer at Barnsley Business Village here: www. business-village.co.uk

Manufacturing CEO appointed to chair Barnsley investment project board The chief executive of a construction products manufacturer has been appointed to chair a new board to help plan almost £20m investment into Barnsley. Edward Naylor is chief executive and majority shareholder of Naylor Industries plc, a Barnsleybased fourth-generation family manufacturing business with seven factories. The company was established in 1890 as a manufacturer of clay drainage pipes and has diversified and grown to become a global provider of plastic and concrete products, employing some 400 people. The Government announced in October a new Long-Term Plan for

Towns, which aims to bring together community leaders, businesspeople, and local bodies to forge their town’s future together, supported by £20m investment over ten years. Funding has been allocated to the historic

‘Barnsley Town’ area, which includes the town centre and some surrounding residential areas, and a plan for how to spend the money needs to be drawn up by summer 2024. A new board, which is being led by Edward, is being

developed to help steer the work and will include other local business leaders as well as representatives from local charities and community groups. Edward said: “I’m delighted to have accepted the offer to lead the board which will deliver this historic investment into Barnsley. I’m proud to be from Barnsley and have enjoyed seeing the fantastic transformation of the town centre in recent years. “We have got a tremendous opportunity to bring together local leaders, business people and community groups and to get input from local people to create the best possible plan we can to make the most of this investment for the people of Barnsley.”

BRM DISPUTE RESOLUTION TEAM NOW BIGGEST IN REGION Leading Sheffield and Chesterfield law firm BRM have announced the appointment of Director Simon Lockley, alongside Kirsty Coggin as Senior Associate, Annabel Denby Hollis as Senior Solicitor and Adam Mayer as Chartered Legal Executive, to the firm’s Dispute Resolution team, making it the largest of its kind in the region. Simon joins BRM with more than 30 years litigation experience, with his most recent role being Head of the Sheffield Office at Lupton Fawcett. He was listed as a key individual in his field in the Legal 500 UK, alongside new Senior Associate Kirsty, who was rated a ‘key lawyer’. Kirsty, Annabel, and Adam

are joining Simon in the move after a combined 15 years with Lupton Fawcett. Simon said: “BRM is an ambitious, modern and forward-thinking firm and I am delighted to be joining its Dispute Resolution team as a Director.

“The firm is businessfocused and has a fantastic reputation in Sheffield and Chesterfield as well as the wider city region”. “BRM is making a real statement and both my team and I are looking forward to being part of the

firm’s growth in Sheffield and its ambitions for the future.” Rob Cooke, Head of Dispute Resolution and Executive Director at BRM, said: “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Simon, Kirsty, Annabel, and Adam to the Dispute Resolution team here at BRM. “As we have previously worked together, I know first-hand the fantastic reputation Simon has both in the city and the profession and the positive difference he will make to our team. “Kirsty, Annabel, and Adam will bring their collective experience to the team and will position us as the largest Dispute Resolution team in the region.”


JON AND LUCY + FRIENDS COMEDY NIGHT RETURNS IN 2024 IN AID OF MENTAL HEALTH The second highly anticipated Jon and Lucy + Friends Comedy Night is returning for 2024 on Thursday 15th May, all to raise vital funds for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Husband and wife duo and stars of Meet the Richardson’s began the annual Comedy Night in 2023 to raise vital funds for Sheffield Children’s, inviting the best in the business to perform. In the newly announced lineup for 2024, comedians Alan Carr, Russell Kane, Fatiha El-Ghorri, and Maisie Adam will join Jon and Lucy in efforts to raise as much money as possible for the mental health campaign, Bright Young Dreams. The first comedy night in July 2023 saw The Children’s Hospital Charity patrons and friends Sarah Millican, Daliso Chaponda, Rosie Jones, Tom Davis, and Seann Walsh raise over £70,000 for Sheffield

Children’s. Last year, Jon and Lucy were joined by Charity patrons Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Dan Walker. Since then, the four patrons have come together to launch a mental health campaign Bright Young Dreams, aiming to tackle the global children’s mental health crisis.

Jon Richardson said: “Anyone who was at last year’s show will know it was a truly memorable night and I can’t wait for this next one. “Thanks to the incredible work and reputation of Sheffield Children’s Hospital we’ve been able to pull together an extraordinary line up and I will be doing

everything I can to make it a night to remember.” Lucy Beaumont added: “It was an absolute honour to be a part of last year’s incredible comedy event, I’m so excited to do it all over again having spent some time at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and can see firsthand the difference it’s going to make.”

CHARITY GOLF DAY TEES UP £3,600 BOOST FOR HOSPICE Doncaster’s St John’s Hospice has been given a £3,600 funding boost thanks to a golf day organised by a North Lincolnshire rail engineering company. CWE Ltd held its second annual fundraising event for the Hospice at Hickleton Golf Club in September, with golfing teams from local businesses teeing up to take part and help raise much-needed funds for the Balby-based Hospice Charity. CWE Managing Director Nick Andrew said: “St John’s Hospice is a very special place and makes such a difference for Doncaster patients and families, it was a great pleasure to organise this event again. “Our golfers did an incredible job in raising so much money and I’d like to say a massive thanks to everyone involved for their amazing support, and to Hickleton Golf Club for hosting us again.” St John’s Hospice Fundraiser Tracey Gaughan said: “We 64 unLTDBUSINESS.COM

are extremely grateful to Nick and all the team at CWE Ltd for their continued support, this is a fantastic sum of money, which will go towards ensuring we continue to provide the best possible specialist palliative services for everyone in our care, both now and in the future.”


SARAH NULTY FOUNDATION INCREASED FUNDING FOR LOCAL CAUSES The Sarah Nulty Power of Music Foundation have announced thanks to the continued support and generosity of local people and organisations, they are increasing their grants from £300 to £500 to support a variety of musical projects across the city. Established in 2020 as a tribute to the late Sarah Nulty, former Tramlines Director, the foundation’s objective is to enrich the lives of Sheffield residents by spreading happiness and joy through the transformative power of music. Some of the charities that received a £500 grant include Brightside, who offer music sessions to people accessing St. Luke’s Hospice, Tracks, a project that offers opportunities to young Ukrainians in Sheffield to engage in musical activities, One World Choir, who used the grant to pay for a singing workshop led by one of the workshop leaders from the Black Lives Matter Commissioning Project and the Darnell Dementia Trust, who provide client-led singing sessions once a month after seeing how the power of music evokes memories for those suffering with dementia. The latest large grants of £2000 were awarded to Pattern and Push, who support vulnerable and disadvantaged young aspiring vocalists and musicians and the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, who work with young people and their families with life-limiting conditions. With the help of the increased grant, they will host their first “Bluebell Wood-Stock” music festival so that young people and their families can experience a music festival with live bands. As well as the increase in funding, the foundation’s annual raffle has returned, and with some amazing prizes, including VIP tickets for Tramlines, Human League tickets, Leadmill Gold Card, and lots more.

New Year, new you? this 12 months and you have January is a time for new decided that it didn’t work, beginnings, reflections stop doing it and resolve to on the previous year and do something else instead ploughing on with new on a trial basis for 3 months, and refreshing ideas and then review again. processes. But do we So many times we are really need to reinvent the guilty of undertaking wheel? Should we stop processes, procedures doing certain things that we have been doing which and delivery that “we have always done it this way”. aren’t working? Just because we have done What worked last year? Do more of this! Very often it that way, doesn’t mean that we should keep doing we get “hung-up” on new stuff, new ideas and having it. If we can all live with a growth mindset, being open to have a fresh strategy, to change, this will help, that we forget to continue but let’s not go overboard doing the things that our and undertake “change for organisation is good at, change’s sake”, especially if which trustees, staff and it isn’t working. volunteers are happy with I wish you well for the and that deliver to our beneficiaries. If it ain’t broke, next year. What will 2024 bring for your organisation? don’t fix it! How will your organisation What didn’t work last year? Review processes and have to change to meet the procedures that didn’t give needs of your beneficiaries, volunteers, staff and the expected outcomes, were too time-consuming or trustees? Keep the needs of just weren’t enjoyed by the beneficiaries at the forefront staff, trustees, beneficiaries of your plans and you won’t and volunteers. If you gave go far wrong.

If you need more help with this or any aspect of Business Planning/Funding Strategy, call me Wendy Ward, Let’s Save Consultancy Services, 0772 9481010. wendy@letssave.biz unLTDBUSINESS.COM 65

STRAIGHT TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER Sheffield City Council Leader Tom Hunt has outlined a potentially transformative 12 months ahead for the Steel City.

In a recently published interview with Exposed Magazine, Tom Hunt shared insights into the city’s progress in 2023 and outlined ambitious plans for the Heart of the City development in the coming year. Reflecting on the past year’s developments, Hunt expressed his satisfaction with the Heart of the City project’s advancements to date. Notable milestones included the unveiling of Pound’s Park, the progression of public realm work around Cambridge Street, and the announcement of artist Pete McKee as the anchor tenant at the upcoming Leah’s Yard. The council also named Urban Splash as the chosen developer for the Cole Brothers building, a move expected to breathe new life into a cherished city landmark. “I want to make sure that the city centre is a great place to live, to work, to shop, to relax, and to socialise,” said the council leader. “A place where everyone can come and enjoy themselves, and somewhere that everyone is


proud of.” Beinning the New Year on a positive note, we can expect a number of imminent retail openings within the Heart of the City, including Fjällräven and Yards Store. There is also the forthcoming debut of

the flagship Radisson Blu hotel on Pinstone Street, the Cambridge Street Collective food hall and a new park and public space at Castlegate. Addressing sustainability concerns, Hunt highlighted Elshaw House, Sheffield’s first zero-carbon workspace,

as a flagship example. The council will also actively working on redevelopment around West Bar to create sustainable walking and cycling routes, accompanied by Grey to Green-style planting for sustainable urban drainage. A particularly intriguing part of the interview focused on the potential of expanding Sheffield’s tram network. Hunt envisioned a modern, low-carbon, sustainable mass transit system connecting disused rail lines to areas like Stocksbridge, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and Chesterfield. The proposed expansion aligns with the city’s commitment to significantly reduce carbon emissions. In terms of attracting businesses and investments, Hunt discussed the £300 million West Bar scheme, emphasizing growth opportunities for both office and residential spaces. The recently approved Draft Local Plan outlines the need for 36,000 new homes, with 20,000 to be built in and around the city center. The council is also prioritizing affordable housing, recognizing the importance of creating high-quality places with great facilities. It certainly makes for exciting reading and if delivered properly, you can’t help but feel that 2024 could be a milestone year for Sheffield and South Yorkshire as a whole. Bring it on, we say!

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