Thursday, September 16, 2021

News: Grimm & Co secures further funding

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Rotherham-based charity, Grimm & Co, are celebrating today after being awarded over £280,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with volunteers and families across Yorkshire.

Based on Ship Hill, the charity will use the cash to support and train volunteers, improving their skills, wellbeing and reducing isolation. This fund will enable Grimm & Co to expand their work with children and young people to include creative activities for families and care givers to help develop children’s communication skills through the joyful discovery of stories. The final strand of this project will take Grimm & Co’s unique and magical offer into communities and groups across Rotherham and beyond through artistic story taster activities that champion culture and creativity within communities.

Grimm & Co was founded by Deborah Bullivant, who developed the story destination and a suite of activities, built on a bedrock of action research that demonstrated real and significant positive impact on literacies for children and young people and families - especially for those communities, often left behind. The charity has been running since 2014 and has recently moved to new premises in order to meet the high demand and to expand its reach across communities in South Yorkshire and beyond.

The charity currently runs a variety of out of school activities for 7-18 years, both digitally and face-to-face, as well as providing online activities throughout the pandemic. They have recently returned to creative delivery with schools, in storymaking workshops and with new immersive theatre spaces such as the ‘Everywherium’. Grimm & Co are supporting the next generation to see themselves as writers, building confidence and skills with a ‘can do, want to do’ attitude, developing the capacity to use writing as a tool for resilience and helping young people to find their voices.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will see an expansion of these activities, enabling them to work with younger children and families, addressing communication issues and low literacy levels at an earlier stage. As a result of the funding, Grimm & Co are excited to be recruiting for three new staff members to take this project forward.

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Grimm & Co will be consulting with the communities across Rotherham as part of their programmes and this consultation, specifically focused on ‘making welcome’ and ‘being relevant to communities’, will inform and influence the capital project fit out and space of Grimm & Co’s newly refurbished Emporium of Stories in the heart of Rotherham Town Centre. Grimm and Co want themselves and this project to dispel negative perceptions of Rotherham and its residents, challenging community narratives and apathy that many Rotherham residents feel about their town and give them a reason to be really proud, invested and engaged in the place they call home.

£12.6m of Government funding has been secured from the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) to support regeneration projects in Rotherham town centre - including Grimm & Co, where proposals have been approved to enable an expansion into the former Talbot Lane Methodist Church.

A volunteer from Grimm & Co stated, “Working creatively with the young people and their families is such a reward and to see their genuine overwhelming positive responses is so life affirming and such a reassurance that the “Grimm way” can have so many benefits for their mental health and academic achievements. Being in Rotherham is also incredibly important to give its residents a chance that they probably can’t find anywhere else in their community.”

Sarah Dunwell, chair of Grimm & Co says: “Volunteers are Grimm & Co’s life blood. We are thrilled to be able to take our work to the next level, thanks to the National Lottery Community fund. After a very strange (yet hectic for us) 18 months, we can’t wait to get started."

Deborah Bullivant, founding director of Grimm & Co, added: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way and supported this project to take place over the next 3 years. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to reach children and young people when they are younger through exciting story activities and we will be able to connect with a variety of community groups, celebrating their stories and making new ones."

Grimm & Co website

Images: Grimm & Co

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News: MP's call to cancel HS2

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Rother Valley MP, Alexander Stafford, continues to call for the national High Speed Two (HS2) project to be scrapped, branding it "a disaster" that "takes money and resources away from levelling up."

There is opposition to the HS2 scheme from within Rotherham since a 2b route realignment was recommended in 2016. The local authority set out that it doesn't want to see the project reach Yorkshire and the Rother Valley MP wants the project scrapped.

The region continues to wait for the Government to publish the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which is seen as key to large scale transport interventions in the the North.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate, Alexander Stafford said: "I stand here in Westminster Hall today to oppose HS2, as I have opposed it ever since being elected.

"In Rother Valley, a northern seat and a seat that the Government want to level up, we say that we do not want HS2.

"I want to challenge this fallacy that HS2 is involved with levelling up. It is quite the opposite: HS2 takes money and resources away from levelling up. I say that HS2—I am particularly talking about the 2b arm that runs roughshod through my constituency, destroying 400 homes—damages the levelling-up process. Why is that? First of all, we have heard about £150 billion. What my constituency could do with £15 million would be transformative. Give us some of that; do not give us a rail line that we cannot get on to. That money is what we need.

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"On top of that, we have talked about the trans-Pennine route here today; that is what we need. But what I hear from suppliers and construction companies is that there are not enough resources. There is not enough concrete; there are not enough tradesmen at the moment actually to build anything else. That is because HS2 is this gaping maw that is sucking in resources, sucking in money and sucking in everything, but not actually delivering anything. That undermines the whole concept of levelling up, so I say to the Government: we need to stop HS2 and the 2b arm.

"If newspaper reports are to be believed, the 2b arm will be scrapped. I welcome that and I hope the Minister will confirm that. Hundreds of my constituents, whose homes are being destroyed or compulsorily purchased, are being left in limbo. They do not know what is going on. We cannot just mothball it. We need to cancel it so that they can get on with their lives.

"I have one more point: we are destroying 400 homes in the Rother Valley. At the same time, Rotherham council is building new homes on the green belt, which is ridiculous. We are destroying the homes that we have and building on the green belt to make up for the loss. The HS2 project is a disaster, and 2b needs to be fully cancelled."

Phase 2b, which also includes a spur to Sheffield, shows the fast route to Leeds going through the East of Rotherham, affecting Wales, Aston, Ulley, Brampton-en-le–Morthen, Thurcroft, Bramley, Ravenfield and Hooton Roberts.

Images: HS2 Ltd

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

News: Next planning to invest £50m in Rotherham expansion

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National retailer, Next, looks set to revive a decade-old plan to expand its already massive distribution warehouse in Rotherham due to a rise in online sales.

If approved, the development would create 150 jobs.

Developed by St Paul's Developments and opened in 2008, Next's 1.1m sq ft Rotherham operation at Brookfield's Park in Manvers is home to around 450 employees.

The two buildings can handle over 100,000 pallets and includes the largest warehouse in Next's 13-site distribution network that handles over 300 million units each year. The network makes 88,000 deliveries every year to 500 Next stores across the UK and millions of internet and Next Directory catalogue customers.

In 2013, investment fund managers, Tritax sold the two units in a deal worth £87m to Legal & General Property.

Plans have now been submitted for a 200,000 sq ft extension to one of the buildings on the south western elevation facing Manvers Way. It would mean that the existing car park for the facility would be moved immediately west.

The proposals are almost exactly the same as those submitted in 2011 but were never constructed.

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Plans, drawn up by RPS planning consultants, state: "The proposed size, location and orientation of the building is designed to satisfy the needs of the existing user, Next Plc, who have a need to expand their capacity to facilitate their distribution of goods on a national and regional basis from this location.

"The proposed facility is projected to create up to 150 additional full-time posts overall, working a combination of shift times. This will take the number of full-time employees at the facility from 450 to 600 overall.

"The development presents a well considered, inclusive design solution to provide an extension to an already successful facility which is tailored to specific client requirements, bringing additional employment and economic investment to an identified enterprise zone. In doing this, the development will serve to increase the viability of the Brookfield’s Park Development as a whole, and strengthen the local community."

Planning documents also state that the base building and fit out costs for the development come in in the region of £50m – a significant investment in this site.

Next Plc adapted quickly to the pandemic and recently saw online sales jump 69% from the same period in 2019.

Next website

Images: Next / PRS

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News: Magtec powers hybrid military vehicles for battlefield of the future

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Magtec is supporting the British Army programme to assess the benefits that hybrid military vehicles can bring to the battlefield of the future.

Founded in 1992, Magtec designs and manufactures components for a wide range of applications including trucks, buses and military vehicles. It employs 125 people at its new factory in Rotherham, including ten ex-services personnel.

Magtec has provided electrification for experimental prototypes of the Foxhound patrol vehicle, Jackal combat reconnaissance vehicle and MAN support vehicle for the British Army. The vehicles are currently undergoing evaluation at UTAC’s Millbrook Proving Ground in the Army’s Technology Demonstrator 6 (TD6) project with project partners including NP Aerospace and RBSL.

The vehicles will be on display at DSEI, the international defence industry exhibition taking place in London from September 14-17.

Marcus Jenkins, Chief Technical Officer at Magtec, said: “We are delighted with the progress to date in demonstrating the effectiveness of our drive systems for the most demanding military applications. These hybrid vehicles offer multiple technical and operational enhancements for military vehicles while reducing reliance on fossil fuel.

“We are proud to support the British Army with this important programme, which has the potential to create a significant number of highly skilled engineering jobs in the North of England and strengthen the UK’s position at the forefront of the global transport sector.”

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Battlefield advantages include increased stealth with reduced thermal and noise signature, enabling vehicles to escape detection as troops observe or attack enemy forces. Electric motors enable immediate rapid acceleration and greater freedom of movement, offering numerous tactical advantages across different terrains.

Other advantages include the ability to deliver power at the point of need for military applications in the battlefield or emergency infrastructure in a disaster zone. For instance, one hybrid MAN support vehicle is capable of producing 500kw of power, equivalent to nine diesel generators, and could help power an Army field hospital.

Colonel Simon Ridgway OBE, Assistant Head Plans, Ground Manoeuvre, Army Headquarters, said: “TD6 is a key part of the Army’s plan for electrification of the battlefield, which seeks to gain operational advantage through using novel solutions for power, performance and support while also reducing carbon emissions.

“The programme will provide evidence to support the benefits, both direct and indirect, that hybridisation of some or all of our vehicle fleet may bring to inform our roadmap towards a more capable and sustainable future.”

Magtec recently commissioned a 65,000 sq ft facility at Templeborough to scale up production and meet growing international demand for its innovative technologies.

Magtec website

Images: Magtec

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

News: Objections to new Rotherham venues

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Two new venues in Rotherham have both come up against opposition as they pursue alcohol licences.

Rothbiz has reported recently on plans for FIKA Coffee Lounge at Wickersley and a micropub to open alongside existing deli and tearooms at Deer Park Farm in Thrybergh.

At Wickersley, applicant, Rebecca Guest, has applied to the Council for a licence for the sale by retail of alcohol and the playing of music for a new venture in an empty unit on The Tanyard. The plan is to open a restaurant / café open from 8am to 11pm with alcohol on sale between 11am and 11pm.

The area of Wickersley village has been designated as a Cumulative Impact Zone and applicants "must be able to demonstrate to the Council and other responsible authorities that granting a new or varied licence will not add to the cumulative impact already being experienced within the area."

Wickersley Parish Council are objecting with concerns that granting the licence would mean that the premises could be used principally as a drinking establishment which could add to the cumulative impact of premises already in the area - eg. noise, disturbance, litter, crime and disorder.

The applicant has explained the operating model which is unlikely to cause nuisance to local residents at a coffee lounge selling breakfasts, brunch, lunches and afternoon teas. It is only intended to open in the evenings for private bookings and special events.

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A representation from the parish council reads: "We have a remaining concern that, should the premises change hands at a future date, the suggested licence conditions would not prevent the premises being used as a mixed use cafe and bar so long as the primary use remained a cafe/restaurant. We have seen this happening at other venues within Wickersley.

"We would therefore like to see the suggested condition 1 being amended to read "The premises shall operate primarily as a coffee shop/restaurant with alcohol served only with a substantial food provision or buffet." The Parish Council considers this would allow Fika Coffee Lounge to operate as intended and allay our concerns about its future use."

A report shows that the Council's Licensing Service are of the view that "such a condition would be unenforceable in the absence of a clear definition of terms such as "substantial" and "buffet.""

The licence, and 23 attached conditions, was due to be discussed this week but the agenda for the Licensing Sub-Committee was withdrawn.

At Thrybergh, the plan is to rearrange the current building in order to create a new bar operating 10-9pm Monday to Saturday and 12-9pm on Sundays. External decking areas would also be used and a condition is included so that the licence holder shall ensure that consumption of alcohol does not take place within the customer car parks and is contained to the inside and seating areas.

A number of objections have been received from residents of nearby Arran Hill which overlooks the site.

The application was due before the Licensing Sub-Committee this week.

Deer Park Retail Village website

Images: Carter Towler

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