Monday, February 24, 2020

News: Rotherham recruitment ramps up at Gullivers Valley

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With the opening a matter of months away, seasonal staff are being sought for Gulliver's Valley in Rotherham.

The multi-million pound development in Rother Valley, is on the hunt for talented, fun loving people to take up seasonal and part time roles in indoor attractions, entertainment, rides, catering, retail, housekeeping as well as receptionist and accommodation assistants.

Opening in the Spring, it is estimated that approximately 120-150 jobs will be created during this first phase of development.

The theme park will be home to more than 50 rides and attractions including an indoor climbing centre, an indoor play area, and a Lost Jurassic World area.

Rothbiz reported on some of the rides here.

There will also be a variety of accommodation available, including unicorn and princess suites, alongside Western Cabins and Lost World Lodges. In addition, various packages for groups will be on offer including sleepovers, longer residential options and educational workshops.

Julie Dalton, managing director of Gulliver's Theme Park Resorts, said: "As we get closer to opening Gulliver's Valley later this spring, we are getting incredibly excited about the opportunities that are arising for the local community to get involved. Launching our recruitment drive is a major part of this as it would be wonderful if we could recruit individuals from the South Yorkshire area so they can really take advantage of this new theme park which will be on their doorstep.

"We are looking for people who share our aim to give families and children quality time and memories, through fresh air and fun activities. The right candidates will be enthusiastic, fun loving, have good communication skills, be flexible and show great initiative."

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Inclusivity and ensuring people from all walks of life feel able to apply for roles with Gulliver's is also extremely important to the business.

Julie added: "As part of our continuous commitment to inclusivity, we will be holding additional and bespoke evening recruitment sessions dedicated to those candidates with additional needs. This allows for a more comfortably paced process, fewer crowds, assistance with application completion and helps us to identify special talents. We employ people of all abilities at our existing locations and have a track record for growing the confidence of those with additional needs in the workplace.

"We have been a family-run business for over 40 years and I can confidently say anyone who joins becomes part of that family. We are proud to be a family-owned, family-run and family-focussed business and we always work hard to involve local people, organisations and businesses in what we do. We hope as many people as possible will be interested in a career with us here at Gulliver's Valley."

Again keeping it local, Gulliver's Valley has named Sidekick PR as its local supplier.

Charlotte Dimond, director at Sidekick PR and Rotherham Pioneer, said: "We are really excited to be working with Gulliver's Valley. Two of our directors are Rotherham based so the new theme park is almost on our doorstep!

"We're looking forward to working creatively and strategically to help Gulliver's Valley attract visitors from across the region and beyond.

"We'll also be working with the region's business community and local communities to build relationships that help to place Gulliver’s Valley firmly in the fabric of the town."

Gulliver's Valley jobs website

Images: Gulliver's

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

News: Rotherham Council outlines aims for town centre cash

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Rotherham Council has set its four main aims that it hopes to see addressed by the Future High Street Fund - the Government pot announced to help areas to develop plans to reinvent their high streets.

Rotherham town centre has been shortlisted for part of the £1bn fund but it is competitive and it is not yet known what, if any, cash the borough will receive.

Around £86m of projects have been identified in the draft Rotherham business case. There is potentially £25m from the Government and £34m of private sector investment is also incorporated, mainly from the Forge Island development.

The authority's annual budget document highlights how the council would use the money. The aims follow on from the town centre masterplan (TCM) which places the focus on more leisure and residential uses and a diversifying of the high street from being retail focused.

The papers state: "The Council is one of 100 areas that have been shortlisted for Stage 2 of the bidding process having been successful with its Stage 1 expression of interest (EOI), submitted in March 2019.

"The high level vision for the expression of interest was drawn from, and supported by, the Council's strategic plans particularly the Town Centre Masterplan. This funding will further enable the implementation of the masterplan, especially for Forge Island, markets and public realm."

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The council papers show that the four main themes of the bid are:

- Redevelopment of Rotherham Markets that will include the relocation of the Central Library, a Community Hub and Food/Entertainment Court.
- The TCM identifies a number of residential development opportunities, creating an attractive Town Centre residential offer and in particular housing within the Forge Island development.
- Updating and re-imagining the Public Realm that links these sites, along with other key sites included in the TCM, and guides the Town’s footfall is seen as another key priority
- Facilitating the retention of Grimm & Co, an innovative literacy charity, by supporting their relocation to larger premises enhances a truly unique offer and visitor attraction in Rotherham's Town Centre, this would be 100% grant funded and would not have any revenue implications for the Council.

Remaining money from the Council's Town Centre Investment Fund (TCIF), set out in earlier budgets, is set to be used to match fund aspects of the bid. Just short of £8m of this pot is remaining and councillors are being asked to approve an additional £5m over the next four years to finance the proposals put forward in the business case.

Notification of successful bids and the value awarded will not be expected until Summer/Autumn 2020.

Rotherham Council has also been granted some capacity funding by the Government to assist a bid into the £3.6bn Towns Fund which aims to help to increase economic growth in 100 areas with a focus on regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

Images: PWP / RMBC

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News: Re-imagining a Rotherham retail unit

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A prominent unit at Rotherham market could be in line for a new lease of life if plans are approved to create something unique in Rotherham town centre.

35 Howard Street was advertised to let by Rotherham Council back in 2018 and with the local Methodist Church forced to relinquish its premises on Talbot Lane due to dwindling numbers, plans have now been submitted for an exciting new initiative.

The proposals involve converting the large unit on the corner of Howard Street and Eastwood Lane, most recently used as a fast food outlet, to create a "Tropical" Church on the 650 sq ft ground floor – an indoor garden space with a baby changing facility, indoor water feature and fish tank. The larger 1,500 ft first floor could also be converted into memorial / museum space.

The new initiative would be something new for the church and the town. For example, it would not open on Sundays but instead open during the rest of the week when the market is at its busiest.

Supporting documents submitted with the plans explain that the vision is to "create a new type of presence for Methodism in the bustle of Rotherham Market.

"Based in a shop unit, we would be freed from the intimidating barrier entering of church building, but would still be distinctively and openly Methodist and Christian. We will choose a location in a place that thousands of people who do not yet attend our churches pass every day and create reasons for them to dwell with us.

"As a project owned by the whole circuit, we would create links with new people and, through conversation, relationship and trust, invite them to a well-suited Methodist church near their home. Eventually this may even grow into a new church community of itself.

"In a broken, hurting town, where churches are too often in the press for the wrong reasons, we reach out to offer healing and reconciliation. The Church will provide services for the lonely, will offer services to tackle social isolation and male mental health issues."

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The new space would enable the church to carry on delivering support and hosting various group meetings including bereavement support, male mental health care and toddler singing sessions.

The tropical church idea is a way of making the premises engaging for adults and children alike – a green indoor oasis similar to the Winter Gardens in Sheffield but on a smaller scale. In essence an indoor garden for those who don't have a garden.

Rev. Jo A.Siddall said in the application: "Not many churches have tried something like this, but the few that have, have discovered that people who had never entered their chapels now wanted to engage with them.

"We will never be certain it will work unless we try. We will take advice and build it up carefully step by step. If we discover that it does not work, we will change it or try something different in the same location.

"We certainly know that if we do not try bold new things we will continue to decline."

Rothbiz reported last year that the Grade II listed Talbot Lane Methodist church closed and was put up for sale following dwindling attendances. Rotherham literacy charity, Grimm & Co has plans to take on the building.

Rotherham & Dearne Valley Methodist Circuit website

Images: Google Maps

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News: Scott has successful self-employment all sewn up

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A Rotherham-based entrepreneur who channelled his creative talents into producing custom-made dresses has stitched up a bright future for his fledgling business after relocating the company to the RiDO-operated Fusion@Magna business centre.

Life could have been very different for Scott Nickson who seized a “now or never” moment when he was made redundant from his shelf-stacking job in a national hardware chain. Determined to try and earn a living by harnessing his natural creativity, Scott decided to try his hand at dressmaking.

Largely self-taught, Scott received his first sewing lessons from his mother, who spent much of her career working as a professional seamstress and he quickly discovered that his new talents were in high demand.

To keep his start-up costs as low as possible, Scott opted to transform the family dining table into a makeshift studio, whilst turning to his mother for sewing lessons. Within a relatively short period of time, Scott began receiving his commissions from friends and family who were impressed by the quality of his work and attention to detail, however with his designs in high demand, Scott realised that he had outgrown the family home and in 2017 he set about looking for new premises.

After spending time scouring the local market for a suitable location for this business, he chose Fusion@Magna at Templeborough to become the home for his growing company. Relocating his company to the centre proved to be perfect fit for Scott's business, which has seen him build the business through word of mouth recommendations and referrals.

However, all that changed when Scott launched his first website, resulting in orders being secured from across the UK, from Birmingham to Belfast, as well as helping him to land his largest order to date.

Each hand made design takes Scott between 8-12 weeks to produce from scratch and are carefully tailored to suit the tastes of his growing number of satisfied customers. However, the additional space provided in Scott’s new studio enables him to work on a larger number of designs simultaneously.

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It is fast approaching five years since Scott transformed his passion of dressmaking into a vibrant and successful business, with RiDO helping to provide Scott with a good level of business confidence and other valuable entrepreneurial attributes, but he isn’t done just yet. And with hopes of continuing to support prom nights, weddings and even dipping his toe in the world of costume design, he is working towards realising his long term goals of seeing his designs feature in London Fashion Week.

Scott Nickson said: "When I first started the company I wanted to try and keep my overheads as low as possible, but working from home wasn't ideal, particularly when I was working on a number of different orders, so I began scouring the market for suitable premises to develop my business further. Since relocating the business, I've noticed that I've become much more productive and it has also helped to improve things like time management, as there are a lot fewer distractions in the office than there was when I was working at home.

"One of the best things about the centre is that it’s filled with lots of like-minded entrepreneurs and I feel as if I've become part of a community which is helping my business to grow. The centre is everything I hoped it would be. It helps me to offer my clients a private place for fittings, as well as enabling me to concentrate upon growing and developing my business further. It’s been quite a journey over the past five years, but the five years of hard work and time I've invested in my company are starting to pay off, and I’m setting my sights on building and developing my business further in the future."

Julie Hall, RiDO Business Centre Coordnator, Fusion@Magna said: “Scott’s keen eye for detail has stood his business in good stead, and it was clear from the time that he relocated his business to Fusion@Magna, that he has the passion, talent, and entrepreneurial knowhow to succeed. Scott’s beautiful bespoke dresses are a testament to Scott’s skills and I am sure it won’t be long before we see his designs parading on the catwalks as part of London Fashion Week.

“Our business centres were designed with the needs of entrepreneurs in mind, offering flexible easy-in, easy-out terms and one of the advantages of being based in a centre like Fusion is that you instantly become part of a business community. Scott has benefitted from ongoing support and guidance from the RiDO team, as well as offering the flexibility to take on additional office space as their business has evolved.”

Scott Nickson website
RiDO Business Centres website

Images: RiDO

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

News: Rotherham as a filming location provides economic boost

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Rotherham has scored plenty of the action in the first year of operation for Screen Yorkshire's Film Office. Just this week parts of the borough were used for a new teen drama being filmed for Netflix.

Since it opened for business in November 2018, the Film Office team has handled over 360 film and TV production enquiries and has received wide praise from key industry figures.

As the first port of call for producers looking to film in Yorkshire, and needing specialist advice and help, the Film Office supports international, domestic and regional productions. Its work spans feature film, high-end TV drama and childrens' content as well as factual, entertainment, comedy, corporate and advertising campaigns.

27 high-end TV productions and 14 feature films have filmed in Yorkshire in the last 12 months, generating over 1500 days of work for regional crew. The value of filming activity to Yorkshire and the Humber is substantial with budgets for high-end TV dramas and feature films averaging between £10m and £20m per project. The regional figures are released following last week’s news from the BFI, revealing a record-breaking year for film & HE TV, which is the fastest growing sector in the UK.

For Rotherham, productions include the big screen feature, Downton Abbey, the drama, Gentleman Jack for the BBC, and psychological thriller, The Feed, for Amazon Prime, which all made use of the breathtaking backdrop of Wentworth Woodhouse.

Other recent filming in the borough includes the much-anticipated Everybody's Talking About Jamie which used Swinton Academy, and Zero Chill, a Netflix teen drama whose production crew set up base at Herringthorpe Stadium last week (pictured below).

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Sally Joynson, chief executive of Screen Yorkshire, said: "Just do the maths and you'll understand the scale of the business and the economic clout that comes with it. The Film Office is a critical, expert, component in driving this business to Yorkshire and in its first year alone has demonstrated just how valuable a resource it is."

For Gentleman Jack, the long gallery at Wentworth Woodhouse was used as a grand house in Hastings for an emotional flashback scene. The impressive marble saloon was transformed into a merchants offices.

Phil Collinson, producer on Gentleman Jack, said: "Screen Yorkshire's talented bunch are a brilliant mix of local knowledge, passion for the job and intense creativity. We simply couldn't have made the show in Yorkshire without them."

Based on the musical of the same name, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is set to be released in October. Jonathan Butterell, the film's director said: "Yorkshire is home. Like its people, Yorkshire is robust, straightforward, rugged, diverse, and downright bloody gorgeous. Everyone should film here."

Screen Yorkshire website

Images: BBC / HBO / Tom Austen

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