Friday, October 18, 2019

News: Construction at Gulliver’s Valley is on track

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Progress is being made in creating the £37m Gulliver's Valley Theme Park Resort in Rotherham ahead of next year's anticipated opening.

Work started last year at the Pithouse West former colliery site on the first of Gulliver's sites in the UK to encompass all their major family entertainment elements in one location with new attractions exclusive to Rotherham.

Rides have started to be installed and attractions being developed. When it opens, the park will feature a Wild West area, Lost World with free roaming dinosaurs, mini-JCBs, indoor entertainment, and rides.

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The family firm, which has theme parks in Warrington, Matlock Bath and Milton Keynes, has been keeping people up to date with the progress onsite in a series of videos on social media. The first showed Western World taking shape and the latest shows pupils from Wales Primary School on site recently to see where everything is going to be.



Rotherham Council Leader Chris Read was also a recent visitor. He said: "I'm not sure how many people are really aware that work is well underway at Gulliver's. Local suppliers have been helping to transform the former pit site and more than 1,000 Yorkshire trees have been planted. Just whilst we were there, the pirate ship ride was going up.

"Apart from developing a great visitor attraction on our doorstep, and the directly employed jobs that will come with it, Gulliver's have set a high standard for benefits to the wider economy."

Gulliver's Valley will be opening in Spring 2020.

Gulliver's Valley website

Images: RMBC / Gulliver's

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News: New venues opening in Rotherham

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A new micropub and a burger specialist are opening in the north of the borough.

The Timberyard Tapas and Micro Bar has recently opened on Montgomery Road in Wath, bringing a wide range of food to try. The "Spanish menu with a Yorkshire twist" includes meatballs, calamari, patatas bravas and scallops. Paellas and flatbreads are also on the menu.

The small venue, which seats around 15 people, was recently granted its alcohol licence by Rotherham Council and is now open on Wednesday to Saturdays.

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Over on the Onyx Retail Park in nearby Manvers, a new restaurant is planning to open soon.

Holy Cow is described as an "American style burger joint, specialising in hand pressed burgers built to your specifications - quality personalised burgers!!"

The Rotherham venture is a new project from those behind 8oz Burger Co., the popular restaurant in Barnsley town centre.

The retail park is a key part of the regeneration of the former coalfield area of Manvers which provides space for national and independent outlets.

Timberyard Facebook page
Holy Cow Facebook page

Images: Timberyard / Holy Cow / Facebook

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

News: RISE returns to support more local businesses

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Rotherham companies will be able once again to sign up to a project to connect graduates to small to medium-sized businesses after it successfully secured European funding earlier this year.

RISE has helped growing businesses across the Sheffield city region (SCR) to recruit talented graduates for the past five years in an effort to help them develop and innovate. Over the next three the project will work with over 200 businesses to employ 330 more graduates and businesses that take part will have access to an improved wrap around support offer, all at no charge to them. Funding for an enhanced RISE project has been secured from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and matched by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield.

RISE works with businesses to understand their needs, provide information, advice and guidance on graduate recruitment and help them define the job they want to offer. RISE then advertises and sifts applications so the business can choose its preferred candidate and offers ongoing support for the first six months a graduate is in post. Salary subsidy grants are available to all businesses at a standard £1,000 rate or, on a first come first served basis, at £2,500 for high tech roles or businesses.

The project has already supported over 500 businesses to advertise nearly 700 graduate jobs.

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Mark Walsh, managing director at Rotherham-based PointSolutions, said: "Having a higher level grant for high tech businesses and roles will really help us attract candidates with the skills that are in such short supply in the market. Small and medium businesses, who are driving technical upskill in businesses, often struggle to compete with corporates despite offering a much more diverse environment for graduates to progress their careers. It is fantastic to see RISE help smaller businesses overcome this barrier to recruiting great talent."

This fresh roll out of RISE will see businesses skilled up so they can continue to recruit graduates into the future. Businesses will benefit from a briefing session where they will have access to a range of advice and guidance as well as to specialist staff who will make business leaders aware of the region's wider support offer, so they can take advantage of all of the help that is out there.

Professor Koen Lamberts, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "RISE is a fantastic asset for the region's businesses and I hope that as many as possible will take advantage of the support that it offers. I am proud that our students are able to flourish and have real impact in local businesses and stay in the place they come to love as students. Retaining this talent is vital for the region’s economic health and competitiveness.”

Professor Chris Husbands, vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, added: "Sheffield Hallam has been a proud supporter of RISE since the project's inception. We are delighted that the scheme is entering this exciting new phase of delivery. RISE is a great way for us to create opportunities for our graduates and demonstrate the contributions they can make, whilst helping to drive future economies. I look forward to seeing many more success stories over the next three years."

RISE website

Images: SHU

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

News: Enterprising way to bring new Grimm products to life

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Grimm & Co, Rotherham's literary charity, has launched a kickstarter appeal to bring to life a game created by its Saturday club children.

Based in Rotherham town centre the Apothecary to the Magical sells wild schemes, evil plots, charms, curses and kitchenware. Above the shop, the Yorkshire charity runs innovative storytelling and writing workshops for children in the local area, to unleash their imaginations and build confidence, self-respect and communication skills.

A group of 19 young people aged 9-11 have created a hilariously original story-telling game, full of prodigious prompts to unleash the players' imagination and get participants' creativity cogs spinning. Grimm & Co now want to bring this to life, and need the help and support of the public to raise the £5,000 needed to do this.

Kickstarter exists to help enterprising artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality.

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Twists and Tales will contain 200 unique cards, each featuring an original and unusual creative idea created by the game's young makers, with characters such as Fiona (a multilingual toilet door who's unfortunately unable to use her linguistic talents) and Alex (an invisible 41 year old piece of chewing gum who is aging backwards), and plots that include two pieces of luggage falling in love in an airport, but getting separated on the conveyor belt, and a squirrel thief stealing a precious magical artefact. These cards come in four different categories: characters; settings; objects; and story starters, and can be used to create the most amazing stories in a huge variety of ways.

The children and young people who created the game have designed it to be played in a huge variety of ways: by yourself or with others; competitively or collaboratively; by telling stories out loud, or by writing or drawing them. Their aim was to make Twists and Tales accessible to as many different people as possible, taking the scariness out of having to come up with stories on the spot and enabling anyone to be able to spin a tall tale!



Louise Treloar, communications coordinator at Grimm and Co said: "The children have worked so hard on this project and are desperate to see it made into a real game. As a magical apothecary, we really want to help them make this dream come true.

"Our kickstarter appeal has already raised over £3,000 and we now need our very kind supporters and the public to help. Just a few pounds will make a real difference."

Elliott, one of the creators of Twists and Tales, added: "It's pretty epic and you can make cool stories," whilst co-creator William said: "We have worked hard on our game and we have used OUR imagination."

Edith, another game creator, said: "This game is important to me because it is a game that I have helped to create, it is not just a game that I know how to play.  It is a game that I helped to create which makes it special"

The Kickstarter appeal includes quirky rewards thought up by the children and young people in the workshops.

Grimm & Co website



Images: Grimm & Co

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News: New contracts policy aims to keep it local in Rotherham

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Rotherham Council has developed a new policy to ensure that more of its £300m annual spend is kept within the local economy, supporting Rotherham businesses and creating jobs in the borough.

The new Social Value policy aims to ensure that when the Council is buying goods and services, suppliers are encouraged to spend locally, employ Rotherham people, and work towards paying at least the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Living Wage.

If the plan is adopted, every contract the Council tenders with a value of £100,000 or over will be scored as to how it delivers real and sustainable social value.

It borrows from the "Preston model" where local spend in the Lancashire city from anchor institutions rose from 5% to 18.2%. Preston City Council now spends 28% with Preston-based businesses (2016) as opposed to 14% in 2012.

Alongside the cost and quality of a bid, the proposed social value will help to determine who is awarded a contract. Social value could take the form of good local jobs and skills development for local people, equality of opportunity, strengthened and sustainable community and voluntary sector organisations, keeping spend in the local supply chain and greater environmental sustainability.

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The Social Value commitment will account for 20% of the overall score for the tender bid and the Council said it will produce a public annual report each year on the Social Value that has been achieved.

For lower value contracts, it is proposed that the Council will ensure, when quotes are invited, at least one will be from the local area, to give local business more opportunities to win those contracts.

The policy also sets out an objective that, wherever possible, the Council will also commit to co-designing services, using the knowledge, experience and expertise of local people and organisations to make the best use of local assets. It is proposed that a Social Value Charter is developed with partners, encouraging organisations to commit to increased Social Value.

Cllr. Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council, said: "We have already seen in other parts of the country how councils can choose to spend more wisely, keeping more money in the local economy, encouraging suppliers to pay the real Living Wage and creating local job and training opportunities.

"For the first time, we are setting out a formal, measurable approach to ensure that council taxpayer’s money helps to make our local economy stronger, fairer and more environmentally friendly."

RMBC procurement website

Images: RMBC

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