Friday, October 29, 2010

News: Exceptional year of growth for EMSc


Award-winning Rotherham company EMSc (UK) Limited, has reported on a year of exceptional growth.

Demand for Powerstar, its innovative voltage optimisation system, continues to increase throughout the world. In the past 12 months alone the company has increased turnover by 166% to almost £8m, and has employed an additional 20 people, an increase of 75%.

Due to the company's continued success it has also relocated its manufacturing facility on two occasions. The company quickly outgrew the first facility after under a month and has recently moved again to premises double the size on the same Rotherham site.

The energy consultancy produces Powerstar, the only voltage optimisation system wholly designed and manufactured in the UK which works by reducing the the voltage supplied by the National Grid.

Voltage optimisation is a cost efficient way to control a buildings incoming voltage in order to maximise energy savings. Powerstar can save up to 26.1% of total electricity consumption and related CO2 emissions, all without compromising the supply to electrical equipment.

Dr. Alex Mardapittas, Powerstar designer and Managing Director of EMSc said: "This has been an outstanding 12 months for us. We are extremely excited by our future prospects, not only here in the UK but throughout the world. The interest in Powerstar is putting us on track to significantly increase turnover once again in the current financial year."

In the UK, Powerstar customers include large blue chip companies like ASDA, Punch Taverns, ASSEAL, government departments, local authorities, the NHS and growing Small Medium Sized Enterprises.

Internationally the company is also expanding its presence with the signing of distribution agreements to supply Powerstar in Australia, South Africa , UAE and Greece supported by the commencement of operations in the companies Cyprus based premises.

Powerstar website

Images: EMSc


News: Sheffield City Region to establish one of the UK's first Local Enterprise Partnerships


The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has been given the green light by Government, in a landmark move that will see local business and civic leaders working together to drive sustainable economic growth and create new jobs in their communities.

Representatives from local authorities and local business leaders submitted proposals to the government in September in order to establish the partnership.

The proposal outlined the main growth areas in the city region, the challenges that remain and what the partnership needs to do in order to grow the economy.

The partnership's objectives focus on the economy and skills (business support, sector development, inward investment, employer-led skills system) and infrastructure, transport and housing (key development sites, strategic transport links, sustainability, broadband, housing growth).

A key priority is to work with the government to establish a National Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Growth Hub that will drive economic growth in the manufacturing sector nationally, and as a consequence deliver GVA and employment growth in the UK as well as within the SCR. The Hub would be located at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: "Our vision for local enterprise partnerships will help transform the economic geography of the country by creating a new local dynamism that will encourage economic growth and protect business with proper local accountability."

James Newman, Master Cutler said: "The private sector are ready to work with local authorities across the City Region, to lead and coordinate action and investment, strengthen economic growth and rebalance the economy to increase private sector investment and local jobs for local people."

The government also published a white paper on economic development which which sets out the new approach to rebalance the economy and drive sustainable growth by focusing on shifting power to local communities and businesses, increasing confidence to invest and focused investment.

Sheffield City Region website


News: Colliers to study Rotherham retail and leisure


Rotherham Council has appointed Colliers International to undertake a borough-wide retail and leisure study of Rotherham.

Last year Colliers International, alongside The Retail Group, produced a retail and leisure study of Rotherham town centre. This new study will see the research extended across the rest of Rotherham.

Its findings will help in the preparation of Rotherham's Local Development Framework and assist in the planning and regeneration decision making.

The study will provide a comprehensive understanding of the key issues surrounding the retail and leisure provision within the borough and the need for additional development.

As work continues on the Local Development Framework, the study will assist in the production of a strategy and supporting policies for retail and leisure development across Rotherham.

Councillor Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Environment said: "As Rotherham changes over the next 15 years, we need to ensure that we can meet our shopping and leisure needs.

"This study will be vital in helping us understand how things might change and making sure that our planning decisions are based on the most up to date information possible."

This study will enable the Council to make informed decisions relating to the preparation of the Local Development Framework, as well as assisting in the assessment of future retail and leisure proposals.

Colliers website


News: Finance Yorkshire announces investment team for South Yorkshire


The new business growth fund, Finance Yorkshire, has announced the investment teams across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The £90m fund has three investment teams, Seedcorn Finance, Business Loans and Equity Linked Investments. The investment teams appraise the applications from businesses as well as liaising and working with other intermediaries in the market.

Karl Hodson and Ian Howson will cover South Yorkshire as part of Finance Yorkshire's Business Loans team.

Karl Hodson, investment manager, said: "By having regionally-based investment managers, companies can take advantage of funding available on their doorstep.

"The Business Loans fund offers loans to complete financial packages, so it's crucial that we are on the ground and able to easily liaise with both the company and other lenders."

With a team comprising of Ed French, Michael Bakewell and Ashwin Kumaraswamy, the Seedcorn fund offers early stage, knowledge and technology start-up businesses investments of up to £780,000.

Leading the equity team is Craig Hopwood, who will help SMEs to achieve their business expansion plans with equity linked investments from £100k to £2m.

James Newman, Finance Yorkshire chairman, said: "Applying for funding can be a daunting process, especially for small businesses that are only just finding their feet.

"Our investment managers will work closely with businesses throughout the application process, either directly or through an intermediary."

The Board of Finance Yorkshire has also announced the appointment of Alex McWhirter as Acting Chief Executive. Alex is currently Assistant Director of Business at Yorkshire Forward and is being seconded by Yorkshire Forward to Finance Yorkshire for three days a week.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe's support for the region's economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15m from Yorkshire Forward's Single Programme, and £45m match funding from the European Investment Bank.

Finance Yorkshire website



News: NAMTEC to help manufacturers discover the future of offshore oil and gas


An event takes place next month that will focus on the state of the Oil and Gas industry and the opportunities for manufacturers to develop their business with this potentially lucrative market.

Organised by the Special Metals Forum (SMF), the membership arm of Rotherham-based NAMTEC (the National Metals Technology Centre), the Discover the Future of Offshore Oil and Gas event will provide a forum for discussion of the issues affecting suppliers of engineered products, particularly special metals, to this sector, as well as giving attendees the opportunity to build relationships and collaborate with others from the industry.

High profile industry speakers include Gareth Roberts from Darron-SBO in Rotherham, a global provider of precision machine services and tools to the oil and gas industry, who will look at the challenges and opportunities in deep water drilling. Gareth has 30 years' experience in the Upstream Oil & Gas business, including working on offshore oil rigs across Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and Brazil.

Other speakers include Lance Whitehouse from Cameron, a global provider of pressure control, processing, flow control and compression systems for the Oil and Gas and processing industries; Anthony Onukwu from ITF - a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates collaborative research, development and the deployment of technology innovation in the Oil and Gas sector and; Richard Quin-Stanley from UK Trade and Investment will outline the global opportunities in oil and gas.

Alan Partridge, chief executive of NAMTEC said: "The seminar will provide a unique insight into the latest industry trends and developments within the Oil and Gas industry on a national and a global basis.

"There will also be the opportunity to share information and network with senior commercial, operational and technical decision-makers from within the gas and oil sector. For anyone wishing to grow their business in the offshore industry, this is an opportunity not to be missed."

The event takes place at Bretby Hotel and Conference Centre, Burton on Trent on November 18.

NAMTEC website

Images: NAMTEC


Thursday, October 28, 2010

News: Sapa acquires Thule's Rotherham plant


Swedish aluminium manufacturer, Sapa, has completed the acquisition of the automotive related integrated roof rail business from Thule.

The deal includes two productions plants, sales, design and engineering resources in Rotherham and in Poland.

With a turnover of 30m Euro, the business unit serves a broad portfolio of large automotive manufacturers with line-fitted roof racks and side-steps for passenger cars.

Thule wishes to focus more on branded consumer related products and retail, and Sapa wants to strengthen its market position in the automotive sector by expanding the customer base, and adding valuable product design competence.

Arne Rengstedt, President Sapa Profiles Europe, said: "We are happy the deal is closed, and that we now can focus fully on the integration of the roof rail business with the rest of our operations.

"There is a growing interest for aluminum solutions within the automotive business, and roof rails is one area where we see exciting opportunities to expand our offering.

"With the integration of Thule's roof rail business we will have a leading position on this market in Europe and will also be able to serve customers globally."

Magnus Welander, President and CEO of Thule Group added: "With the Thule Group's increased focus on branded products designed to make active life easier to enjoy for the consumer, the integrated roof rail business was no longer a core business for us.

"I am happy we have closed this deal with Sapa, as I am convinced they have the strategic focus and competence to take this business further."

Sapa is based in Sweden and part of the large Norwegian group, Orkla. Sapa is the largest aluminium profiles producer in the world with customers in the building, transport, engineering, telecom and home and office industry.

A spokesperson for Sapa said it was their intention to continue the operations and the engineering activities in Rotherham which is on the Barbot Hall Industrial Estate.

Sapa Group website



News: Pointer Pet Products invest in Rotherham production line


Pointer Pet Products has invested in a new £100,000 baking line at their Rotherham factory to produce a unique range of healthy treat biscuits for dogs.

The Eastwood company, which was rescued from administration last year, has secured invoice finance backing from Yorkshire Bank's South Yorkshire Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) as part of its Investing for Growth initiative.

Now Pointer Pet Products believes that the new product range, aimed at domestic and overseas markets, will increase sales at the business by ten per cent in the next 12 months.

A seven-strong team of private investors with experience in the pet and fast-moving consumer goods trade in the UK, Europe and North America brought the 52 year old company out of administration, saving over 40 jobs.

Under the leadership of managing director, Nick Whitley, who joined in June from the $800m turnover KIK Custom Products, Toronto, Canada, Pointer Pet Products has drawn up a development plan spearheaded by innovative new products. The new range is the first of a series of new products.

Nick Whitley said: "Since acquiring the assets, we've secured 42 jobs and are now well on course to grow the business through innovative product and packaging development.

"Although some details are commercially sensitive, the new developments are in areas covering the key product trends including functionality, natural and organic ingredients, weight management and food allergies.

"Yorkshire Bank South Yorkshire FSC has been hugely supportive in providing invoice finance which has enabled us to retain jobs and invest in people, systems and infrastructure which will continue as sales grow."

The company has also invested in new IT systems for finance and manufacturing and appointed a new operations manager and an export sales manager.

Richard Crossfield, Yorkshire Bank South Yorkshire FSC invoice finance partner said: "It is great to see a well-known South Yorkshire manufacturer gain a new lease of life through this private investor team and a dynamic and experienced management.

"Yorkshire Bank has a £100m invoice finance fund available and we're committed to ensuring that it is taken up by businesses which can create new jobs and help drive the economic recovery forward."

Pointer Pet Products website
Yorkshire Bank website

Images: Yorkshire Bank


News: Willmott Dixon opens Rotherham branch


Willmott Dixon Group has opened the company's new Rotherham branch from where it will manage a responsive repairs service to nearly 12,000 homes and properties.

In August Willmott Dixon Group's repair and maintenance specialist Willmott Dixon Partnerships won a five and a half year contract worth £58m with possible extensions, to provide responsive repairs to nearly 12,000 homes and properties in Wentworth South, Wentworth Valley, Rother Valley West and Rother Valley South.

Rick Willmott, chief executive of Willmott Dixon Group said: "We are very excited about starting a long-term partnership with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and coming here is a sign of just how much we value that relationship. It also gave me a chance to meet and talk with our team who will deliver our service to residents.

"Our general manager in Rotherham, Dave Coldwell, has an exceptional track-record for running a three star rated repairs and maintenance service, most recently in Barnsley, and I know that he and the team are looking forward to replicating that in Rotherham."

Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods Councillor Jahangir Akhtar said: "We thank Rick Willmott for opening the new Willmott Dixon branch. We welcome visits like these to Rotherham as they provide a real boost to staff and herald a new beginning for our customers. During the externalisation process Rotherham Council was determined to get the best possible service for our tenants at the keenest price."

Willmott Dixon Partnerships managing director Mick Williamson, who lives in nearby Maltby, said, "It was great to see Rick in Rotherham. As a private company, we have strong family values and that includes senior management like Rick and Chris spending time meeting our teams and visiting our branches. As a local person, I am absolutely committed to developing and delivering a three star excellent service, just like we have achieved with other clients, including in South Yorkshire."

Wilmott Dixon website


News: Conference helps manufacturers get a competitive edge for the future


Over 200 manufacturers from across the region gathered in Rotherham earlier this month for the annual Manufacturing Conference organised by The Manufacturing Advisory Service Yorkshire & Humber (MAS Y&H).

Held at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Rotherham, the "New Era for Manufacturing" event was specifically designed to provide delegates with key information and advice needed to move their businesses forward including how to develop strategic direction, gear up for the future with innovative and advanced manufacturing techniques and make the most of "low carbon" opportunities.

Industry experts who addressed the audience included Cheryl Kindness, design & development director of multi-award winning Camira Fabrics (Mirfield). Camira manufacture 8m metres of fabric every year and export to over 70 countries.

Cheryl shared some of the secrets of the company's success including how it had successfully innovated its way ahead of its competitors with the clever use of sustainable design and manufacture.

Peter Hopton, chief executive of the Sheffield-based energy efficient computer manufacturer Very PC talked about the importance of capitalising on the "green" revolution and gave delegates a valuable insight into making the most of the funding available to them.

Steve Watson, managing director of Global Aftermarket Services at Huddersfield-based David Brown Gears (which celebrated its 150th anniversary this year) led delegates through the journey of moving a traditional business into renewables, whilst Nick Hussey of Manufacturing Insight stressed the importance of improving the image of manufacturing amongst young people.

A range of MAS supported businesses also hosted pracitcal workshops at the conference.

Robin Watson, regional director of MAS chaired the conference and said: "Due to the current position on future funding of MAS, we are entering a period of great uncertainty. However, we remain committed to do everything we can to continue to support the region's manufacturing community; the success of which we believe is firmly linked with the UK's route to future prosperity."

The event also included the opportunity of a guided tour of the Factory of the Future at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC).

MAS-YH website



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News: Rotherham's niche retail offer boosted by grants scheme


The Wedding Lounge has become the latest retail outlet to open in Rotherham town centre with the help of the council's Business Vitality Grants.

33 businesses have opened since January and nine of which were assisted by the grants scheme. The mix of new retailers range from the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop to national chains such as Toymaster and The Works.

More retailers are set to open soon with Jayne's Blinds & Homes Interiors fitting-out a unit on High Street in time for opening before Christmas as is Sayas Coffee and a travel agency within Imperial Buildings.

The council's Business and Retail Investment Team expect to see 40 new businesses open before Christmas.

The Wedding Lounge is an all year wedding fair and in addition to a fabulous collection of bridal wear and accessories, they also offer help and support in all aspects of the organisation of a couple's big day.

As a result of her experience in the wedding industry, the owner Sheree Ratcliffe, is able to provide a complete wedding service from choosing wedding stationery to helping source a photographer and the perfect evening entertainment.

Sheree said: "My aim is to ensure the bride's day is as easy as possible to plan whilst also giving other businesses a platform to promote their services. I have some major exhibitors such as Doncaster Racecourse, Paula Blake (who provides table decorations and chair covers for Chatsworth House) and Cherished Rolls Royce wedding cars.

"My intention is to put Rotherham town centre on the map – exhibitors from York are already commenting that they should have a permanent presence here."

The Wedding Lounge website
Rotherham Town Centre website

Images: Big Box Photography


News: Rotherham's Spangles UK at Start-up Stars final


Spangles UK Ltd, the Rotherham based fashion jewellery company, was named as a runner-up in the HSBC "Start-up Stars" business competition final in London last week.

The company, based in RiDO's Century Business Centre in Manvers, was named as a regional winner in September after impressing a national judging panel that included Lord Digby Jones, Chairman of the International Business Advisory Board and Huw Morgan, Head of Business Banking, HSBC Bank plc.

Now in their 10th year, the awards celebrate the achievements of the best new entrepreneurial talent in the UK. Business Secretary Vince Cable praised the 16 finalists competing for the top honours, saying: "The very best of British enterprise is represented at the HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards.

"The dynamism, innovation and hard work of these SMEs will help drive Britain's economic recovery now and for the future and will demonstrate yet again that the UK is open for business."

After the awards at the Dorchester Hotel, company founder, Joanne Coulson said: "It was great to be recognised as one of the country's "Start-up Stars" and to attend the awards at the Dorchester. Whilst we didn't win the overall award, we were proud to represent the region and to show the spirit of entrepreneurship that abounds in this area."

Spangles imports fashion jewellery and sells it via agents and the Internet plus on a wholesale basis to boutiques and gift shops.

Joanne started the business in 2008, initially working from home, but as it grew quickly she took up the business incubation support package offered by RiDO and moved into a business centre unit in January 2009.

Since then the company has grown from strength to strength, and has developed from having one small unit, to operating from an office and a warehouse unit with five administration staff, a local self-employed worker and 60 agents.

The company has expanded from the UK into Ireland, and is considering entering the European market and also selling other fashion products. It has been a successful and exciting time in 2010 for Joanne and her team and there will undoubtedly be more developments to follow.

Martyn Benson, the RiDO Business Adviser who has worked with Joanne since October 2008 said: "With sales and importantly profits that have doubled over the last year Spangles performance so far means that it is definitely a "Start-up Star" and an excellent example of the successful businesses we have in Rotherham and in particular within our business centres."

RiDO operates four highly-successful business centres across the Rotherham area including Fusion @ Magna, Matrix @ Dinnington, Moorgate Crofts and Century Business Centre. The survival rates of companies in the Centres are well above average, with the one year survival rate at 97 per cent and the three year survival rate is 84.5 per, compared to the national average of around 60 per cent.

Brampton's Integral Network Solutions also made it to the regional finals this year after being named as a regional winner in the same competition in 2008.

Spangles UK website
RiDO business centres website

Images: spanglesjewellery.comk


News: Panel Systems invests in new equipment


Panel Systems has made an investment of £75,000 in new sanding equipment to enhance the quality of its fabrication service and to open up the opportunity to enter new markets.

The investment will help Panel Systems to develop new market opportunities that require the ability to bond thin or gloss materials to lightweight cores, such as Styrofoam.

Panel Systems Ltd, which operates from Parkwood Industrial Estate in Sheffield and at Waleswood Industrial Estate in Rotherham, has over 35 years' experience in the production of high quality panels for a wide range of industries, from caravan production, construction, craft through to children's playgrounds.

The company is one of the UK's leading suppliers of Styrofoam, which is a structural core material used in the manufacture of Composite Panels, as well as diverse markets including construction, caravans and refrigerated trucks. They have extensive resources, including the latest CNC technology for the fabrication, machining and engraving of boards.

The new equipment will enhance Panel System's services and mean the company can deliver improved surface finishes and thickness tolerances, producing sheet thickness down to as little as 2mm. The company will also be able to provide on-line grooving of Styrofoam sheets, which is widely used in the manufacture of very large panels, such as truck sides.

Chris Ibbotson, Managing Director at Panel Systems, said: "We are really excited about the benefits this investment will bring to our existing and new customers and what it will mean for us as a business. It will open up major opportunities in new markets such as furniture and digital printing.

"As the only UK manufacturer with this capability, this gives us a great opportunity in the marketplace to provide an even better product specification."

Yorkshire Bank has supported Panel Systems' investment in new equipment. Jean Shearer, Yorkshire Bank's South Yorkshire Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) business partner, said: "Panel Systems is part of a trend among businesses to invest in upgrading systems and services to remain ahead of the field as the economy continues to grow. Yorkshire Bank South Yorkshire Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) is pleased to have helped the company as part of our Investing for Growth initiative.

"Yorkshire Bank has £2bn to lend in Yorkshire in the coming months and we are committed to ensuring that it reaches enterprises which can drive growth in their area."

Panel Systems website
Yorkshire Bank website

Images: Panel Systems


News: Green light for A57 improvements


Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has announced the go-ahead for 24 transport schemes including improvements to the A57 between the M1 and Todwick in Rotherham.

Subject to statutory processes, a scheme to ease congestion on the M1 between junctions 32 – 35a using dynamic hard shoulder running was also given the green light along with a scheme announced in the Spending Review designed to improve the access to Sheffield using managed motorways technology at junctions 28 - 31.

In addition, the Transport Secretary announced a pot of over £600m of funding for further local authority projects. Local authorities will be invited to bid for this funding over the next few months. Councils will be challenged to consider the cost, scope and possibility of local funding when bidding.

In June, the Government suspended all major transport schemes not already under contract and the level of funding required for schemes already under construction is such that it is unlikely that any new schemes will be able to begin construction before 2012/13.

The Todwick scheme is in the "supported group" - having been confirmed, subject to a best and final offer from local authorities and funding will be confirmed in January 2011.

Planning permission for the £12m scheme was secured in 2009 for a dual carriageway between Junction 31 of the M1 and Todwick Crossroads with a new roundabout replacing the existing crossroads.

A "development group" of projects are invited to bid for a share of the £600m pot and includes the Waverley Link Road. Final decisions will be made by the end of 2011.

A "pre-qualification group" includes schemes which either need updated appraisal or have not yet been fully evaluated. This group includes the Northern route of the South Yorkshire Bus Rapid Transit scheme that aims to improve the links between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Philip Hammond said: "Whilst we have had to make some tough choices, I am pleased that spending on transport was treated as a priority for the Government in the Spending Review.

"Taken together, this investment will not only bring benefits in terms of reduced congestion, shorter journey times and more efficient public transport, but also provide a vital economic boost.

"For every pound we spend on Highways Agency schemes, on average we will get back £6 of benefits and in many cases there are even higher returns for local authority schemes."

DFT website


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

News: New economic dynamism in Rotherham


Prime Minister David Cameron highlighted the success of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC) at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham as he set out the Government's plans to back British business and create "a new economic dynamism" that will build confidence and lead to growth and jobs.

In a speech to the CBI conference, The PM announced the creation of a £200m network of technology innovation centres, linking university researchers with business.

He praised the work of the AMRC, as an example of where industry and research organisations work closely together to develop technology that is then cascaded into industry, helping raise the global competitiveness of UK companies.

Mr Cameron said: "These centres will sit between universities and businesses, bringing the two together.

"They won't just carry out their own in-house research, they will spread knowledge too connecting businesses – large and small, new and old – to potential new technologies, making them aware of funding streams and providing access to skills and equipment.

"It's the sort of thing you see in Orgreave, where the University of Sheffield, Rolls Royce and Boeing are all working together or in Germany, where their Fraunhofer Institutes have been crucial in developing the MP3 licence.

"These centres will be great for research, great for business – and they're going to put Britain back at the top table for innovation."

The centres, which will receive the money over the next four years, will be based on the model proposed by Hermann Hauser and James Dyson. Hauser's report, published in April, highlighted that the AMRC's business model is more sustainable as it secures both private sector and public sector funding.

The AMRC identifies, researches and solves advanced manufacturing problems and has over 80 highly qualified researchers and engineers from around the globe.

Funding is secured from a range of organisations; through winning competitive calls for research from the Technology Strategy Board and Research Councils; research projects commissioned by business; and through Tier 1 and Tier 2 sponsors.

Research is carried out on new and exotic materials such as titanium, inconel and composites. The landing gear for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner was developed for Messier-Dowty by engineers in Rotherham.

Joe Anwyl, senior business development manager at the AMP welcomed Mr Cameron's comments saying: "The sort of activities that the Prime Minister is looking for from the new Technology and Innovation Centres is what already happens at the AMP every day, and it's heartening from the comments about the AMRC's work in the speech that the Government see the value of what is done here.

"The great news is that we also have Cti and TWI doing similar work to introduce new technologies in casting, joining and additive processes into industry, and Dormer Tools train customers from many industry sectors in the use of new cutting tools for advanced metal alloys and composites.

"At the AMP we are unique in that companies can co-locate alongside these world-class technology organisations, and not only benefit from utilising the technology developed here, but can also collaborate to exploit new technology and market opportunities."

Councillor Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development Services at Rotherham Council, added: "The AMP has a global reputation for the quality of its advanced manufacturing technology solutions, and with its links to established supply chains, skills and expertise in the Rotherham and wider South Yorkshire area, it would provide an ideal location to base more of the technology and innovation centres announced today."

AMRC website

Images: AMRC


News: Newburgh appoints New Era apprentices


Rotherham-based Newburgh Engineering is celebrating the success of the "New Era" apprenticeship programme, with the appointment of three new trainee engineers.

Samantha King, who is 17 and from Maltby and Aaron Stephenson, who is 17 and from Wickersley have joined Newburgh Engineering having both successfully completed their NVQ Level 2 qualifications at Brinsworth Training in Rotherham and Chloe Jones, who is aged 16 and from Thorpe Hesley, joins the company after achieving her NVQ Level 2 at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology (RCAT).

This number will shortly extend to five new trainee engineers on the New Era programme in November, when two further Apprentices complete their NVQ Level 2 at Brinsworth Training in November.

Newburgh Engineering worked with Brinsworth Training to pioneer a new approach to Apprenticeships, which is designed to create a highly skilled breed of young engineers. The company took matters into its own hands, after finding it extremely difficult to recruit skilled staff of the right calibre.

Vincent Middleton, managing director of Newburgh Engineering, said: "We are delighted to welcome these three young engineers to our business. We recognised some time ago how important it was to invest in training our own apprentices to ensure that they have the skills and abilities to enable us to contribute to this region's reputation for precision engineering on an international scale.

"With the New Era programme, Apprentices spend longer with the training provider learning the required skills to make them more effective in their roles, whilst removing the need for day release. The aim is that when they join a company like ours they are already well on the way to being productive and can make a difference from the start, for the benefit of everyone."

Newburgh Engineering website
Brinsworth Training website

Images: Newburgh Engineering


News: Rags to Rosettes in Rotherham


An enterprising Rotherham woman has taken the reins of her career with her own horse riding business following help from the Rotherham Enterprise Project.

Former health and safety manager Lisa Morgan from Maltby dreamed of starting up her own equestrian company but was unsure how to get into business before contacting the project.

The mother of two said: "Riding horses has always been my passion and working long hours in the health and safety department for Ikea in Rotherham meant spending time with my two young sons, who are aged five and nine, really difficult.

"I'm a single parent and have really fought to get where I am. I just felt ready for a complete life change. So when my mum saw an advert about the Rotherham Enterprise Project offering business advice in a local newspaper, I got in contact and Rags to Rosettes has been up and running since April. It's the best thing I've ever done!"

The Rotherham Enterprise Project, which is part financed by The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), helped Lisa secure a £500 grant and provided essential business knowledge about national insurance and tax needed to become self employed.

As a fully qualified horse riding coach, Lisa is currently working towards more advanced teaching accreditation. She is a groom at a dressage competition yard, competes in affiliated eventing and runs themed pony parties for children's birthdays. She hopes to go into horse breeding next year

Rob Moorhouse, a business coach from the Rotherham Investment and Development Office – an arm of Rotherham Enterprise said: "Giving up a secure job to pursue a career in something you love is not always an easy choice, but Lisa has shown that for her it was a risk worth taking.

"Now her business is reaping the rewards of success and is full of original ideas. We wish her all the best in business and will continue to offer her valuable support."

Rags to Rosettes website
Rotherham Investment an Development Office



Thursday, October 21, 2010

News: Powerstar in custody


Paddington Green Custody Suite in London is to become "greener" with the installation of a Powerstar voltage optimisation system from Rotherham manufacturers EMSc (UK) Limited.

The installation will be part of the second contract awarded by the Metropolitan Police to EMSc (UK) which will see voltage optimisation systems fitted into an additional 13 police stations across the UK's capital.

Powerstar is the only voltage optimisation system wholly designed and manufactured in the UK which works by reducing the the voltage supplied by the National Grid.

Powerstar will enable the police stations to run more cost-effectively by reducing the amount of energy used, also cutting the level of carbon emissions emitted.

Dr Alex Mardapittas, Powerstar designer and managing director of EMSc (UK), said: "Whether you are running a custody suite like the Metropolitan Police or something less sensitive in the manufacturing or retail sector, you still need the electrical supply to plant and equipment to be secure. By delivering only the voltage that is actually needed and through smoothing out the harmonic distortions that's exactly what Powerstar delivers."

"Voltage optimisation is a cost efficient way to control a building's incoming voltage in order to maximise energy savings. Powerstar is the most efficient voltage optimisation system in the world. It can save up to 26.1% of total electricity consumption and related CO2 emissions, all without compromising the supply to electrical equipment."

Powerstar website



News: Digital Region Broadband secures another key partner


Digital Region Broadband (DRBSY Limited) has announced a partnership in which Digital Exchange Yorkshire Limited will take responsibility for delivering high speed broadband services to organisations across Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

It follows from the recently announced partnership in which Lakeside IT will take responsibility for delivering Digital Region services to organisations across Doncaster and South Yorkshire.

DRBSY secured 46,000 sq ft of colocation at the South Yorkshire data centre in Manvers as it signed up to be a provider for the £90m Digital Region. The company manages its own national IP network, used solely for business use and guarantees the highest service levels in the industry.

Neville Wilkinson, technical director, Digital Exchange said: "Digital Exchange has been providing telecoms, IT systems & support for over 15 years.

"The introduction of Digital Region connectivity into our portfolio was a natural fit. We see massive business benefits from this new offering and following careful consideration decided to add to our portfolio, a service which delivers high speed internet connections, yet ones that come backed with a guaranteed level of service."

The Digital Region project will bring continuous 25mb+ broadband to over 97% of South Yorkshire, including 550,000 homes and 1.3 million people. The project is financed by European, regional, local and private investment of over £90 million, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

A recent customer for Digital Exchange, who moved to a new premise on Sheffield Business Park, could only be provided with a speed of 0.25Mb using a traditional broadband connection due to their distance from the BT exchange and the route that the copper cabling took.

This had a significant impact on their business as they are reliant on being able to submit online orders for stock and equipment. It looked as though only an expensive fibre optic leased line would be able to offer the level of performance they required but connectivity using Digital Region was almost a miracle solution to their problem. Even though they were still over 1.5 Km away from their street cabinet (the average is just 500m) the company are now enjoying Internet download speeds in excess of 15Mb and all at the same price as the lesser performing broadband product.

Neville added: "We have another customer who we are currently migrating to a Digital Region connection and as they're located just ten metres away from their street cabinet we hope to break the record for Internet performance for a broadband-based provision in South Yorkshire."

George Taylor, founding partner and CEO of Digital Region Broadband said: "We are very happy to have a partner with the pedigree of Digital Exchange on board. We are already mutually engaged on a number of high profile opportunities and see excellent future growth for both our businesses, driven by our Digital Region. Nick and Neville have a brilliant team and I am confident that they will add huge value to the capabilities that the Digital Region offers."

DRBSY Ltd website


News: Support for Parkgate Shopping plans


The public exhibition at Parkgate Shopping identified overwhelming support for the proposed new ASDA Living Store and enhanced Currys PC World Megastore. Hundreds of visitors attended the one-day exhibition and over 98 per cent expressed their support for the proposals.

Representatives from Parkgate owners, British Land, the Parkgate Management team and staff from ASDA Living and Currys who all attended the exhibition were delighted with the response to their plans.

Denis Copeland, Parkgate Shopping Manager, said: "As this was primarily a consultation exercise about our proposals, the number of visitors exceeded our expectations.

"We have received around 400 responses to date, and are still receiving more, and the overwhelming support, in particular for the arrival of ASDA Living onto the Park, shows that we are moving in the right direction."

RMBC is expected to determine the two planning applications to facilitate ASDA Living and Currys in the next couple of months. Denis added: "We hope that the Council's decision will take into account both the significant number of jobs that are going to be created and the overwhelming support of the local community for these proposals."

Initial plans earlier in the year were refused when the the council considered that the proposals would be likely to have a significant impact upon Rotherham town centre. British Land are appealing against the refusal.

Whilst the purpose of the exhibition was to seek shoppers' views on the proposals, over 30 enquiries were made about likely job vacancies and these have now been passed to the retailers.

Peter Ives, Employer Engagement Manager at Rotherham Jobcentre Plus, who visited the exhibition, confirmed that they would be pleased to participate in a jobs fair at Parkgate should the plans be approved.

"The 110 new jobs expected to be created through these two planning applications are very important to the local economy, and with the 100 jobs that the impending arrival of Best Buy are set to create, we will need to move very quickly."

Parkgate Shopping


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

News: Maplin Electronics in Top Track 250


Rotherham-based retailer, Maplin Electonics has been named amongst Britain's leading mid-market private companies.

With sales of £203.7m, the Manvers company has made it onto the latest Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 250 at number 147, up from 176th last year. Maplin is the highest ranked company in South Yorkshire and 5th across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Top Track 250 company have sales ranging between £140m and £550m, representing the next tier down from the Top Track 100 biggest private companies.

The company's profits for the 12 months up to 2009 were listed as 24.2m and in April, Maplin was been named in the latest Sunday Times Pricewaterhouse Coopers Profit Track 100. The annual league table that ranks Britain's 100 private companies with the fastest-growing profits.

Maplin sells a range of 15,000 products to tech-savvy hobbyists as well as general consumers.

The company's website attracts over 170,000 visitors every day and a network of over 170 retail outlets throughout the UK and Ireland. Maplin has plans to open 12 new stores this year.

Launched by two technology enthusiasts in 1972 who were frustrated by the lack of good quality electronics components, Maplin Electronics became the experts' choice, with a reputation for the best product range and expertise.

The recent profits are a far cry from the early days in Essex when founders, Roger Allen and Doug Simmons, remained in their full-time jobs for two years, and the company didn't make a profit.

In 2008 they moved to a 220,000 sq ft state of the art distribution centre and head office at Manvers in Rotherham.

Maplin website



News: Bramall joins Passivhaus Trust


Rotherham social housing contractor Bramall Construction has become a founder member of the Passivhaus Trust.

Following decades of success on the European mainland, Passivhaus is coming of age in the UK. A newly launched advice and lobbying body, the Passivhaus Trust, will be the front line of Passivhaus promotion in the UK.

It is backed by a group of founder members committed to supporting the Passivhaus approach to constructing ultra low carbon buildings.

Passivhaus is a design methodology for ultra low-energy buildings, promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. There are about 12,500 Passivhaus buildings worldwide, the vast majority of them in Germany and Austria, and the approach is rapidly growing in popularity in the UK as developers and designers consider their options to meet the Government's zero carbon targets.

Neil Cutland, a director of the Passivhaus Trust, said: "There is phenomenal interest in Passivhaus around the world as a robust, proven and cost-effective way to help us cut carbon within the built environment.

"The Trust will be the guardian of the Passivhaus standards in the UK. Members will have access to the latest technical developments and research, written in English for a UK market, and significant support to help implement the standards in their projects."

There are more than 50 Passivhaus projects underway in the UK, and many more designed using Passivhaus principles generally. Passivhaus buildings achieve approximately a 75% reduction in space heating requirements, compared to standard practice for UK new build.

Bramall is working on site to build what are thought to be the first rural Passivhaus accredited homes in the UK at Wimbish, Essex. This 14 dwelling development for Hastoe, an independent registered housing association, follows classic Passivhaus principles of design, specification and construction but adapted for the UK and to allow simultaneous compliance with Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Bramall is already building zero carbon homes to Level 6 of the Code for less than £130,000. They also recently completed one of the UK's largest zero carbon developments in Slough, Berkshire.

Bramall Construction website
Passivhaus Trust website

Images: Bramall


News: Business Link Yorkshire contract


Yorkshire Forward is in negotiations to extend the Business Link Yorkshire contract after securing approval from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to provide continued funding beyond March 2011.

The current contract with Y&H IDB Ltd was due to end on 31 March 2011 but will now be extended for a further period, to bring the service in line with other regions.

In the light of budgetary constraints, the contract extension will see a much reduced service for both start up and established businesses.

In the mean time, Y&H IDB and Yorkshire Forward are finalising the details of the service across the region.

Simon Hill, Executive Director of Business at Yorkshire Forward, said: "We now believe we have secured the best solution available given the difficult times. We are pleased that businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber region will still have access to the excellent service and expertise offered by Business Link Yorkshire.”

Helen West, Chief Executive of Y & H IDB, added: "Whilst we are obviously disappointed that we will be implementing further cuts, we are pleased that the service will continue next year. As always, we remain absolutely committed to delivering the best service we can."

Tony Pedder, Chairman said: "The staff at Business Link Yorkshire have done fantastic work over the past two and a half years – and the quality and impact of the services delivered has increased steadily month on month.

"Their commitment and dedication to our customers has been tremendous – evidenced by a customer satisfaction rating of 90%. As we look to restructure the organisation, we fully appreciate that the next couple of months will be worrying times, but we are committed to supporting our employees through this unsettling process."

Business Link website
Yorkshire Forward website


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

News: Atkins Rotherham aid Forgemasters with nuclear manufacturing


Design experts at Atkins Rotherham have helped Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited (SFIL) in the manufacture of large nuclear reactor parts.

SFIL required a 5.5m diameter rotating table under their largest press, (10,000 tons) so that parts of up to 300 tons can be rotated beneath the press enabling ingots to be forged into the desired shape.

SFIL is the only UK company carrying ASME certification to manufacture civil nuclear castings and forgings and has a long established history of manufacturing for nuclear power production including power generation systems, nuclear fuel transportation and storage and partnerships in the Westinghouse supply chain.

Experts at Atkins had to design a solution that could endure the temperature of the work piece direct from the furnace at 1,250 degrees C and could withstand the maximum forging load even at the edge of the turntable.

The rotating top surface of the table was designed using segments to allow thermal expansion and movement. Beneath these segments, a thicker circular plate transmits the press loads into the base. It is contained in an insulation layer to reduce the heat transfer.

12 hydraulic cylinders are used to lift the circular top plate and the work piece which can have a maximum combined weight of 400 tons. Four more hydraulic motors can then rotate them on a large slew bearing.

The cylinders continue to lower which disconnects the slew bearing from the top plate preventing any of the 10,000 ton press load being transmitted into the slew ring or the hydraulic cylinders.

The table also includes a large central hydraulic cylinder which provides the capability to lift the forged component off the table surface to allow lifting equipment to be secured and lift the forging away.

With the table in place, the forging operation can take place three times a minute with a maximum of a 90 degree table rotation between each forging. The whole forging process lasts for at most one hour.

Atkins, Europe's largest design and engineering consultancy, strengthened its position in the nuclear sector with the acquisition of Rotherham's MG Bennett & Associates in 2008.

They have been involved in the nuclear industry for over 20 years and their mechanical engineering designers have worked on systems for the Sizewell B nuclear power station, lifting frames for nuclear submarines and the design and analysis of nuclear shield doors and restraints.

Atkins Rotherham website
Sheffield Forgemasters website

Images: /


News: Greyhound Stadium opens with support from Macalloy


Rotherham construction specialists, Macalloy, has supplied products for a state-of-the-art stadium in Limerick, Ireland.

Based in Dinnington, Macalloy are world leaders in design, manufacture and supply of threaded bar and cable systems to engineering and construction projects across the globe.

Limerick's €18m stadium at Greenpark opened to the general public earlier this month for a trial run and will officially open on October 22. It arrives at a time when Limerick becomes the European City of Sport in 2011.

The 2,500 sq m four-storey grandstand and terraces have a capacity of 2,900 and also includes a 1,500 sq m office building with new all-weather racetrack, kennel and ancillary blocks. The roof of the main stadium supports a frameless glazing system and has a series of Macalloy 460 tendons used as cantilevered trusses from the back of the stadium.

Adrian Neilan, chief executive of the Irish Greyhound Board said: "The stadium will have a capacity attendance of 2,900, putting it among the top rank of greyhound racing stadia on an international scale. It will boast an impressive 190 seat restaurant, private hospitality suites and gallery bars, all of which will be a significant attraction for people in the Mid-West region.

"It represents a massive vote of confidence in the city of Limerick and the mid west region. These have been difficult times but Limerick will come through and this new facility will be available to host the celebrations when it does."

Other sports projects that have utilised Macalloy systems include the venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg; the main venue for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the City of Manchester Stadium; the Olympia Stadion in Berlin, that hosted six games at the 2006 World Cup; and the Khalifa Stadium in Doha.

Macalloy website


News: Wright Printing Services acquired


Rotherham trade printing specialist, Wright Printing Services has been acquired by Paragon Group UK Ltd.

The subsidiary of the Paragon Group, the document management specialist, has acquired the trade and assets of Wright Printing Services for an undisclosed sum.

With more than 40 years experience, Wright Printing Services offers its customers a range of great quality printed materials including business stationery, promotional materials, laser and continuous forms, NCR sets, books and pads and reel to reel direct mail.

As a trade specialist, Wright will strengthen and complement the portfolio of businesses that Paragon now has focusing on this area.

Iain Black, Paragon Group marketing and sales director said: "Our strategy is clear - we want to continue to invest in order for us to develop and offer a range of products and services to our clients. The integration of Wright Printing Services allows us to demonstrate our commitment to the trade market."

Wright Printing Services Managing Director, Ian Wright, added: "The Paragon Group is a major pan-European player within the industry and to be part of such a Group provides Wright's with a world of opportunity. The group felt that our offering was complementary to the portfolio of services already offered."

Entrepreneurs Ian Wright and Emma Dutton bought the firm from Nigel Dace and Alison Murrie in 2008. They ran the business since 1986 following their parents Keith and Joyce Dace, who established the firm in 1970.

WPS employs 40 staff and occupies 26,000 sq ft premises on Hellaby Industrial Estate.

This deal forms part of a wider strategy of growth for the Paragon Group, which has seen the business purchase over 12 businesses in the last decade.

Wright Printing Services website
Paragon Group UK Ltd website



Monday, October 18, 2010

News: Croft Electrical Engineering builds on nationwide contracts


Rotherham based Croft Electrical Engineering has secured multiple contracts worth £1.8m across the Yorkshire and South East regions.

A total of seven contracts have been won by the company, which will see Croft supply specialist electrical, fire and security systems.

Four of the contracts won by Croft are in the region, including Sheffield University to supply a complete rewire of the fire alarm system to three buildings across the city campus.

The electrical engineers will also complete work to create a brand new state of the art dance studio at the Mount St Mary's College, complete with new lighting and sound system for the students to enjoy.

Other contacts include completing electrical work for a new development of commercial projects and apartments in Mansfield, and also a big contract for NTL Rotherham which will also involve Croft completing electrical work within the property.

The recent success also includes Croft securing phase three of a five phase project for the document storage facility, Crown Records Management in Enfield.

Croft will complete work on providing an advanced fire detection system to protect the millions of files, tapes and discs, stored at Crown Records, in addition to automated surface mounted lighting which forms part of a remote building management system, allowing operators to constantly supervise the building's operations.

The other two contracts are for the South East region completing work on state of the art executive housing in Islington, and also electrical work for another document storage warehouse in Essex.

David Cocker, director of Croft Electrical Engineering said: "The recent contract successes are recognition of the hard work the team from across the sales office, to the people on site have put in over the past few months.

"Not only are we adding new customers to our client list, but we are also retaining our existing clients through maintaining strong relationships. I think that the reason why we have managed a high client retention rate is because of the wealth of experience we are able to offer through high technical capabilities providing high level service in a niche market."

Joining the Horbury Group of companies in 2008, Croft Electrical Engineering specialise services including planned maintenance, facilities management, fire alarm systems, security systems, data systems, power and lighting and access control.

Horbury Group website

Images: Horbury Group


News: Digital Region Broadband announce partnership with Lakeside IT


Digital Region Broadband (DRBSY Limited) and Lakeside IT have announced a partnership in which Lakeside IT will take responsibility for delivering Digital Region services to organisations across Doncaster and South Yorkshire.

George Taylor, founding partner and CEO of Digital Region Broadband, said: "We are very pleased to announce this agreement. It represents a significant step in forwarding the delivery of transformational broadband into the Doncaster area.

"We are delighted to be working closely with Lakeside, whose core values we share, Lakeside clients will benefit from our powerful network capabilities complimented by their excellent support."

DRBSY secured 46,000 sq ft of colocation at the South Yorkshire data centre in Manvers as it signed up to be a provider for the £90m Digital Region. The company manages its own national IP network, used solely for business use and guarantees the highest service levels in the industry.

Ashley Harris, Managing Director, Lakeside IT, added: "The Digital Region network is the largest and most powerful broadband network in South Yorkshire and its growing rapidly.

"Partnering with DRBSY will allow our business to benefit from many opportunities driven by this new capability, we have deep knowledge of the local market and envisage taking advantage of a wide spectrum of opportunities, ranging from helping local businesses reduce costs through to enabling new communication channels such as video conferencing."

The Digital Region project will bring continuous 25mb+ broadband to over 97% of South Yorkshire, including 550,000 homes and 1.3 million people. The project is financed by European, regional, local and private investment of over £90 million, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

DRBSY Ltd website
Lakeside IT website



News: Fripp Design and Research to showcase emerging technologies in healthcare


Innovative Rotherham company Fripp Design and Research are set to take part in the Emerging Technologies in Healthcare half-day seminar in Leeds next week.

Electronics Yorkshire is organising the free networking seminar, in conjunction with Medilink, that will bring together leaders in electronics, regulatory affairs and medical devices and will focus on the growing need for electronics, electronic sensors and wireless technology in medical devices.

The seminar is aimed at product developers, technologists and individuals involved in R&D, providing an invaluable insight into the different perspectives from across the sectors. The main focus of the seminar will be a series of presentations from companies and organisations in the healthcare sector, as well as case studies from companies involved in woundcare and diagnostic technologies.

The presentations will be delivered by Yorkshire-based organisations including: Medipex, highlighting its activities and examples of innovations it is currently progressing; and York EMC, focusing on what is required for the CE marking of electronics and medical products.

Experts from Fripp Design and Research will explain the layered fabrication opportunities in delivering healthcare solutions.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, Fripp Design and Research is one of the UK's leading product design, research and business consultancies.

Their expertise in the medical field was recognised last year when The Wellcome Trust invested £500,000 with the University of Sheffield and Fripp Design in the rapid manufacture of soft tissue prosthetics.

The three year project will develop a system to fabricate soft tissue prostheses for patients suffering from facial deformities as a result of disease or serious accidents.

From this project, a number of new applications have emerged and Fripp Design and Research believes there is an opportunity to replicate the success of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing the in aerospace sector, within the healthcare sector.

The event takes place at Electronics Yorkshire in Leeds on October 27.

Fripp Design and Research website
Electronics Yorkshire website


Friday, October 15, 2010

News: Council secures land for Rotherham United community stadium


Rotherham Council has completed a land deal that will enable Rotherham United to progress plans for a community stadium on the edge of the town centre.

The deal is to purchase 10.85 acres at the Guest and Chrimes site from Evans of Leeds for over £2m.

The club themselves has secured 4.5 acres of adjacent land where the now demolished Gloystarne distribution warehouse was situated.

The council is confident that the project will have a big impact on the continued regeneration of the area and provide a boost to the town, the fans, residents and town centre businesses.

On a key Rotherham Renaissance site, the proposals would not just create a community stadium but provide high-quality buildings, public spaces and the opportunity for further facilities to be provided within the site, an enhanced vibrancy to the town centre, opportunities for learning and local employment during the construction period, community-based sports-learning and improved pedestrian links.

In an update to the council's Regeneration Scrutiny Panel, Paul Woodcock, director of planning and regeneration, also reported that an agreement between the council and the club for the lease of the land has been reached in principle and is now being progressed legally.

It will be the responsibility of the football club to secure the finance for the construction of the stadium.

Rotherham United submitted its formal outline planning application for the new 12,000 all-seater stadium in July and it is now going through the statutory consultation stage. It is intended that the application be submitted to the council's planning board in November with detailed plans and a reserved matters application considered in due course.

The club hopes that the new stadium will be built for the start of the 2012/13 season.

Rotherham United website

Images: Rotherham United / Signet Planning


News: Labfacility secures investment for growth


Rotherham-based, Labfacility, a leading manufacturer of temperature sensors for industry, has secured loans totaling £90,000 to support its growth following the recession.

Finance Yorkshire has given their support to the company with a £50,000 business loan, while Labfacility has also gained a £40,000 loan from Donbac, an Enterprise Agency and Loan Fund in Doncaster.

The investments will help Labfacility with capital investment in new tooling and to redevelop the company website with a new e-commerce facility.

The Dinnington company is one of the largest producer of temperature sensors for the aerospace and automotive industries, universities and research facilities, and exports 60 per cent of its products to more than 80 countries worldwide.

Major blue-chip clients include BAE, Eurotherm, GlaxoSmithKline, H J Heinz, Honeywell Control Systems, ICI, Jaguar Cars and Lucas Aerospace.

Last year Labfacility secured £100,000 of investment via Yorkshire Forward's Transition Loan Fund to complement a funding injection from the company's directors, which provided working capital for the company and enabled them to reduce their overdraft requirements.

Martin Riddett, managing director of Labfacility, said: "A year ago we centralised our operations to Dinnington to cope with the economic climate and the site is now our main production facility with 29 staff.

"This has helped us become more efficient and we are now starting to see an up-turn. We previously received investments from South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF) and we were very pleased that Finance Yorkshire is now up and running and has started to make investments.

"It had been a tough year for the industry, but we'd enjoyed a very good track record with SYIF and needed further investment to take advantage of the growing market. Gap funder Finance Yorkshire came around at a time when we needed further investment to continue our growth and they have been very supportive."

Labfacility, which also has an office in Bognor Regis, is now looking to add to their workforce in Dinnington by recruiting quality manufacturing staff.

David Ward, from Finance Yorkshire: added: "We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Labfacility, a company which is a leader in its field. This latest investment will ensure their facility in Dinnington continues to grow, attracting new work both in the UK and abroad, which will ultimately increase employment for the area."

Helping a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development, Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Labfacility website
Finance Yorkshire website

Images: Finance Yorkshire


News: Manheim closes Rotherham auction site


Manheim Auctions has closed its car auction centre in Rotherham.

The company has been trading in Rotherham for over 20 years at the six acre site at Canklow that offered 30,000 vehicles per year.

For ten years it traded as Independent Car Auctions, the original name of the company owned by the Bailey family which teamed up in the mid 1990s with Manheim in the USA to form the UK and European arm of the global auction giant.

Mike Pilkington, managing director at Manheim Remarketing said: "The site at Rotherham is one of the very few locations where we do not own the freehold. This makes it very difficult for us to invest in re-development and site enhancement measures to bring facilities up to the necessary standards, in order to sustain our business in forthcoming years.

"With the lease expiring early next year, we have taken the decision to relocate all activities to our neighbouring Manheim Auctions locations. The vast majority of the main sales programme will be integrated into our auction facilities in Leeds, Mansfield and Knottingley, which are all within 30 miles distance.

"We are clearly very sad to be leaving Rotherham after such a long track record here, but the decision has been taken in the best interests of the business and ultimately our customers.

"Whilst we have unfortunately had to put the staff at Rotherham at risk of redundancy, it is very much our intention to relocate as many of them as practically possible to other Manheim locations.

"The closure of our centre at Rotherham is in no way related to recessionary pressures. It is simply down to the restrictions that the current lease agreement."

Manheim website

Images: Manheim


Thursday, October 14, 2010

News: Ministry of Food Rotherham set to become a social enterprise


The Ministry of Food in Rotherham town centre is set to relaunch as a social enterprise.

Celebrity chef and healthy-eating campaigner, Jamie Oliver expressed fears last month that the Ministry of Food could be a victim of funding cuts.

The centre, in All Saints' Square, opened in 2008 as part of Oliver's TV series and remained open with the help of £130,000 a year from Rotherham Council.

In a report to the meeting of deputy leader of Rotherham Council, Matt Gladstone, the council's assistant chief executive, detailed how efforts are underway to sustain the project beyond the current financial year due to its high profile, success and the ongoing demand for its services.

Last year, the centre taught 6,500 people how to cook using fresh ingredients. These included everyone from firemen to teachers, care-home workers to school kids - when the centre put up a poster in the window advertising summer holiday classes for kids, the places were filled within 24 hours. Classes are consistently booked out for months in advance.

With the support of a Social Enterprise Advisor based at Voluntary Action Rotherham, a draft business plan has been developed.

The plan includes a new café concept, which will see the centre offering a cookery demonstration each week-day lunch time and selling take-away portions of the meal of the day along with a recipe card.

Income would come from lessons, outreach work and café sales, and a range of other potential income streams are currently being investigated. These include a concept being developed to sell sponsorship packages to local businesses, which include tailored cookery courses for the businesses workforce.

Steps are now being taken to establish the Ministry of Food as a social enterprise in the form of a company limited by guarantee. This will involve establishing a board of directors, including membership from Rotherham Council, NHS Rotherham and Rotherham College of Arts and Technology. Social enterprise status will also open up opportunities to bid for grant funding not available to the project in its current guise.

The unit has already undergone a transformation with a new shop front, signage and seating area. From Monday October 18, the Ministry will be selling take-away coffee, tea and healthy home-made muffins as well as home-made soups and freshly baked bread rolls.

At lunchtimes, the Ministry will offer a set menu which, for the opening week, features chilli and rice, Moroccan lamb and cous cous, pasta, curry and fajitas.

Produce used in the Ministry of Food's Meal of the Day will be sourced from around the local area with food from places such as Andrews Butchers, Pickles Farm, Eastwood Fisheries and KD Davis Fruit and veg. All these places are within walking distance of the Ministry of Food's premises.

Lisa Taylor, who manages the Ministry of Food centre in Rotherham, said the centre does not view itself as in competition with other town centre businesses.

"Our priorities continue to be helping Rotherham people to improve their eating habits, and to learn more about cooking healthy food.

"The work of the centre is already bringing a huge range of other economic benefits - not least to the local suppliers from whom we source our vegetables, fish, meat and dairy products.

"Securing accreditation as a social enterprise will reflect the hard work of the Ministry team here in Rotherham in enabling the centre to stand on its own two feet. It will also enable us to access new funding streams so that we can continue to achieve our main purpose, which is creating a passion for cooking healthy food here in Rotherham."

Rotherham Ministry of Food website



News: William Hill takes space in Rotherham town centre


Britain's biggest bookmaker William Hill has taken an empty retail unit in Rotherham town centre.

Local agents, Burgess Commercial, acted on behalf of the landlord in a new letting at 8 Upper Millgate, previously occupied by Jump Estate Agents.

The premises, which extend to approximately 746 sq ft occupies a prime, attractive position within the town centre, within a very successful established parade of retail units between All Saints' Square and Corporation Street.

A spokesperson from The William Hill Organisation said: "We expect to employ six new members of staff which is obviously good news for Rotherham and we are very excited by this latest acquisition."

Tim O'Connell, Business and Retail Investment Manager for Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO), added: "It is good news to see another business is investing in the Rotherham town centre. This latest tenant will join over thirty national chains and independent retailers who have chosen to open in the town centre during 2010."

The letting is the latest by the agents which includes Galliford Try Rail, who are the main contractors for the £7m redevelopment of Rotherham Central railway station, taking 1,146 sq ft at the Bradmarsh Business Park, Templeborough.

Burgess Commercial have also completed two lettings in Doncaster for KAT Motorsport Ltd and The Emporium.

Burgess Commercial is headed by Paul Burgess and Neil Keally who collectively have over 45 years combined experience in commercial property in the Rotherham and South Yorkshire area.

Burgess Commercial website


News: Europe's largest indoor scare attraction comes to Rotherham


Hybrid X, the largest live indoor scare attraction is coming to Magna in Rotherham this half term.

Utilising over 30 live actors, a host of special effects, lighting, smoke, loud music and sounds, Hybrid X has recreated a laboratory complex with 1,000 feet of dark twisting corridor space.

Gary Crompton, set designer said: "I can't wait to see the reaction on people faces, the last scare attraction we built was called Deranged and attracted several hundred visitors - I saw grown men cry coming out of it!

"Hybrid X is a much larger set and the cast are busy preparing to make people feel very uncomfortable who enter."

Joanna Dunn, Marketing Manager at Magna added: "Magna is a perfect setting for the scare attraction as the former Templebrough steel works has a dark and eerie atmosphere already, the size of the building is huge!

"We can't wait for Hybrid X, it will give our customers something completely different and for those who don't want to enter they can enjoy the pavilions and outdoor play areas, workshops and even a zip wire inside the building."

Hybrid X will run from October 21 - 31.

Hybrid X website
Magna website

Images: Hybrid X


News: Crossroads launch Nissan franchise in Rotherham


Crossroads Truck and Bus has launched a Nissan Light Commercial Vehicle franchise in Rotherham.

Established in 1956, Crossroads Truck and Bus is a privately owned Volvo commercial truck dealer group and was one of the first companies in the country to be appointed as an independent Volvo distributor for Yorkshire.

The Rotherham site at Canklow now distributes and maintains light commercial vans from Nissan for all businesses, complementing the overall Crossroads range which covers heavy trucks to small vans.

Knowing that vehicle uptime is critical, it is the region's only LCV dealership to offer 24/7 servicing, whereby an owner can bring a van in for attention in the middle of the night and be back on the road again first thing in the morning.

Ian Middleton, Divisional Sales Manager for Rotherham said: "We are available at our customers' convenience, 365 days a year, so they can concentrate solely on their business commitments."

Earlier this year Crossroads Truck and Bus in Rotherham supplied distribution company Fowler Welch with their 100th Volvo truck.

Crossroads Truck & Bus website

Images: Crossroads Truck & Bus


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

News: Planning secured for RCAT town centre campus


Rotherham College of Arts and Technology (RCAT) has been granted planning permission for the first phase of redevelopment at their town centre campus.

Designed by Bond Bryan, the new three storey building will be erected on the site of the recently-demolished Floreat House on Howard Street. It will provide a new focal point entrance for the campus, with classrooms and facilities equipped to modern standards.

The new building will also link to the existing advanced manufacturing facilities and provide an improved environment for the development of higher level and technical skills courses.

The value of the project is £8.15m in total with funding coming from a combination of a loan of £5m from Rotherham Council and the use of some of the college's own financial reserves to the value of £3.15m.

Bond Bryan associate director Bruce Raw said: "The college's intention is to rebuild the entire town centre campus over five phases as funds become available.

"This [first phase] comprises 1,975 sq m of new building teaching space and 1,200 sq m of refurbished accommodation. This will provide a new entrance for the college and create a brand new identity for the college in the town centre, together with high quality teaching and support accommodation for enrolment and student support services as well as other functions.

The college is hopeful that the new building work will be complete by August 2011.

RCAT website
Bond Bryan website

Images: Bond Bryan


News: Connect-IP helps historic school move into the 21st century


A historic West Yorkshire school has continued its transformation into a 21st century facility thanks to the IT expertise of Connect-IP in Rotherham.

The Brooksbank School Sports College in Elland, whose history stretches as far back as 1712, worked during the summer to improve its access control systems to prevent unauthorised entry into the campus for the start of the new school term.

More than 1,600 students attend Brooksbank, along with 110 teaching staff and a further 100 support staff. The new system, by the Wales Bar company, includes eight new access controls to the outer entrances of the large campus.

It is the first school building project for Connect-IP, which is looking at the education market to showcase their expertise in IT cabling infrastructure and surveillance equipment.

Mark Richardson, director at Connect-IP, said: "Every school must assess the usefulness of its security systems, whether it is a new build or an old one. Brooksbank was suffering real frustration with their existing access control system it was too rigid and inflexible.

"Administrating it had become difficult and inconvenient. Our new control system is networked to enable it to be managed from anywhere in the school with the appropriate permission. It is more efficient and will be adaptable to new technologies and future developments, improving the longevity of the system."

Jane Blackburn, school administrator at Brooksbank School, added: "As with all large scale public buildings controlling access is the upmost importance and through the support of Connect-IP, we now have the technology to provide a modern facility to both students and teachers.

"Having the new system in place will now mean that the only entrance for visitors into the school is through reception where they can be properly registered and accounted for. It can be used both in and out of school hours and will be controlled by the administration and premises team."

Staff and sixth formers will be provided with access swipe cards which double up as identity badges to allow them entry to any area of the school.

Connect-IP website

Images: Connect-IP

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