All posts by Linda Andrews

Luxury Listing Revealed For Care Home Group

Yorkshire-based care home company, Springfield Healthcare has announced two of its eight care homes in the region have been listed in the Knight Frank Luxury Care Home Guide 2023.

The guide is an annual publication that showcases 100 of the finest care homes in the UK. Springfield Healthcare’s Harcourt Gardens in Harrogate, which opened its doors in December 2021 has been listed, alongside Chocolate Works in York, which was also listed in 2022 and 2021.

Founded in 1967, Springfield Healthcare currently employs 1,500 staff across seven care homes within the region, head office and domiciliary care, with an annual turnover exceeding £30million.

The prestigious guide collated by global property advisor, Knight Frank was launched in 2016 and comprises the UK’s Top 100 Luxury Care Homes based on an exceptional level of care, luxury facilities and the building set within the finest surroundings.

Chocolate Works, which is located in the historic Terry’s Chocolate Factory building in York, offers residential and dementia care to up to 82 residents, with a focus on providing a homely environment for residents in a unique and welcoming setting.

Harcourt Garden’s is a state-of-the-art home situational in a purpose-built building close to the centre of Harrogate. Due to the attention to detail, it took seven years to go from vision to completion and today the home provides residential, dementia and respire care with a focus on luxury and independent living to up to 115 residents.

Speaking on behalf of Springfield Healthcare, CEO, Graeme Lee said,” We are thrilled that two of our care homes have been recognised in the Knight Frank Luxury Care Home Guide.”

“It is a testament to the dedication of our staff and our commitment to providing exceptional care in the finest of surroundings.”

“All our homes are unique and are designed to provide person-centered care to older people who require a range of different care needs. As a company, we continue to strive for excellence in all aspects of our care.”

East Yorkshire Chicken Business Reaches Food Award Final

The team at an East Yorkshire poultry business is celebrating after reaching the final of a regional food and drink business award.

Middleton on the Wolds business, Soanes Poultry has been shortlisted in the Best New Food Product category in the Azets Food and Drink Business Awards.

Soanes Poultry’s MD, Ben Lee said: “We’re very pleased to be shortlisted in this prestigious award in such a competitive field. Our Higher Welfare chickens have 20% more room than our standard chickens and lots of enrichment items to stimulate their natural behaviours. Credit for reaching the final goes to the Clive Soanes Broilers team who rear the chickens.”

Soanes Poultry faces competition from fellow finalists, Vegan Fried Chickn Foods Ltd, The Bottled Baking Co, Legless Foods Ltd, Northern Bloc and fellow Yorkshire Wolds business, Charlie & Ivy’s. The team will learn whether they have been successful at an awards ceremony on Thursday 27th April at the Parade Ring Restaurant, York Racecourse.

Soanes Poultry was founded by Tom Soanes and has been rearing and preparing chicken for 75 years. It sells chicken to butchers and independent retailers throughout Yorkshire and to wholesalers and catering butchers nationwide.

Langcliffe International Becomes Employee Owned

Langcliffe International, Europe’s leading mergers & acquisitions buy-side deal originator, has become employee owned in a transaction organised by Azets.

Langcliffe based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire was set up in 2012 by Mark Eardley (Managing Director) and Helen Postlethwaite (Commercial Director). The business employs 17 professionals and a further 5 consultants. It has grown rapidly in recent years across Europe capitalising on unrivalled relationships with vendor advisors, corporates and private equity firms. The company introduces acquisition opportunities in a value range between £3m and £100m.

The business attributes its continuing success to the trust it has developed with its vendor advisors, its unique model backed by bespoke operating systems and rapid growth in Europe from where it currently generates in excess of 50 per cent of its revenue. Further growth will come from developing in the US and Asia.

Mark Eardley, the Managing Director is transferring 73% of his shares to the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Under the move, all employees will benefit financially from the future success of the company and Mark Eardley and Helen Postlethwaite will stay in the business. The EOT Board will comprise Helen Postlethwaite, Chairman, Mark Eardley and Langcliffe’s four Managers, Poppy Briggs ( Europe ), Maryia Amrez ( Private Equity ) , Joanna Hughes ( Corporates) and Holly Cooper ( Vendor Advisors ).

Helen Postlethwaite commented “We have deliberately adopted a policy of growing our own talent and empowering our staff to make decisions themselves. A lot of our success is based on their ability, loyalty, and understanding and advocation of our systems which are critical”.

Mark Eardley said: “Selling the company to our employees through the creation of the EOT ensures the stability of the business for the long-term and supports our desire for further international growth. This move recognises the value that our fantastic team has delivered over the years, and it is a very exciting opportunity for each individual to take a pivotal role as the business progresses. Creating a great place to work is fundamental to our business principles, and we’re very excited about the next stage of the journey.”

Langcliffe International was advised by Tariq Javaid, Corporate Finance Partner, Richard Weston, Corporate Finance Manager and Karen Sadler, Senior Tax Manager at Azets. Jonathan Simms and Kaira Clarehugh at Clarion provided legal advice.

Tariq Javaid, Corporate Finance Partner at Azets said: “Langcliffe International is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values, and an emphasis on the quality of its people. It has been a privilege to work with Mark, Helen, and the team in assisting them with this transition and I am confident that the company has a bright future as an employee-owned business”.

‘’Azets advised on 6 EOTs in Yorkshire in 2022 and we’ve already got several more in the pipeline this year. They are an increasingly popular option for the transition of ownership, given the wide range of benefits they can provide to the business, its owners and employees.”

Employee-ownership grows – Langcliffe International joins many well-known firms such as John Lewis, Richer Sounds, and ‘Tiptree’ preserve maker Wilkin & Sons in becoming employee owned. The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) says more than 1200 businesses have now adopted employee ownership and the sector has more than doubled in the past three years.

Recent converts include Go Ape, the treetop adventure company, Riverford, the organic vegetable box company and Aardman, the Bristol-based animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit.

Senior Appointment For Digital Marketing Agency

Leeds-based multi-national web development and digital marketing agency GRM Digital has appointed a client services director to strengthen its growing team.

Mike Guy joins the company with over a decade’s experience in digital transformation and strategy. Coming from MMT Digital, Mike specialised in delivering strategic client services for digital transformation initiatives in both the public and private sectors, but especially focused on the transport industry. Mike boasts a broad range of experience in facilitating programmes of work to define and deliver equitable digital experiences, conversion uplifts and enterprise level programmes of continuous improvement.

Mike joins GRM Digital in the newly created role to focus on the value proposition of GRM Digital for its long-term clients and create a truly customer centric mindset within the commercial team, providing strategic direction for their existing client base as well as further accelerating growth.

GRM Digital, founded in 2009 by Nej Gakenyi has experienced over 100% growth in the last two years and now has offices in Leeds, London, Sarajevo, Amsterdam, and Islamabad. The company works with a range of world-leading brands to enhance their online presence and clients include Danone, Eurotunnel Freight, Club Car, and The Royal College of General Practitioners.

Mike Guy comments: “I am delighted to join GRM at such an exciting time; the company has gone through a period of significant growth and it’s a great opportunity for me to build on the excellent foundations which already exist, with a truly great team and client base to support. I’m looking forward to strengthening GRM’s growth even further.”

Nej Gakenyi, CEO and founder of GRM Digital adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Mike to our expanding business. This is a brand-new role created as we recognise the need for businesses to continue to unlock the potential of the digital market and thrive online.”

“We have ambitious plans to turbocharge our growth even further over the next few years and Mike will play a big part in helping GRM and our clients to capitalise on digital transformation.”

Threads of survival at Halifax Central Library

A powerful and moving collection of textiles and handmade quilts documenting the COVID-19 pandemic, is now on display at Halifax Central Library.

The Threads of Survival exhibition features a selection of quilts and textile pieces produced during the COVID lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.

The project began in August 2020, where people were invited to sew their stories and experiences of pandemic life and to reflect on the importance of the NHS in our lives. In the true tradition of community quilting the exhibition features work from both professional artists and first-time quilters.

The project is led by national campaign organisation, 999 Call for the NHS, and features 28 quilts made by 140 people from West and South Yorkshire, as well as Birmingham, County Durham, East Anglia, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Somerset and Surrey.

The exhibition comes to Halifax as part of a nationwide tour that has seen the quilts visiting locations across the country, including Gawthorpe Hall in Burnley, the Royal Museum in Truro and Dewsbury Minster. After Halifax it will be moving to Rotherham Minster, in April.

More than two years after the start of the Threads of Survival project, 999 Call for the NHS is still facilitating the creation of powerful textile pieces and quilts which tell people’s stories of life during COVID and their feelings about the NHS. The latest quilts respond to the question, “Where are we at now?”’

Threads of Survival is available to view during library opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10am to 5.30pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. It will be on display until Friday 14 April 2023.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Councillor Jenny Lynn, said: “The COVID pandemic and associated lockdowns affected everyone in different ways, and this innovative project documents the experiences of people around the country during this moment in history.”

“We’re pleased to be able to bring the exhibition to the Central Library in Halifax. Each panel of the colourful quilts tells a different story and it’s fascinating to view the artwork and technical skills which are contained in the quilts.”

Steven Carne, Chair of 999 Call for the NHS who led the development of the project said:

“We’ve had a fantastic response from our first exhibitions and the collection is growing every month. We think people will be blown away with the diverse themes and images. Our month at the British Textile Biennial in 2021 resulted in tears, laughter and even arguments in front of the quilts. It’s not for the faint-hearted.”

Historic Scunthorpe Chapel Goes Under The Hammer

The former Methodist chapel in Ealand near Scunthorpe is to go under the hammer next month as part of an online property auction held by Sheffield firm Mark Jenkinson, which is now part of the Eddisons property group.

The chapel, which was built in 1882 and was a place of worship for over 130 years, has been given a £200,000 guide price in the 4 April auction.

Standing on a 0.3 acre site, the 1,600 sq ft building is a landmark property in the village and has potential for conversion into residential or other uses according to the auctioneer.

Mark Jenkinson director, Adrian Little, said: “This is such an attractive building which carries with it a lot of history, making it a unique property in the village. Planning consent would of course need to be gained by any prospective buyer but there are multiple imaginative new uses the chapel could be put to and it would be great to see it gain a new lease of life.”

He added: “Ealand is a sought-after location, set in the North Lincolnshire countryside, close to both Scunthorpe and Doncaster and with Crowle train station on the doorstep as well as superb motorway links. Not surprisingly our team have already had significant interest in this historic property.”

University Appoints New Chair Of Council

The University has announced that Dr Alice Maynard CBE will be the new Chair of its governing body.

The University’s Council is responsible for the development and overall performance of the University, with the Chair setting out a challenging but supportive environment to enable senior leadership teams to deliver against its institutional strategy.


Alice brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in senior leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.

An experienced non-executive director and trustee, Alice is currently a Non-Executive Director at the Financial Conduct Authority and until recently, held similar roles at the HMRC as well as Transport for London, where she was also Chair of its Independent Disability Advisory Group.

In addition to her extensive experience in leadership and governance, Alice is also a highly regarded expert in the field of disability rights, having been recognised with a CBE for her services to disabled people.


She is founder and Director of Future Inclusion, an organisation working to encourage good governance, inclusive practice and ethical business. Prior to this, Alice forged a career in IT and was also Head of Disability Strategy for Network Rail. She was also Chair of the UK’s leading disability equality charity, Scope, from 2008 – 2014.

Alice graduated from the University of York with a BA in Languages, and also holds an MBA and a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA).

Since graduating, she continues to support York’s fundraising efforts and received an honorary degree from the University in 2014 for her role in championing inclusivity and access. Until recently, Alice also served on the advisory board of the University’s new School for Business and Society.


Alice said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to contribute to an organisation that has a really strong sense of ambition and purpose.”

“For anyone choosing to pursue higher education, it can be truly transformational, with university research and education helping build a society that is strong, resilient and innovative in its thinking.”

“Taking on the role of Chair of Council – and working in higher education – will be a new experience for me, but one which I will relish with York.”

Public Good

The Chair of Council does not become involved in the day-to-day executive management of the University, which is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Charlie Jeffery, said: “We welcome Alice to York to be our new Chair of Council. The appointment panel identified her as being highly personable, pragmatic and passionate about the role universities can play.”

“This certainly resonates with York’s public good mission, through her unstinting commitment to inclusion and how she has championed this for the benefit of others.”

“With Alice’s experience, expertise and values, she is an ideal leader for the Council as our governing body and trustee board.”


Alice begins her tenure as Chair of Council on 1 August 2023, and joined Council as an independent member in the first instance in early March 2023.

The University has also expressed its gratitude to outgoing Chair, Denise Jagger, for her invaluable contribution to the University’s governance over the past 10 years, including the last five years as Chair of Council.

Fostering Mother Provides A Home For Life

Debbie Pike has been fostering for more than 10 years, and this Mother’s Day she wants to educate more people about fostering in the hope that others will consider stepping forward to change a child’s life.

Alongside husband Nick, Debbie is currently caring for two young people, both in their teens, who have been in the couple’s care for more than 10 years.

The couple’s own children fled the nest, Debbie sold her business, and they decided to start fostering with the help of a little bit of encouragement from two friends who were already foster parents.

One of the young people Debbie cares for, Ellie, is now 18. Debbie said: “I genuinely believe in ‘nurture over nature’. It’s completely true in Ellie’s case. You can make all the difference in their outlook on life.”

Debbie and Nick have been supported every step of the way on her fostering journey, and her foster children really are now just like her own.

Debbie said: “My birth daughter has always accepted Ellie and her brother as siblings. Even though there’s a massive age gap – because my daughter’s forty this year – she thinks of Ellie as her little sister. She never refers to her as her ‘foster sister’ – it’s always ‘my sister’.”

One of the things that Debbie has noticed is that although there are similarities to raising her own children, fostering has presented different challenges due to the history of the children she cares for.

Debbie said: “I’m quite protective and I’ve been called a lioness because I will fight for my children. It was obviously different in the beginning because I knew my children from birth and I knew what they’d been through.”

Debbie acknowledges that fostering doesn’t come without its difficulties, but she fully believes that ‘nurture over nature’ can transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

She said: “I could sit and cry for both of them having learnt about what they have been through, and sometimes I do.”

“I feel so privileged that they have been able to open up and disclose some of the things that they went through.”

Debbie believes there is work to be done in educating people about what foster care involves and how rewarding it can be, she said: “Campaigns like the John Lewis Christmas one which really celebrate foster care are just wonderful. We need more people to welcome these vulnerable children and young people into their homes.”

“Since we started fostering all those years ago, while there can be difficult days, we honestly haven’t looked back since.”

If you would like to find out more about Orange Grove Foster Care or how to become a foster parent, visit the website here.

Live Theatre To The Yorkshire Wolds

An East brewery is bringing live theatre to the Yorkshire Wolds with an alternative take on Shakespeare.

Touring company 440 Theatre will visit Wold Newton based Wold Top Brewery on 28th July to deliver a performance of Shakespeare with a difference.

As part of a double bill, the troupe of four actors will be performing Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in one evening. Act One sees the 440 team wrestle with a side-splitting Macbeth, followed by an outrageous take on Rot in Act Two.

“We can’t wait to see two of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies transformed into comedies. 440 have been delighting audiences up and down the country with their fast-paced, in-your-face productions that offer an alternative take on some of the world’s most famous plays,” said Wold Top director Kate Balchin.

440 director Dom Gee-Burch said: “Stripping the narrative to its core, we keep the essence of Shakespeare’s words alive to help his magnificent stories shine at the heart of our shows. Anarchy is equally balanced with a safe and family-friendly environment.”

“Our Shakespeare Double Bills are quintessentially British in their style of comedy. It’s pantomime meets theatre in the park, and we can’t wait to bring it to the Yorkshire Wolds for our first performance at a brewery!”

The performance will take place outdoors, with a contingency of bringing it indoors in case of inclement weather.

The live theatre night is one of a series of events throughout the year, including a charity quiz, a beer festival and an open day to celebrate the brewery’s 20th anniversary.

Wold Top was founded in 2003 and is located on the Mellor family farm at Hunmanby Grange near Filey. The team uses home-grown barley and water from the farm’s borehole to produce a range of award-winning cask, keg and bottled beers available throughout Yorkshire and nationwide.

440 Theatre was formed to provide live-action Shakespeare that educates and entertains in as little as 40 minutes. In 2021 they received Arts Council England support to help develop their production of Macbeth that toured nationally and inspired the Shakespeare Double Bills.

Driffield Singer To Perform At Whisky Distillery

Driffield singer, songwriter and guitarist Andy Stones has been wooed out of semi-retirement to perform at Spirit of Yorkshire’s next Distillery Session on 29th April.

“Back out of ‘retirement’, we’re extremely excited to welcome the wonderful Andy Stones back to the Pot Still Coffee Shop stage. Writing and playing on and off for 20 years, he’s picked up varied influences along the way from people such as Paul Simon, John Martyn and Clive Gregson, but his style is very much his own. He’ll be playing a mix of covers and his own writing, and we can’t wait to be singing along again,” said Spirit of Yorkshire marketing director Jenni Ashwood.

Spirit of Yorkshire co-founders Tom Mellor and David Thompson share a love of live music and designed the Pot Still Coffee Shop to accommodate a live band without overpowering the room.

Seating just 40, the Pot Still Coffee Shop at the Spirit of Yorkshire is a small, intimate venue that attracts lovers of live music and good food.

Forthcoming events at the Pot Still Coffee Shop at The Spirit of Yorkshire include more Distillery Sessions and the annual Distillery Open Day on 29th July.

Tours of the Distillery, home to Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky, Filey Bay, are available seven days a week. Home-made refreshments are served in the Pot Still Coffee Shop that overlooks the stills from 9.30 am – 4 pm Monday – Saturday and 10 am – 3 pm Sundays.