Category Archives: West Yorkshire

Richard Grafton Interiors Celebrates New Designer & Investment

Richard Grafton Interiors showroom in Wetherby is celebrating its third birthday with the appointment of experienced interior designer Rosie Tangi as it invests in a £75,000 contemporary new look for its high-profile showroom in the market town.

Rosie, who has ten years’ experience in interior design, returns to the Richard Grafton Interiors team having spent five years working for the business before taking a career break in 2018 to have her children.

Having worked in the Harrogate showroom, Rosie moved across to Richard Grafton Interiors’ showroom in Ilkley. In her new role, she will be based at the Wetherby showroom, joining well-known interior design specialists Donna Schofield and Karen Draper who manage the showroom, supported by Leona Connelly.

After completely redeveloping a historic premises on the high street three years ago and opening in the midst of Covid restrictions, the Yorkshire interiors, architecture and design business is taking the opportunity to re-launch its Wetherby showroom with an updated, contemporary look. Clients, old and new, are invited to enjoy a shopping weekend on Friday 23rd June and Saturday 24th June and see the brand-new room sets for themselves.

Comprising a fully-furnished dining room, sitting room, bathroom and bedroom, the room sets showcase the company’s hand-crafted cabinetry offer and designer furniture as well as its huge range of design-led interiors products, including unusual pieces sourced from the Maison & Objet Design Show in Paris. The showroom also features a design studio equipped with hundreds of fabrics, wall coverings and flooring libraries.

Director Charlotte Grafton comments: “Having been part of the Richard Grafton team for five years, we are well-aware of Rosie’s talents and passion for interior design – we’re genuinely delighted that she has chosen to re-join us. With her experience of working with younger clients, she adds strength in depth to our Wetherby designers, and her flair for classic contemporary looks fits perfectly with the Richard Grafton style and our clients’ tastes.”

“Over the last three years, our Wetherby showroom has built a loyal following from within the town and surrounding areas. We’re keen to expand our architectural design capabilities, including our kitchen, bathroom, dressing room and media cabinet offering, by growing the team here and continuing to invest in inspiring clients with the most up-to-date but classic room designs. Our ability to deliver complete, turnkey solutions, even on a large scale, is proving extremely popular with time-poor clients who are turning to us to provide all of their needs under one roof, from conception to project management. We’re even seeing Yorkshire-based clients coming to us for international projects, designing interiors for their holiday homes from France to the Caribbean!”

Rosie adds: “Returning to Richard Grafton Interiors feels like coming home. I’m exciting to be working with the fantastic team in Wetherby to develop our following here, and look forward to bringing our design expertise to a younger market who we believe will be inspired by the diverse range of installations and interior design-led products showcased in our stunning new room sets.”

Eddisons Confirms Over £4m For Buildings Improvements

Property consultant Eddisons, which is headquartered in Leeds, has secured more than £20m of funding to improve buildings at schools across the UK, including more than £4m for Yorkshire schools, in the latest round of the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

Education sector specialist Eddisons has raised more than £200m in school funding over recent years and the latest round of secured funding for projects in Yorkshire includes £350,000 for the Yorkshire Collaborative Academies Trust to carry out fire safety and roofing works, and over £700,000 to fund a roofing project and asbestos removal for the Brooksbank School in Elland.

Ian Harrington, head of Eddisons specialist education team, said: “This is another year of fantastic results for both our clients and the team.”

“However, the success also highlights once again the fact that education is one of the more poorly funded sectors, with 2,000 projects unsuccessful in their bids in this round of funding alone.”

“We will continue to work with those schools and academies that were unsuccessful, to offer guidance on future bids, as well as offering advice on other funding opportunities that are available. With the total CIF pot remaining unchanged on last year, despite base rate inflation being at 11% and construction inflation nearer 30%, it was one the most fiercely competitive rounds of funding we’ve experienced.”

The CIF programme is an annual round of bidding under which academy schools and colleges can apply for funding for the upkeep and improvement of their buildings and to fund expansion projects for schools that have been rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. In total, the Department for Education received funding requests for over 3,000 projects this year, with 1,033 projects across 859 academies being allocated a share of the £456m.

Mr Harrington added: “The CIF bidding procedure is highly complex and Eddisons’ education team have built up huge knowledge and experience over the years to help deliver successful bids and projects that make a real difference to schools and to the people who study and work in them.”

“Every year the process of submitting a successful CIF bid becomes ever more competitive and we are really pleased to say that we have maintained our position as a key adviser to the education sector, with an excellent success rate for our bids.”

The successful projects will all get underway shortly and will be project managed by Eddisons.

Wakefield market to relocate

Wakefield’s outdoor market is set to relocate as exciting plans for the city centre start to take shape.

From Thursday 29 June, the market will move from the Cathedral precinct to Teall Way – creating a retail link between the city’s two main and busiest shopping areas.

Councillor Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Growth said: “This gives Wakefield market a permanent home, on a well-established route in the city and, as this was the preferred location for traders, we’re really pleased the move is underway.”

The new location offers space for all existing traders, and they will no longer need to move when events take place in the city centre.

New stall covers and branding will also be designed to improve the look and feel of the market for current traders and shoppers, and to hopefully attract new, exciting independent traders and customers to try Wakefield market.

The move paves the way for work to start on the creation of a new multi-use entertainment area with seating, lighting and trees in the Cathedral precinct for hosting open-air events, festivals and other family entertainment.

The city centre is undergoing exciting transformation to meet changing consumer demands and business trends. It will bring new growth in residential, retail, culture, and entertainment services to stimulate the local economy and make the city a more vibrant place.

Councillor Graham added “We know that times are tough for many of our traders, and we hope this move will help boost their business, attract new traders and in turn benefit the local economy.”

“Our regeneration plans for the city will make a real difference to residents, visitors and business giving everyone more reasons to be here in our city.”

Sport England Funding Supports Park Improvements

Parks and local green spaces in Calderdale are set to benefit from £500,000 of funding from Sport England, to support a range of improvements.

Calderdale Council, through the Active Calderdale local delivery pilot, has received confirmation from Sport England that its bid for funding has been successful. The £500,000 grant will support the Active Calderdale initiative and be used for improvements in parks to create safe, accessible, and attractive spaces that will make it easier for more people to be physically active.

The funding will be used in areas which will particularly benefit from support, encouraging physical activity in local communities.

The work will be a partnership between Calderdale Council and local communities and will involve the many organisations that already help parks and green spaces be used for the good of Calderdale communities. This includes other public sector organisations, and local friends groups, who will be instrumental in the process.

The funding will complement existing work taking place in the borough, such as the ongoing improvements at Shroggs Park, where investment is helping the Council, the Friends Group and local residents deliver a programme of improvements designed to make the area more welcoming, more attractive and more accessible, whilst ensuring that the work is also sustainable.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Councillor Tim Swift, said:

“Our parks and green spaces play an important role in supporting people’s health and wellbeing. This is something which was particularly evident during the COVID pandemic as we saw more people using local parks for their physical and mental health.”

“We want to encourage people to continue to enjoy local green spaces by working with communities to make these spaces more accessible and creating safe, welcoming areas, which in turn will support physical activity.”

“This funding from Sport England will allow us to continue and enhance our long-standing commitment to reducing inequalities and supports our Active Calderdale mission for people to be physically active in any way they choose.”

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Executive Director – Place, at Sport England, said:
“Sport England is excited to make this investment as part of the work to improve Calderdale’s parks and help meet the needs of its local communities. The lessons from this investment will help Calderdale to make their parks more attractive and inclusive spaces for people to use, especially for people who have not used them in the past.”

Heritage Textile Mill Introduces Menopause Training

A 240-year-old heritage textile mill based in Stanningley, West Yorkshire, has introduced menopause training for employees in managerial roles across the business.

The training is part of AW Hainsworth’s commitment to wellbeing in the workplace, with the business setting out a significant investment strategy for employee wellbeing, over the next five years. The Company partnered with its Law Firm, Pannone Corporate of Manchester, which has established a training framework for managers and supervisors. This aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of menopause, assess and improve HR Policies and Procedures to ensure consistent support is offered and equip Managers with the knowledge and tools they need to support employees with menopause-related problems.

AW Hainsworth was established in 1783 and manufactures exquisite woollen cloth, high-performing textiles, and iconic fabrics for customers worldwide. The Royal Warrant Holder and textile manufacturer is the parent company of Hainsworth Fabric of a Nation, Hainsworth Protective Fabrics, Hainsworth Toptable, Natural Legacy by Hainsworth, John Atkinson, Hainsworth Technical Felt, Northern Rubber by Hainsworth, and Replin by Hainsworth.

Phil Pickard, a team leader at AW Hainsworth, found the training invaluable and explains: “I was at work one day and noticed that a colleague who I’ve known for a long time wasn’t her usual self and seemed quite upset. I asked her what was wrong, and it all came out – she was going through menopause and having a rough time at work because of it.”

“Having had the Menopause Training the week before, I asked how her job could be changed to suit her needs and put a plan together to help her going forward. The training really opened my eyes and helped me to understand how if someone going through menopause doesn’t have support, it could be critical to their well-being. It also gave me guidance as to how I, as a man, can speak to my female colleagues about this and offer support as best I can.”

In addition to menopause training, the business has also invested over £20,000 in mental health support, forming a partnership with Unmasked Mental Health of Halifax. Monthly sessions are held in the Mill, whereby members of the workforce can participate in insightful presentations and talks on mental health and well-being. The training has seen more than 10% of AW Hainsworth employees qualify as Mental Health First Aiders in the last year alone. The Business also provides free of charge private counselling within the Mill, to those who need this the most.

Amanda McLaren, Managing Director at AW Hainsworth, said: “By removing the stigma around mental illness and putting strategies and signposting in place, alongside the qualified support offered to us by our partners, I am hoping we can make a positive difference to many of our colleagues’ lives.”

To further support employee wellbeing and continue to make AW Hainsworth a desirable workplace, the business has also invested in improving and creating new shared spaces, enhancing internal communications channels, introducing awards for long service and ensuring the availability of free period products at its headquarters in Leeds.

Cricketing Legend Visits Jukebox Manufacturer

In his role as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Australia, iconic former cricketer Lord Botham OBE visited Sound Leisure in Leeds. The manufacturer of classic jukeboxes, which has exported to Australia for over 20 years, has sold 15 of its jukeboxes to Australia in the last 12 months.

Employing more than 40 people at its Leeds head office and manufacturing centre, the £5m revenue family-owned Sound Leisure has again been named as an Export Champion for 2023 and sells 80% of its products overseas to customers in over 40 countries worldwide, including Australia, the US and Japan. Celebrities, royalty and famous athletes are among the buyers of its retro-design state of the art vinyl and digital jukeboxes.

“Sound Leisure is a mainly export business, and anytime we can move forward our knowledge of overseas markets, and share our experiences and insights with other exporters and businesses, we grab the opportunity,” said Sound Leisure director Mike Black.

Mr Black escorted Lord Botham on a tour of the firm’s state-of-the-art, 80,000 sq ft manufacturing facility, where he was shown how Sound Leisure classic jukeboxes are meticulously hand built by a team of skilled craftsmen.

Mike Black said: “It was great to welcome Lord Botham to our factory today and he was really impressed to see the levels of skill and craftsmanship that go into building these intricate and innovative machines which we have been producing here in Leeds for 45 years.”

“We’re a family-run British manufacturing business and exports, including to Australia, make up a huge amount of our business. We’re proud to have been named an Export Champion for the Northern Powerhouse once again this year by the Department of Business and Trade.”

Lord Botham’s role as trade envoy is an unpaid and voluntary one, aimed at boosting British business in Australia.

The factory tour was followed by an Export Champions round table, organised by the Department of Business and Trade and held at the Sound Leisure manufacturing facility.

GNG Appoints New Commercial Director

Experienced sales director Richard Gretton has been appointed as commercial director at GNG Group as the West Yorkshire business continues to drive the growth of its consumer, contract and medical mattress division.

With over 25 years’ sales experience, Richard’s long track record includes working within the furniture industry. He joins from Hypnos Beds where he spent almost six years as global retail sales director. Prior to that, he was commercial director at Castelan Group where he launched new strategic services across the furniture, leisure and hotel markets. He also spent over three years as commercial development director at Homeserve plc as well as having been commercial director of Valspar UK.

A strong commercial and operational professional, Richard’s expertise includes marketing management, negotiation, business planning, market planning and operations management.

With purpose-built 40,000sq ft manufacturing facilities in Normanton, West Yorkshire, which opened just last year, GNG has grown into one of the leaders in British mattress manufacture, supplying retailers and hospitality providers across the UK as well as being an approved supplier to the NHS.

In his new role with GNG, Richard will lead the sales operation for the expanding mattress division which includes its Komfi vacuum-packed mattress brand, featuring recycled Ecofoam and luxury Sonlevo mattresses with unique TrueGel grid system technology.

“With his exceptional track record of success within the industry, Richard will play a pivotal role in spearheading the further growth of our mattress division,” says GNG Group managing director Darren Potterton. “Having increased capacity by over 300% with the opening of our Normanton facilities last summer, we have ambitious expansion plans to continue to build our customer base.”

“Richard’s appointment comes at a crucial time as we embark on the next chapter of planned growth in the UK. His strategic vision and business acumen, together with his industry insights and ability to forge strong relationships, will be instrumental in positioning our company to capitalise on emerging opportunities and further enhance our capabilities.”

Richard adds: “With a 40-year manufacturing heritage, GNG has become one of the leading names in British-made mattresses. Known for quality, service and product innovation, I am excited to be joining a fast-growing business where I believe I can make a real difference. While the company has made impressive progress in recent years, there are still new markets to be explored and I am looking forward to using my skills to bring GNG’s outstanding products to a wider audience.”

Headquartered in Normanton, GNG Group was established in 1987 and now employs more than 130 people across the group. It has become an international brand leader and supplier of foam-based products, primarily serving the medical, consumer and sports sectors.

Yorkshire CCC stars in surprise Leeds school visit

A group of pupils had a very special surprise from Yorkshire players this week.

Yorkshire CCC captain Shan Masood and seam bowling all-rounder Ben Mike made a surprise visit to The Ruth Gorse Academy to celebrate and inspire youngsters who are part of the academy’s ‘excellence in sport’ program.

As part of the visit the cricket stars took part in a coaching session delivered by the Yorkshire Cricket Board, alongside 20 pupils.

Masood said: “I think it’s really important to give back – firstly to help support the community and secondly to help the game to grow. Sport connects people and communities from different backgrounds all around the world. That’s what makes it so special.”

“I’m really grateful to the school and to Yorkshire for giving me this opportunity to come here, spend some time with the young people, and give something back.”

“In this world the best you can have is the support of each other and seeing the students smiling and having fun – those are the things that you want.”

Currently The Ruth Gorse Academy supports around 20 students in the ‘sport in excellence’ programme, across a range of sports including football, boxing, tennis, Irish dancing and its ‘Big 3’ sports of volleyball, rowing and karate.

Ruby and Naby are both part of the rowing programme and expressed how much they had enjoyed taking part in the cricket session.

Ruby said: “I’ve really enjoyed today and my favourite part was having a go at batting. Being part of an inner-city school means that we are quite limited to what opportunities we get so to be able to play cricket here today means a lot.”

“Being able to take part in sport has given opportunities to me and it has opened me to a world that I would never have expected – hopefully I will go far in the future of sport.”

Naby, added the best bit of today was getting to play with professionals and learn from them.

He said: “The fact that two professional cricket stars came over here has been great. They helped us learn more about cricket and today has helped inspire us. Sport for me is brilliant.”

Another highlight of the academy visit was a Q & A with the students and Masood and Mike followed by an autograph signing session.

Mike said: “It was a really great visit. It was nice to take part and show the students some cricket. I think it is massively important to inspire young people. I know with cricket there can be a lot of barriers to entry – it’s sometimes seen as a sport that is very elite… so it’s nice to come into urban areas like this and introduce cricket to them.”

“There are some real superstars here – they were saying one of the pupils can deadlift 180kg – he would be a good fast bowler – he’s got the build for it.”

“It was great to see that some of the girls were hitting it further than the boys. With a little bit of coaching, I could see some of them coming a long way.”

Students at The Ruth Gorse Academy are able to access exceptional opportunities to take part in extra-curricular activities. As well as the extensive health and fitness clubs run by the PE department, students have the chance to access a wide range of free of charge activities.

Charlotte Ball, Curriculum Leader of PE at The Ruth Gorse Academy, said: “This is an absolutely incredible experience for our students.”

“We are an inner-city school – we have a diverse school community and sport is very much at the heart of our academy. Sport is used as a vehicle for success.”

“Cricket is a sport we are hoping to expand further, and an event like this can start a conversation with students. Cricket is on our curriculum and we look at ways that we can make it accessible and work for us here, regardless of us not having a field in which to play – but we want to offer it to all of our students.”

“It’s incredible for us to see how excited they are to meet the Yorkshire players and be able to play alongside them it really is an excellent opportunity for them. We want to open doors for our students and ultimately let them experience as many different sports as they possibly can.”

Yorkshire CCC’s Performance Pathway has been a key building block in ensuring the Club is encouraging greater access to cricket for young people across the county. Across boys and girls age groups, the programme has introduced measures including removal of match fees, the provision of kit and winter coaching free of charge, alongside the creation of an accessible hardship fund for those that require further financial support.

Over the past year, these changes have seen the 940 young people come through the Performance Pathway, with a notable upswing in participation and engagement from people from diverse backgrounds.

The results demonstrate that focused investment on providing equity of opportunity and driving inclusivity can lead to strong results in a relatively short timeframe.

Lindenmeyr Appoints Source

Leeds-based performance-led marketing communications agency, Source has been appointed to handle PR, social media and internal communications for one of the world’s leading pulp and paper sales companies, Lindenmeyr International.

Lindenmeyr offers a wide range of paper, packaging, and print solutions for a large roster of growing commercial clients. The company is a subsidiary of Central National Gottesman Inc. (CNG) and has set its sights on rapid global growth outside of North America, following investment and a business restructure.

Source will provide strategic advice and execute targeted communication plans to strengthen Lindenmeyr International’s reputation across its core business sectors, which include retail, print and publishing. In addition, the team will handle all internal comms at a time when the business is experiencing rapid growth.

Daniel Kennedy, a director at Source, said: “We’re delighted to have won this multi-faceted instruction from Lindenmeyr International and are relishing the challenge of handling comms, both internally and externally, at such an exciting time for the business.”

Stewart Clough, commercial director at Lindenmeyr International added: “We’re excited to appoint Source to elevate our brand through strategic public relations and social media, and mirror these messages to our ever growing team across the UK and beyond.”

Bradford Garden Centre Reaches Final

The team at a Bradford garden centre group is celebrating after reaching the final of a regional business award.

Tong Garden Centre has been shortlisted in the Sustainability category in the Bradford Means Business Awards.

Tong Garden Centre’s Head of People, Culture & Sustainability, Neil Barwise-Carr, said: “We’re committed to reducing our impact on the planet and have pledged to be Carbon Neutral by 2026. The roadmap to carbon neutrality started with our Year of Waste initiative which includes converting food waste into renewable energy, harvesting rainwater from the lake to water plants and recycling waste oil for biodiesel.

“We continue to work hard to make Tong and the other garden centres in the Yorkshire Garden Centres group as sustainable as possible and it’s great that our initiatives have been acknowledged and rewarded with a place in the final.”

Sponsored by Solensis, the Sustainability award recognises businesses that have done the most to improve overall environmental performance and enhance sustainability. It rewards businesses that are making strides to become more sustainable year on year.

The team will learn whether they have been successful at an awards ceremony organised in partnership with Bradford Council on Thursday 20th July at the Walton View Hotel in Bradford.

Tong Garden Centre occupies a 19-acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire’s biggest independent garden centres with 11,600m2 of retail space and parking for up to 700 cars. It is part of the Yorkshire Garden Centres (YGC) group that also owns Tingley Garden Centre and the former Stephen H Smith’s Garden Centres in Otley and Harden, Bingley.