Category Archives: West Yorkshire

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.”

Underpin Sports Secures Deal With Clutch Pro Tour

Leeds-based golf mental performance coaching company Underpin Sports has signed an exclusive partnership with the international Clutch Pro Tour – a feeder to both the Challenge and DP World Tours.

The partnership highlights the growing importance of mental strength within golf at the highest level and will ensure an increasing number of elite amateur and professional golfers competing on this season’s tour will access mental performance coaching through Underpin Sports.

Several rising stars, competing on this year’s Clutch Tour, are already benefitting from the firm’s mental performance coaching with improved results, including Ben Rhodes from Leeds who turned professional early last year and is a member of Headingley Golf Club.

Underpin Sports’ team of mental performance coaches, led by Greg Robertson, work with players beneath the surface, challenging them to learn and understand how to get the best out of themselves and their game.

The partnership is in response to the growing pressures and expectations on players competing on the Clutch Tour, which showcases up-and-coming talent across the golfing world and provides playing opportunities for the next generation of professional golfers. It attracts some of Europe’s best players with guaranteed £15,000 winner cheques and prize pots totalling £100,000.

Tom Hayward, director of the Clutch Tour, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Underpin, as mental performance coaching support is key to the development of players on the tour and vital to helping them reach their full potential.”

“Competing in any sport at the top level not only requires skill, but it also relies on strong mental focus to perform consistently against the best players in the world. The partnership is integral to the future of the tour in helping players cope with very high-pressure situations, particularly those in the early stages of their career.”

Greg Robertson, founder and mental performance coach at Underpin Sports, said: “We see this unique partnership as an excellent opportunity to help even more Clutch Tour players become calmer and more focused in competitive environments and allow their best performances to come through.”

“By teaming up with the tour, we’re raising the profile of mental performance coaching amongst players who may not have considered such support before or known where to turn for it. This presents a chance for us to collaborate with them on a one-to-one bespoke basis and also provide access to group introductory online sessions exclusively for Clutch Tour members. Both designed to help them to develop the mental strength and resilience needed to succeed at the highest levels of the sport.”

US Investment For Harrison Spinks

Luxury British bedmaker Harrison Spinks has invested in a new distribution centre in Los Angeles – its first ever US facility – which will stock four of its most popular British-made mattresses for clients across North America.

The 180-year-old, fifth-generation family business, which manufactures all its handmade 100% natural mattresses and beds in Yorkshire, England, has made a significant six-figure investment in the LA facility to benefit customers in the United States.

Harrison Spinks, UK Bed Manufacturer of the Year at the 2022 National Bed Federation Awards, has made the investment following growth in the region, and the new facility will significantly reduce delivery lead times from three months to around two weeks.

It is a significant milestone for the brand which first launched into the North American market in 2021.

This distribution centre will facilitate an upgraded US stocking programme which will hold its Euston, Northumberland, Leicester and Strand mattresses, luxury enhancers and divan beds.

The British family bedmaker offers handmade mattresses that are 100% recyclable and free from harmful chemicals while being naturally fire retardant, and include a glue-free spring system made with ultra-fine wire pocket springs for superior comfort. Products start life on the company’s 300-acre farm in the English countryside, where sheep are reared on rich, untreated pastures and hemp and flax crops are grown on fertile fields without pesticides.

Scott Hollis, North America Sales Manager at Harrison Spinks, said: “When we launched into the market here in North America, our aim was to grow and expand across the country. Now we have achieved growth and brand awareness, we’re now doubling-down on distribution times so that our US customers can enjoy a better night’s sleep much faster than before.”

“This facility is incredibly significant within our business plan, as it ensures our brand is much stronger within the country and more competitive, as customers can now have premium comfort with less wait times.”

“It also greatly benefits our stockists along the West Coast of the United States, as we can now offer our beds to them with an extremely competitive lead time. We have plans to open more distribution centres as we continue to grow our independent retailer offering within the USA and Canada.”

The facility is leased in partnership with logistics specialists, Rhenus Group, which Harrison Spinks is working with to provide this brand-new distribution service to its US customers.

Bradford Garden Centre Is Shortlisted

The team at a Bradford garden centre is celebrating after being shortlisted for a national HR award.

Tong Garden Centre has reached the final in the Retail Company of the Year Award of the British HR Awards that celebrate the organisations and individuals that are driven by delivering a world-class people experience.

“This is the first time that we have entered a national people and culture award and we’re very proud to have reached the final in the face of such strong competition,” said Tong Garden Centre’s Head of People and Culture, Neil Barwise-Carr.

Nate Harwood, founder of New Possible and British HR Awards judge said: ” With over 220 entries received from organisations all across the UK, from start-up innovators to public sector heroes, tech superstars, global titans and everything in between, competition proved to be especially tough.

“This year saw 125% more entries than last year making judging a real challenge but also a great privilege. Congratulations to all the finalists who are flying the flag for the HR profession and having a positive impact on the working lives of so many people.”

The stellar lineup of nine judges includes representatives from Shelter, Monzo, Apple and Iceland Foods.

In an all-Yorkshire final, Tong Garden Centre faces competition from Hull-based Heron Foods. The winners will be announced at a celebration event in Central London on Wednesday 22nd March.

The British HR Awards are organised by New Possible, a next-generation employee insight platform.

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.

Pontefract Fire Station Into New Homes

Wakefield Council Leader Denise Jeffery has welcomed the completion of new affordable homes in Pontefract.

With the support of Council funding, WDH has built 37 new homes for affordable rent on the site of Pontefract’s former fire station.

Newport House, off Stuart Road in Pontefract, is a three storey apartment building, providing high quality, secure, one and two bedroom homes to increase and supporting the Council’s regeneration plans for the town.

In November 2021, Councillor Jeffery and colleagues made a commitment to enable the delivery of more public rented sector homes and to directly influence and accelerate the creation of new, affordable homes across the district.

In meeting that pledge, as well as the support at the Newport House project, the Council is also helping WDH to bridge the viability gaps to develop four key sites at: Whin View Court, Havercroft; Warren House, Pontefract; Chantry House, Wakefield and the former Castleford Bath Site, Castleford, to create 160 new homes for district residents.

The Chantry House scheme will re-use land that is currently vacant and will help create the proposed Kirkgate Gateway into the city centre, supporting the Council’s regeneration plans to turn the city into a culturally vibrant place to live, work and play and achieve a fairer future for all.

The three other schemes will see the clearance of buildings that are either surplus or no longer fit for purpose to create better and more modern neighbourhoods.

The new homes will help ensure that Wakefield can offer a high quality-housing offer that meets residents’ needs. It also strengthens the Council’s promise to make available good quality, safe, healthy and sustainable affordable housing.

A number of other Council owned sites have been identified for 100% affordable homes to boost the number of new affordable homes across the district, some of which will be allocated for specialist homes, meaning more vulnerable and disabled residents across the district will be able to access the homes they need.

Councillor Jeffery said: “It’s a very positive first step to see the development of these new homes in Pontefract. We remain firmly committed to help meet the housing needs of our residents and to give people in our district more choice. We are pleased to be working with WDH to deliver this commitment and the good quality homes that people need.”

Sue Young, Executive Director of Investment at WDH said: “Newport House is a great example of high quality, town centre living, which is exactly what Pontefract needs. We’re working closely with Wakefield Council and our partners, to regenerate areas including Pontefract, creating thriving, vibrant places to live.”

Andy Wallhead, Chief Executive at WDH, “Our Vision is to create confident communities and developments like this are key to doing that. I am very proud of the work that has gone into delivering these properties and hope that they’ll provide people and families with great homes.”

Apprenticeships Supporting The Economy

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust recently welcomed its 100th Apprentice with the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group since August 2022 – demonstrating the significant impact Apprenticeships have in supporting the economy.

Macey Denise Brooks, who is the 100th apprentice, has started her Level 2 Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Macey said: “When exploring my options for my future, an Apprenticeship really appealed to me as I like to learn practical skills and being able to apply them in real environments. I’m really looking forward to starting my Apprenticeship and I can’t wait to learn about patient care. I hope to one day become a nurse.”

Since the partnership was formed over 15 years ago, Apprentices have worked across the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trusts’ Hospitals including Pontefract Hospital, Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and Dewsbury and District Hospital.

These include Business Administrator, Customer Services, Healthcare Science Assistant, Healthcare Science Associate, Healthcare Support Workers and Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprentices.

Many of these apprentices have progressed onto the Trust’s Trainee Nursing Associate programme and successfully secured roles as Nursing Associates within the Trust. Others have also continued in their Healthcare Assistant Role or progressed onto degree-level Apprenticeships.

Anita Mason, Organisational Development Apprentice Manager at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted that we have been able to offer 100 apprentices roles working across our hospitals, delivering services which are fundamental to the running of the NHS. It’s incredibly important that we’re able to inspire the next-generation, or capture those wanting to start or change their career path at an early stage, and our Apprenticeship scheme with the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group enables us to do exactly that. Apprenticeships are not only a fantastic opportunity for apprentices to earn while they learn, but provide them with a foot in the door to what can be lifelong, fulfilling career within the NHS.”

Currently, the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has more than 300 apprentices from the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group on programme.

Lorraine Cross, Executive Director for External Relations and Development at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “We work closely with the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to help shape and develop our Apprenticeship offering in line with their skills demands and industry standards for hospitals. This ensures we offer a delivery model which suits both the organisations’ and the apprentices needs, providing the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust with a readymade workforce and the apprentices with valuable skills and hands-on experience in their chosen industry. Welcoming our 100th apprentice clearly demonstrates the impact that Apprenticeships have both on a local and national scale and how they can provide a highly-skilled, talent pool for vital organisations like the NHS.”

Acknowledging its collaborative work, the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust was presented with the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’s Special Recognition award at its Apprenticeship Awards 2023, which took place during National Apprenticeship Week.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust receiving the Special Recognition Award

Level 2 Healthcare Assistant Apprentice, Nina Borowik, also received the Health & Education Apprentice of the Year award for her willingness to learn and take on new tasks.

Level 2 Healthcare Assistant Apprentice Nina Borowik collecting the Health & Education Apprentice of the Year award

Len Richards, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the success of my colleagues at the Apprenticeship Awards in recognition of all the work we have undertaken at the Trust to support apprenticeships over the years. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the team at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group to further progress this exciting work. Congratulations to all involved for your fantastic contributions. Also, a huge well done to Nina for your hard work and dedication – I’m looking forward to seeing how your career progresses with us here at the Trust.”

Who Dares Wins Finalist Delivers Talks To Students

Finalist of the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins Faye Banks, recently delivered talks at Selby College about her inspiring journey and prosperous Engineering career.

Speaking to both students and staff, Faye shared her experience on the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, which saw her and 19 other recruits take part in a six-week condensed version of the SAS selection process.

Held in the Vietnamese jungle, Faye talked about how the SAS: Who Dares Wins instructors Billy Billingham and his team of directing staff Jason Fox, Rudy Reyes and Chris Oliver put them through their paces.

As a former Engineering student of Castleford College, which is also part of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group alongside Selby College and Wakefield College, Faye also spoke to students about her career as a female Engineer.

This includes a number of leadership roles she has held at national and global companies such as Yorkshire Water, National Grid, Siemens, Carlsberg and Unilever.

In 2018, she was also commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to review the UK’s electricity standards.

Encouraging the students to make the most out of their experiences, Faye said: “I’m extremely grateful to my lecturers who taught me at College, they recognised my talent in Engineering and instilled the confidence in me to pursue my passion. You don’t get to be the best version of yourself on your own, learn from others and their experiences. Embrace every moment of your learning and you will see the returns.”

When asked about what she attributes her successful career in Engineering to, Faye responded: “For me, the key to maintaining a successful career in Engineering has been my ability to adapt to new surroundings and situations. Even when you are faced with change or adversity, being able to apply your skills to whatever environment you’re in is a significant advantage in a fast-paced industry like Engineering where technology and standards are constantly evolving,” added Faye.

Faye had a tough start in life after she was taken into care at the age of nine, moving between 50 different emergency placements in just two years.

After leaving care, she trained to become an Engineer and is currently working as a Director of Operations at Siemens.

Faye is preparing to start a new role as the Director of E&M at Vital Energi in April and is working towards gaining her PhD in Engineering.

During her time at Whitwood College, which is now known as Castleford College, Faye’s achievements shone out. She was voted Engineering Student of the Year and won the Principal’s Award at the Women in Science and Engineering ceremony.

Recognising her achievements on a national scale, Faye was also presented with the Apprentice of the Year award and the Young Woman Engineer of the Year accolade in 2004.

“Now is an exciting and pivotal time to enter the Engineering industry, not only because the UK’s Net Zero initiative is creating more jobs in the area, but because the sector is crying out for female Engineers. When I first started, I was the only female working in a male-dominated industry, which presented many challenges that I had to overcome throughout my career in order for me to progress and succeed. Today, I’m incredibly proud to see that the industry is backing Engineers from all backgrounds and I would encourage any aspiring female Engineers to seize this opportunity,” added Faye.

Outside of work, Faye is an Elite Marathon Runner and is also studying for her pilot’s license.

Asthma Friendly Schools Praised

Schools in the Wakefield district have been praised for becoming ‘asthma friendly’ and helping pupils stay healthy and avoid missing school.

Six schools were awarded certificates at an event at Wakefield Council’s Town Hall, to recognise their commitment to being safe and inclusive places, where there is understanding and support for asthma management. Information, training, and support is offered to pupils, parents, carers, and school staff.

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around 1 in 11 children and young people affected.

Raising awareness of managing the breathing condition in schools also aims to help reduce unplanned hospital visits and prevent children from missing out on their schooling.

Councillor Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “Congratulations to all the schools that have signed up to be ‘asthma friendly’ in our district.”

“Our schools are supported by expert teams, and it was great to hear about the work they are all doing to help pupils with asthma, to promote better understanding of the condition, and help children to get the most out of their education.”

Libby Holroyd, Clinical Nurse Specialist for children’s asthma at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Asthma affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood. There are simple ways to keep this condition controlled and it is important that a child has a good support network to do this.”

“The asthma friendly school’s initiative has introduced ways in which a child can be supported whilst under the care of school. The schools signed up to the pledge now have ‘asthma champions’ and trained staff who can identify the symptoms of asthma and create a controlled environment, by having spare labelled rescue inhalers and spacers in school, alongside an asthma policy and asthma registers for each child affected.”

Wakefield now has 36 Schools that have completed self-assessment- more than anywhere else in West Yorkshire and are continuing to work towards achieving asthma friendly status

The initiative builds on the work already undertaken across Wakefield by 0-19 Services and Paediatric Respiratory teams over many years, delivered by school nurses with the support of the Paediatric Asthma Nurses team at Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust.