Category Archives: Bradford

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.

Garden Centre Wins Sustainability Award

The team at a Bradford garden centre is celebrating after winning a regional sustainability award.

Sustainability Lead, Steph Bates and Head of People and Culture, Neil Barwise-Carr from Tong Garden Centre were presented with the Sustainability Award at the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards in Yorkshire and The Humber on 24th February.

Organised by the business campaigner, FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), the awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of small businesses and the self-employed across the UK.

“We are delighted and proud to win the Sustainability award. The team has worked tirelessly to embed sustainable principles in all our garden centres and this award is well-deserved.”

“We have exciting plans for 2023 that include partnering with the Carbon Literacy Project to educate our team, and this is a great springboard to launch our initiatives,” said Tong Garden Centre’s Head of People and Culture, Neil Barwise-Carr.

The winners were announced at a lunch at the Queens Hotel in Leeds that was hosted by BBC broadcaster, newsreader and producer, Elly Fiorentini.

Tong Garden Centre beat Wakefield’s Tunley Engineering, Skipton-based Comply Direct, Scarborough-based Sea Grown and York-based ecups Limited and the win has secured them a place in the UK final later that takes place at the NEC in May.

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.

New Community Box At Bradford Bulls

In partnership with West Yorkshire Police, Bradford Bulls are delighted to officially open their ‘Community Box’ – situated in the Sekhon Group Stand at Odsal Stadium.

The Community Box will be attended by 10 children each game and hosted by West Yorkshire Police, these are children who would not normally get the chance to attend and watch the Bulls.

This community based initiative brings together local businesses who have funded the community box where children and young people can come together to enjoy the match day experience. The partnership also sees the police Early Help teams working with the Bradford Bulls on matchdays providing refreshments, support and safe environments following successful engagement with local support services.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Farrell of Bradford District Police said:
“The initiative came as part of our wider commitment to neighbourhood policing in South Bradford, working closely with wider partnerships seeking to identify early intervention opportunities for children and young people preventing them getting involved with crime and Anti-Social behaviour.”

“Through positive engagements with the on track programme, young people are rewarded for taking part and they can now see how sport can provide positive lifestyle choices.”

“I am grateful for the support or Arif and Safeer, local business owners who have provided the funding for this initiative and the continued engagement and willingness to deliver an effective partnership from Joe Pitts as commercial director and Tracy Erby as general manager. The partnership is continuing to flourish as we seek to build on this with the Bradford Bulls foundation working with the chief executive, Chris Chamberlain as part of the longer term community intervention work.”

Judith Cummins, South Bradford MP said: “I would like to congratulate everybody for coming together, great to see a positive initiative with Bradford businesses, Bradford Bulls, West Yorkshire Police and Bradford police coming together to make a real difference investing in the future of young people, it is really positive.”

Chris Chamberlain, Bradford Bulls Foundation Chief Executive said:
“This is a massive opportunity that we really welcome, using sport as a tool to engage with young people to make a positive difference in Bradford. These partnerships are really welcome and we look forward to developing this moving forward.”

We would like to place on record our thanks to Smorgasbord Coffee Bar (Arif Mehmood) and International Restaurant (Safeer Khan) for their contribution to this partnership.

Bulls Pass Junior Season Ticket Milestone

Bradford Bulls are delighted to announce we have passed another milestone in our Kids Go Free campaign – with over 15,000 FREE Junior Season Tickets now distributed.

Over 250 schools have been visited in the Bradford area, alongside over 120 businesses – all receiving one message. KIDS GO FREE.

Bradford Bulls Media & Marketing Manager Luke Mawson said: “Kids Go Free was, and remains, the cornerstone of our 2023 marketing campaign.”

“We are incredibly passionate about engaging with juniors in Bradford and beyond and making watching rugby league at Odsal Stadium affordable.”

“We have distributed 15,000 free season tickets, having visited over 250 schools and over 100 businesses in Bradford, but our work is by no means done.”

“We invite people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs to our safe, fun and welcoming environment.”

“Plans are well underway to make the match day experience more enjoyable for juniors and all fans alike, and we will constantly be engaging with our local community with all things rugby league.”

“Our mission was to let every child under the age of 18 – in and around the Bradford area – know they can come to our matches for free, and we will not stop until we achieve that goal.”

Christeyns UK Acquisition Of Gannon Chemicals Ltd

Azets, the UK Top 10 accountancy firm, has advised Bradford based chemicals manufacturer Christeyns UK Limited on its acquisition of Gannon Chemicals Ltd.

Christeyns UK Limited is part of the international Christeyns Group which has a turnover of over 280 million euros. Christeyns UK Limited provides hygiene solutions for professional textile care, food processing and retail, the professional cleaning industry and the medical life sciences sector.

Gannon Chemicals Ltd is an expert producer of sustainable cleaning solutions and performance measurement systems. Based in Ballindine Co. Mayo, Ireland, the company was founded in 1972.

The acquisition is part of a strategic move of continued growth in Ireland for Christeyns which strengthens its presence in an important sector.

Azets provided lead advisory services, led by Corporate Finance Partner Rob Burton.

Julie Roberts, Finance Director of Christeyns UK Limited said: “We are delighted to have acquired Gannon Chemicals, an established and highly reputable company with a great track record. This deal will support our expansion into the Republic of Ireland. We expect both companies to experience sustained growth over the coming years.”

“We received terrific support from Azets, who helped us navigate and negotiate the sale. We appreciate the dedication of the team in managing a smooth process throughout and delivering a successful transaction.”

Rob Burton, Corporate Finance Partner at Azets said: ‘We are delighted to have advised Bradford based Christeyns on its latest acquisition. It is a great success story for a Yorkshire based manufacturing business to continue its expansion into key markets and geographies and they’re in a fantastic position to take the company from strength to strength. This deal demonstrates the vibrant business environment in Yorkshire.”

Anita Rani Named University Of Bradford Chancellor

Bradford-born television and radio presenter, Anita Rani, has been announced as the University of Bradford’s Chancellor.

As Chancellor Anita will play a key role in the University’s life and will be an ambassador for the institution, in the UK and internationally. Once installed in spring 2023, Anita’s official duties will include conferring degrees on graduating students and chairing the University’s Court.

Anita said: “I am thrilled that this is happening. Who would have thought that a girl from a Punjabi family who grew up in Bradford would one day hold this position? I am honoured to become the University of Bradford’s Chancellor and to be able to give back to the city that gave me so much. As Chancellor I will be encouraging students to soak it all up, make the most of opportunities and then to be brave, ambitious, and resilient when they graduate – confident that they have what they need to succeed. I am passionate about education; the people and experiences I encountered at university made me the person I am today.”

“The University of Bradford is committed to preparing the next generations of leaders, entrepreneurs, employees and maybe even broadcasters… What I love is that it is really making a difference while staying committed to being inclusive and enabling people from disadvantaged backgrounds to reach their potential. I’m looking forward to supporting the whole University community to thrive.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “Anita is our perfect choice as Chancellor: bold, witty and fiercely independent, she represents our University’s values and ambition – plus being a proud Bradfordian she is as passionate about this great city as we are. As someone who has managed to reach the heart of the establishment in ways that no Asian woman has done before, Anita will be an inspirational role model to our students and an excellent ambassador for the University of Bradford. We cannot wait to welcome her onto the team.”

Presiding over the University’s twice-yearly graduation ceremonies is one of the Chancellor’s most important roles. Summer 2023 will be Anita’s first ceremonies as Chancellor, when she will address the graduands and their loved ones as they celebrate their achievements.

A spokesperson for the University of Bradford Union of Students, said: “The union feels Anita is the perfect choice as the new Chancellor of the University of Bradford. Anita is someone who will understand the challenges that our students face at Bradford, as someone who is pretty familiar with the city and can also connect to our students through her knowledge of a vast category of topics such as cricket, the environment and work around mental health.”

Fantastic New Signing For The Bradford Bulls

Bradford Bulls are delighted to announce the signing of Papua New Guinea star Keven Appo on an initial one-year deal with the option of a second year – subject to international clearance!

The 23-year-old played a starring role as the Kumuls reached the quarter finals of this year’s Rugby League World Cup, before exiting at the hands of Shaun Wane’s England.

Appo, who was born in the Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea, has plied his trade for PNG Hunters in Australia’s second tier.

Head coach Mark Dunning has spoken of his delight at securing the signature of a long-term target – insisting the forward will bring intensity with and without the ball in 2023.

“I am really, really pleased we have managed to get the deal done – this started prior to the World Cup we identified him as someone we wanted then after which the World Cup has only shown us and everyone how good he is,” said Dunning, who is sponsored by Natalie Lane.

“He is a big robust human being – everything he does he does with energy, he carries hard and dents defences, he has a real desire to hit hard in defence also I think he will be a real crowd favourite who will get the fans off their seats and clapping.”

“He is going to add to and complement our group we already have in the building, we identified certain areas he will bring things such as his infectious energy and commitment and Keven is really looking forward to getting over and we are looking forward to having him.”

“I am really content with where we are at the moment, Michael [Lawrence] joined us last week and has come straight into training, Keven will join us in due course when he’s rested from the World Cup.”

“Some of our existing players who played in the World Cup like AJ Wallace, Brad Ho, Chester Butler are all back in and around the building so we are looking healthy, fresh, energised and committed, ready to rip in to an intense pre-season.”

Another Signing For The Bulls!

Bradford Bulls are delighted to announce Betfred League One Winner Dalton Desmond-Walker has signed a one-year deal with the club!

The former Keighley man, who was part of their unbeaten League One winning campaign joins up with Mark Dunning’s Squad in 2023, after impressing in the Reserves in 2022!

Desmond-Walker, who is originally from Australia, joined the club on dual-reg last season and put in a number of good performances in the Reserves, most recently vs Greece in the World Cup Warm-Up game.

The powerhouse prop commented on the move, and how ‘proud’ he is to have signed for the Bradford Bulls. “It’s a proud day for me and my family, to be a part of a historic organisation and team such as the Bradford Bulls, I cannot wait to get started,” said Dalton, who is available for sponsorship.

“Personally, I’m thrilled to sign here, my family are both fans of the sport and have supported me since i was young, they’re both so proud of me.”

“I’m ready to start pre-season and rip in, I can’t wait to meet the other blokes and start a new chapter in my career in Rugby League, the excitement and a goal to achieve is going to help create a buzz around the stadium.”

“The brand is renowned in Rugby League, so the chance to pull on the jersey and create new moments to cherish as well as earning the respect of the fans and staff alike was one I couldn’t turn down.”

“If I was to give a message to the fans, it would be that you all ride the rollercoaster of emotions like we do, and I’m thankful for that as it shows passion and emotion, I’m going to bring effort, energy and hard work to Odsal. Let’s look at the positives, we have Super League quality players and World Cup players, some try-scoring machines and some established campaigners who have leadership skills as well as the hard-working blokes who are here for the long haul.”

The 6’2″ prop will add some strength and no-nonsense battle to Mark Dunning’s 2023 pack, as the forward will originally join the club as a squad player, as Head Coach Mark Dunning explains below.

“Dalton came to us last year on an agreement with Keighley, that he could play for our reserves, and he quickly became infectious within the group, he slotted straight in and was a good presence around the squad,” said Mark, who is sponsored by Crystal Clear Bi-Folds.

“We sat down with Dalton recently and he asked the club for an opportunity to prove himself, to earn his place in the squad and he’s willing to work to prove his worth.”

“Dalton will join the club as a squad player to start with, we’ve been open and honest with him in discussions, but I’d like to use AJ (Wallace) as an example, that the outstanding contribution he made to the team after coming in as a squad player, the chance is there for Dalton.”

“If he conducts himself well and plays well, he’ll be knocking on the door of that First Team and he won’t be far away in the future, we’ve made it clear the opportunity is there.”

“It’s a real positive signing for the club, it’s up to Dalton to make the season how he wants it, and he knows he needs to work hard for this club, that work starts now.”

Second Site For Bradford Garden Centre Set To Open

A Bradford Garden Centre is set to open the doors of its second site.

Tingley Garden Centre, the sister site of Tong Garden Centre, will open to the public on Monday 26th September following a £14 million investment on the former Acanthus Golf Club site.

The garden centre complex will provide jobs for more than 250 people and will be home to a 1000m2 plant canopy, a 300-seater Blooms Kitchen, Grass Hoppers indoor and outdoor play, Hearty’s Food Hall and a brand new botanically themed restaurant, The Garden Room, serving lunch and Afternoon Teas for 140 guests.

The centre has been designed to make the most of the natural landscape and has been developed with sustainability in mind, with air source heating, a solar array, rainwater harvesting tank and 57 electric vehicle charging points, including 4 rapid chargers.

Managing Director, Mark Farnsworth said: “Having launched Mission Out epic adventure play on the site earlier this summer, we’re proud and excited to open Tingley Garden Centre, our second site.”

“We look forward to sharing our inspirational garden and home products, unique new restaurant, Grass Hoppers play areas and a warm Yorkshire welcome for our customers, in particular at our Christmas Launch Day on Thursday 29th September.”

Tingley Garden Centre was designed by architect, Pleydell Smithyman. The main contractors, all Yorkshire based, include Brambles Construction, ACN Groundworks, TJ Atkin and MSJ Civil Engineers, Waingap Contracts, EBA Climate and Gralyn Joinery.

Tong and Tingley Garden Centres are owned by the YGC Group which recently acquired two Stephen H Smith garden centres in Harden and Otley.

Bradford Council Announce Ambitious Plans For Rugby League Centre

Bradford Council has unveiled plans to build a regional skills centre for Rugby League and the largest covered stadium in England as part of a new complex for elite sports which would put the city back at the heart of the thirteen-a-side code.

The plans would lead to the delivery of a world-class training complex for elite sports in Odsal accompanied by a Skills, Training and Education Centre for Rugby League and a new 25,000-capacity home for the Bradford Bulls, which could host international matches and significant domestic matches such as the semi-finals of The Betfred Challenge Cup.

The news comes five months after Super League (Europe) signed a 12-year strategic partnership with IMG – a global leader in sports events, media and fashion – to reimagine Rugby League and its competitions in the UK.

The scheme has been announced with just weeks to go until the start of the Rugby League World Cup, an event which will bring the world’s greatest players to England for the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup finals.

The new skills and training facility – built in conjunction with the Rugby Football League as part of its national OuRLeague Life programme – would be shared by elite players, match officials, and young people and adults from across Yorkshire and the North East. It would complement a similar project planned in Manchester.

As the largest permanently roofed stadium in England the new venue in Odsal would also become home to other nationally significant sporting such as boxing and enable the city to become a home for major music, entertainment and cultural performances, capitalising on the legacy which will be left by Bradford’s successful bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025.

The complex would include a multi-storey car-park, complete with rooftop sports pitches. The car-park would be linked to a park and ride that can dramatically cut congestion and emissions by providing shuttle services for the new sports stadium in Odsal and motorists driving in to Bradford from the M62.

The complex would also lead to the creation of a new 105-bedroom hotel and five new sports pitches for rugby and football, while also improving the two existing community sports pitches. Energy for the scheme would be provided by a 55,000 sqm solar farm built on-site to provide renewable energy.

Independent economic analysis estimates that the new sports complex would attract more than 1.25m visitors a year, more than half of which would be outside Bradford, and lead to £625m visitor spend and more than £1bn of socio economic benefits for Bradford district.

The stadium and elite sports complex would also create 480 full time jobs over a decade.

The new stadium, and wider complex, would become home to Bradford Bulls and be built on the current Odsal stadium site, which was erected in the 1930s to rival Wembley as a national home of Rugby League.

Both The RFL and Bradford Council believe the sport has huge latent potential in the city of Bradford, as well as across Yorkshire and the North East, nationally and internationally.

Odsal stadium still holds the record for attendance for a rugby match in the UK, with more than 102,000 officially attending the 1954 Rugby League Challenge Cup final replay and an estimated audience of more than 120,000.

The Bradford Bulls were the country’s leading club in the early 2000s, winning Super League three times in five seasons between 2001 and 2005 and becoming World Club Champions three times between 2002 and 2006.

The club went into liquidation in 2017, before being resurrected, and currently remain outside the top flight having played a season away from Odsal in 2019.

The new stadium would retain Odsal’s iconic bowl structure but be built to modern standards, including a roof, to create the largest permanently-covered venue in England.

The complex is part of Bradford Council’s long-term strategy of harnessing the power of culture – including sport – to be an economic driver of clean, inclusive economic growth.

Bradford Live, a 4,800-capacity NEC-run venue, is already due to open in the city centre next year, the National Science and Media Museum is getting new gallery space, and a number of major investments are expected as part of Bradford’s City of Culture celebrations in 2025.

Odsal is in Bradford South, which currently ranks bottom out of all English constituencies for school-age social mobility. Some 34% of under 19s live in relative low-income families.

The council believes a new centre of excellence for Rugby League provides a once in a generation opportunity to break the cycle of poverty by investing in the future of this community and creating an outstanding venue that the whole district can be proud of and benefit from.

The complex is subject to a bid to the second round of the government’s Levelling Up Fund, which has two potential awards of £50million for culture-led schemes. Additional funding would come from private- and public-sector partners.

Independent analysis of the largest 34 towns and cities in England by Etopia Homes has identified Bradford as the UK’s number One levelling-up opportunity, in terms of both need and economic potential.

Culture and sport are seen as major economic opportunities in Bradford – which has one of the youngest and most dynamic populations in the UK, but like many northern cities suffers from a skills deficit.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Independent analysis has shown that Bradford is the country’s number one levelling up opportunity and these ambitious plans build on our long-term strategy to harness the power of sport and culture to level up our great city district and drive economic growth.”

“Rugby League was created to help level up the north of England by enabling working class players to be compensated for taking time off work to play rugby.”

“Rugby League is woven into the fabric of Bradford and the north of England. By building a regional skills centre and the largest permanently covered stadium in the country, we can harness the power of Rugby League to level up again by creating well-paid careers and jobs for thousands of young men and women in Bradford and across Yorkshire and the North East.”

“Bradford can create a home for Rugby League which reflects the status of both the sport and the city, and which will generate almost £1bn in economic benefits for the people of Bradford over a decade. We are committed to working with the RFL to deliver a sport and training facility which provides skills and generates job opportunities for young people in Bradford and beyond.”

Tony Sutton, Chief Operating Officer at the Rugby Football League, said: “The birth of Rugby League perfectly embodies this Government’s mission to level up the country.”

“The entire reason our game began was to level up opportunities for people in the north by compensating them for playing the sport they love.”

“Rugby League is more than just a game – it creates opportunity, much needed employment and brings real social, economic and health benefits to communities. Rugby League can again help to level up by creating jobs and opportunities for people across the north. What we need Government help with is creating grass roots opportunities for people to play the game and build their careers.”

“Bradford has a rich history in Rugby League as home to former Super League and World Club champions and an iconic stadium which delivered our sport’s largest ever attendance – a crowd of more than 100,000 people watching this great sport. This world-class complex would put Britain’s sixth-largest city back at the heart of British sport.”

“The skills, educational and training centre would be a focal point for education – allowing youngsters to work side-by-side with national team squads and match officials, helping to drive up aspiration and achievement in Bradford and across Yorkshire and the North East.”

Bradford Bulls chairman, Nigel Wood OBE, said: “We are extremely impressed by and applaud the scale of the ambition for Odsal Stadium and its immediate surroundings, conceived by our civic leaders and the RFL.”

“It is to be particularly welcomed and commended that there is a very strong educational and training dimension to the scheme, an aspect with fits perfectly into our club’s aspiration to be a good corporate citizen, providing training, skills, welfare, opportunity and employment for our community beyond simply being a great rugby league social enterprise.”

Judith Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South and Chair of the All Party Rugby League Group in parliament, said: “I have always been vocal in my belief that sport is one of Bradford’s greatest cultural assets and I have seen first-hand how sport changes lives and unites people.”

“The people of Bradford are passionate about sport and Rugby League so this represents a major opportunity for the city. The ambitious plans that I have been shown will bring increased prosperity, skills, and job opportunities through regeneration of this vital part of south Bradford.”

“The extra £1bn that this new complex would create would have a transformational effect on the whole city, which has been identified by an independent study as the UK’s leading ‘levelling up’ opportunity.”

“By weaving together top-level sport and entertainment with a world-class skills and training base, this proposal offers the perfect example of how sport and culture can be used as a lever to create new economic growth and opportunity in the communities that need, and deserve, it most.”