Category Archives: Leeds

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.”

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.

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.”

Yorkshire Linseed Paint Manufacturer In Collaboration With US National Park Service

Michiel Brouns, a natural paints expert and CEO of Leeds-based linseed paint manufacturer Brouns & Co, is collaborating with the National Park Service of America to help ensure the buildings and other structures across the 424 National Park sites in their care are maintained sustainably.

In the first transatlantic collaboration of its kind, Brouns, a leading expert on property restoration and sustainability, delivered a workshop on the use of linseed paint, which is ideal for maintaining the wooden and metal elements of any building. Attended by materials conservators, historical architects and preservation craftsmen from the National Park Service’s Historical Architecture, Conservation and Engineering Centre, the event took place in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Michiel Brouns said: “The National Park Service cares for thousands of important properties within its portfolio, along with gates, fences; wooden, iron or steel bridges, and linseed paint, a centuries-old, natural way to protect timber, metal and plaster from exposure to the elements, will help to preserve them for future generations.”

US demand for the Brouns & Co’s environmentally sustainable products is growing exponentially, with orders to the States increasing by more than 120% over the past 12 months. A series of landmark restoration projects in the US have recently been completed using the firm’s linseed paint, in New England, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.

“It’s vital to spread the word about this sustainable replacement for plastic-based paints,” said Mr Brouns. “I now visit the US regularly to deliver workshops to key groups such as this one from the National Park Service, they hold the key to us making the switch to all-natural linseed paint, with no plastics or VOCs, on a large scale.”

“The team from the National Park Service were super enthusiastic and, having tried and tested linseed oil paint in Wyoming in the past, we showed them how to use it on timber, steel, copper, brick and a puttied window frame.”

Jack Glassman, historical architect and project specialist at the National Park Service, said: “Michiel’s presentation about the past and present use of linseed oil paints was informative and compelling and we had a hands-on opportunity to apply linseed oil finishes to samples of unfinished and previously painted wood and sheet metal. “

“He explained the production process and the environmental benefits and delineated the various architectural applications for linseed oil paints. The long-term performance, spanning centuries in some cases, and many benefits of linseed oil products, was impressive.”

British Bedmaker Achieves Double King’s Award

Leeds-based fifth generation family-run bedmaker Harrison Spinks has achieved two prestigious King’s Awards for Innovation and International Trade, bringing the total number awarded to the company to seven.

The luxury bed brand, which is active in 13 European countries, plus the USA, Canada, Korea, and Australia, secured the King’s Award for Innovation thanks to significant work as an industry leader in innovation and design, including its design and manufacture of revolutionary glue-less fine-wire pocket springs used in its 100% recyclable mattresses.

Since its last successful Award win in 2019 – the Queen’s Award it holds for Sustainable Development – the business has made progressive leaps in innovation, developing and patenting new technology and design. To reach the goal of affordable, ecological luxury, it has focused on developing an innovative pocket-sprung mattress design, leading the way in which it transforms raw materials into world-leading innovation.

Harrison Spinks also secured the King’s Award for International Trade thanks to its continued focus on manufacturing premium, sustainable handmade beds in international markets.

Simon Spinks, Chairman of Harrison Spinks, said: “It is a huge honour to be recognised with two inaugural King’s Awards this year, which sit proudly alongside the Queen’s Award we hold for Sustainable Development. These awards are a reflection of the hard work the team has delivered, ensuring we are constantly championing innovation and high-quality, sustainable design.”

“From an international trade perspective, we’re proud that our British values of sustainable innovation and quality have truly set us up for success in a global marketplace.”

“These awards are especially important to us as a British business – we are a company that champions homemade and homegrown materials; supports businesses that manufacture in the UK; and one which works with organisations such as British Wool on campaigns like the Traceable Wool Scheme.”

“Our team has put in a lot of hard work this year and we’re proud this has been recognised with an award for International Trade. We’re also thrilled to have been awarded the title for Innovation as we continue to be industry leaders while maintaining the highest standards of production.”

The two King’s Awards follow a standout year for the company which saw it awarded Bed Manufacturer of the Year at the 2022/23 National Bed Federation Awards as well as becoming C2C accredited, a process which verifies products are safe, sustainable and ethically sourced, and consists of a rigorous, 18-month third-party product certification program.

The King’s Awards for Enterprise was previously known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, and the new name reflects His Majesty The King’s desire to continue the legacy of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s by recognising outstanding UK businesses. The Award programme, now in its 57th year, is the most prestigious business award in the country, with successful businesses able to use the esteemed King’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

Care Home Supports Young Adults Through Innovative Technology

A care home in Leeds is first in its sector to team up with Access Hospitality C.I.C. to provide full-time, paid employment to young adults in Yorkshire living with learning disabilities.

Seacroft Grange, a 95-bed care home in Seacroft, Leeds, has been working closely with Access Hospitality C.I.C., a Yorkshire-based not-for-profit social enterprise, which works with adults with learning difficulties to secure long-term job roles supported by an innovative piece of technology.

22-year-old Megna, who was recruited by Seacroft Grange in October 2022 has autism and learning difficulties. She was hired as a Bistro Assistant and works at the home’s on-site Bistro five days a week from 10am-2pm.

Megna said, “I am pleased to be working in the Bistro at Seacroft Grange. Every day is different and I have learned lots of new skills.”

“I was a bit shy at first, but now I really enjoy talking to the residents and staff and making Barista coffees for everyone.”

Access Hospitality C.I.C. launched in 2018 with a mission to help young adults in the region find fulfilling job roles in hospitality and retail, which are mutually beneficial to both the employer and employee.

The social enterprise has designed and created a piece of Assistive Technology which Megna has full use of. Megna uses the Assistive tech at work to help her with managing and fulfilling tasks by giving clear, controlled and direct instructions via a smart watch, or tablet.

The same piece of tech also allows visitors, residents and staff to order drinks. The Assistive tech allows her to fulfil her role taking orders and serving residents at the Bistro independently and with confidence.

Megna has been in her role for five months and the use of the technology has given her the ability to commit to, and fully enjoy her role within the home.

Care home manager, Eve Moran said, “Megna is a fantastic addition to the home – she’s got a wonderful work ethic and the staff and residents have all really warmed to her.”

“With a national shortage of hospitality staff within the care sector, we really struggled to fill Megna’s position and without her and the help of Access Hospitality C.I.C. we would not be able to open our Bistro – the social hub of the home where many residents visit for a Barista-style coffee or hot chocolate.”

“Working closely with Access Hospitality C.I.C. on placing Megna in this role has been a great experience. The team are caring and compassionate, provide the hands-on support and then let the assistive technology guide Megna and help her fulfill her daily tasks.”

Speaking on behalf of Access Hospitality C.I.C. CEO Nigel Cork said, “Our aim is to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship is formed between the young adults we work with and their future employers”.

“When Megna joined Seacroft Grange she was assigned a Job Coach from our team, who checked in on her regularly. However, thanks to the assistive technology, Megna is thriving in her role and is working independently and with confidence with support from her smart watch.”

“The technology is tailored to the needs of individuals. For example, for someone who may freeze up if overwhelmed, the smart watch can be programmed to play a pre-recorded video message from a loved one known to be able to relax and offer comfort and support at the touch of a button.”

“I have been greatly impressed with the attitude of the team at Seacroft Grange and the wider Springfield Healthcare Group to employing people with learning disabilities and autism, it flows throughout whole organisation – they really get it!”

Seacroft Grange is one of seven care homes within Springfield Healthcare group. Due to the success of the first full-time placement, Springfield Healthcare is looking to continue its relationship with Access Hospitality C.I.C. and adopt this technology and recruitment style within its portfolio of homes across the region.

Mental Health Charity Reveals Rebrand

A Leeds-based mental health charity has unveiled a new brand identity, website, and strategy, following over two decades of providing mental health support across Yorkshire.

Alongside refreshing its name from Northpoint Wellbeing to Northpoint, the charity has set out an updated organisational manifesto and proposition. Following a reassessment of the regional mental health landscape, service user needs, and adjusting to a post-Covid world, Northpoint has evolved its services, innovated, and enhanced its workforce. As part of this, a new strategy has been developed with a focus on delivering outstanding mental health support by leading innovation and driving change in the wider system.

The charity has worked with digital and brand agency, Thompson, to develop a new logo and green colour palette, user-friendly website and an updated tagline: “Mental health. It’s what we do.”

Duncan Pearse, chief executive at Northpoint, said: “Our new branding reflects the evolution of Northpoint over the past years – our rapid growth has seen us expand our services and reach across new geographies, enabling us to help over 28,000 people each year. We’ve more than doubled our experienced workforce and introduced many unique new roles. Everyone here is working towards a shared purpose of delivering effective mental health support.”

“The wellbeing of our service users is at the heart of everything we do.”

“We’ve worked with our fantastic partners and commissioners to develop innovative referral pathways for therapeutic services, worked collaboratively with service users to break down barriers to accessing support, and set up new services such as District 29 – a group which is the first of its kind in the region, providing free group therapy for those aged 16 to 25.”

Senior Staff Join Sleepout To Fight Homelessness

The Principal and CEO of Leeds College of Building has joined a growing list of senior managers taking part in CEO Sleepout.

Nikki Davis, the first female principal in the history of Leeds College of Building, will be sleeping under the stars to raise awareness of homelessness across the UK and reach a donation target of £1,000 for charity.

Nikki is the only senior manager from the Further Education sector currently registered to participate in the Leeds CEO Sleepout.

CEO Sleepout Leeds will take place at LUFC’s Elland Road on Thursday, 20 April, from 8 pm – 6.30 am. The event is open to business leaders, owners, c-suite execs, directors, and teams who will unite together and experience sleeping rough to fight poverty and homelessness in the UK.

Nikki said: “Homelessness is increasing and far more nuanced than we realised. The reasons for homelessness are complex, and sadly the support networks for people of all ages are not fully accessible. Personally, I hear more stories of students who might be sofa surfing or are made homeless quickly, and it’s such a difficult position for them to manage. As a college, we do all we can to help individual students, and by taking part in this event, I hope to raise awareness and funds to support more people.”

According to the latest statistics from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2022 was 3,069. This figure was up 26% from 2021. Most people sleeping rough in England are male, aged over 26 years old, and from the UK.

CEO Sleepout is a national charity set up in 2013 to inspire the business community to unite and fight homelessness, raising money for frontline services and helping to change lives. CEO Sleepout events are held in cities the length of the UK, raising funds that make a difference to people facing homelessness in host cities.

To date, over £3.6 million pounds has been raised by CEO Sleepout, involving more than 5,000 participants. Funds have been donated to over 100 hard-working charities nationwide on the frontline of homelessness.

Inaugural Women Of Excellence Awards

Lean In Leeds, one of the biggest women’s networking groups in Yorkshire, has celebrated the incredible women of the region with its inaugural Women of Excellence Awards. The winners were announced at a packed-out ceremony at Bruntwood, in Leeds City Centre, on Wednesday 22nd March.

“When women rise, they bring other women up with them,” explains Claire Ackers, chair of Lean In Leeds. “That’s the mission of our community, and the vision behind what’s made these awards so different. We’re so proud we’ve given a spotlight to women who are excluded from typical awards criteria. We’re thrilled that our inaugural attempt has been successful beyond our wildest dreams.”

The winners were: Polly Price from Axiologik for The Yorkshire Rose Award for rising stars, Jenny Taylor-Smith from Asda for The Sending the Lift Back Down Award, Dr Maiedha Raza for The Grit and Graft Award, Georgia Halston from Halston Group for the Tribe Leader award, Sarah Wilde from Chapeltown Nursery for the Grassroots Champion and Diane Watson from She Can Prosper was the Overall Gold Winner.

The entries were judged by an independent panel made up of Anna Sutton, CEO of the Data Shed and the Data Refinery; Eve Roodhouse from Leeds City Council; Juliette Atkinson, IT director of University of Bradford; Karen Landells from Deloitte and Tracy Fletcher, MD of Campbell and Fletcher.

Sponsored by a raft of Yorkshire-based businesses including Deloitte, Leeds University Business School, Glean, Panintelligence, XSEM, Bruntwood, Reward Finance Group and Art of Cloud; the Women of Excellence Awards were fundraising in aid of Smart Works Leeds, which helps women get back into employment.

“We were blown away by the response to the awards. We received over 125 entries from a really diverse range of nominations,” continues Claire Ackers. “The quality of the entries was extremely high and we were humbled by the incredible contribution women in our region are making – we were often in tears reading the submissions.”

“It’s also been brilliant being able to support the work of Smart Works Leeds with the awards, and we’re thrilled to have raised almost £2000 for a charity which is extremely close to our hearts.”

“We’ve already had lots of businesses and individuals wanting to get involved next year, so this is just the start for the Women of Excellence awards!”

Lean In Leeds is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers. Founded over seven years ago, it has over 1100 members and has run over 60 free events in Leeds and the surrounding areas, supported by local businesses. It also has a thriving mentoring scheme and welcomes anybody who supports their primary focus of gender equality.

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.”