Category Archives: Leeds

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.”

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.

Poultry Farm Awarded A Place On National Programme

An employee at a Middleton on the Wolds based family poultry farming business has been awarded one of 12 places on a national poultry development programme.

Emily Hughes, Poultry Health Specialist at Clive Soanes Broilers, was selected from over 40 applicants to join the NFU’s PIP (Poultry Industry Programme) cohort for 2022/2023.

The PIP was initially started by the NFU to develop young people already working within the poultry industry and broaden their knowledge. The programme builds on the cohort’s existing skills and knowledge to help them develop their careers as future industry leaders. The programme comprises a series of events and training which give participants a unique insight into the industry whilst providing networking opportunities.

A Harper Adams agri-food marketing and business graduate, Ms. Hughes joined Clive Soanes Broilers in January 2021. She applied to join the PIP to get ‘more awareness of what’s going on in the wider industry and a bit more involvement with other young people in poultry on the PIP.’

NFU poultry adviser Tom Glen said: “It is important to engage and encourage the next generation and the NFU’s Poultry Industry Programme aims to inspire those already working within the sector to become future leaders.”

In November, the 2022/23 PIP cohort gathered at the NFU HQ at Stoneleigh Park for a training session on leadership. You can read Ms Hughes’s account of the day here.

Clive Soanes Broilers has been rearing chicken since 1947. The chicken is processed and sold by sister company Soanes Poultry to butchers, independent retailers and restaurants in Yorkshire and wholesalers and catering butchers nationwide.

Clarion Announces Charity Of The Year

Clarion has announced that its chosen charity for 2023/24, nominated by its 300-strong team, is the Yorkshire-based children’s cancer-fighting charity Candlelighters. This follows two years of fundraising for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), raising a grand total of £35,500, despite the challenges of Covid lockdowns.

Candlelighters has been helping children with cancer and their families since 1976. It was founded by a group of parents and medical staff who recognised a need for families with children facing childhood cancer to receive extra support.

Lindsey Wrenn, partner in Clarion’s Intellectual Property practice who is leading this year’s charity fund-raising, said: “Giving back to the communities in which we work is very much at the heart of Clarion. It’s important that our team have a say in deciding the causes we support as they throw their heart and soul into raising funds for these fantastic charities. We are all very excited to be partnering with Candlelighters which has been changing the lives of the children and families it supports in Yorkshire for almost 50 years.”

Iain Blackwood Hobbs, partnerships executive for Candlelighters, said: “It means a lot to Candlelighters to have been selected as Clarion’s charity of the year for 2023. Their fundraising this year will make a massive difference to the families that the charity supports, and they will help to fund vital practical, emotional and financial services. We are looking forward to supporting them with the fundraising activities and seeing them take on some exciting challenge events.”

Over the last two years, the Clarion team has undertaken a wide range of activities to raise funds for CHSF which supports the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU), a world-class centre of excellence, by providing the funding and resources needed to care for patients and their families. As well as providing life-saving medical equipment, the charity provides parent accommodation and also funds staff training, scientific research and new clinical roles.

From climbing the Yorkshire Three Peaks, running marathons and completing triathlons, to supporting CHSF’s Wear Red Day, World Book Day and holding Advent raffles, Clarion’s charity committee has worked with colleagues to raise funds for CHSF. In December, the team also helped the charity provide Christmas Eve bags for every child in the hospital, including two ‘magic’ knitted snowflakes, one for them to keep with them and one waiting for them at home.

Sophie Morley, partner in Clarion’s Real Estate team who led the firm’s fundraising initiative for the last two years, said: “As ever, the Clarion team have thrown themselves totally into supporting this wonderful charity – we particularly enjoyed the creative photos of the team out and about with CHSF’s Katie Bear mascot! Thanks to every one of them for their enthusiasm and generosity, which combined with some match-funding from the firm, has enabled us to raise such a fantastic amount and help CHSF to continue its life-saving work.”

Andy McNally, head of marketing for CHSF, said: “Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are committed to supporting the 17,000 patients of all ages living with congenital heart disease in our region who pass through the LCHU every year. Clarion’s donations will help CHSF provide life-saving medical equipment, family support including parent accommodation and essential ward resources for the LCHU. CHSF are wholly funded by public donations, and corporate partners like Clarion are vital to enable us to achieve our aims.”

Nutritional Study Gets Underway For Cats Diagnosed With Cancer

A study designed to understand how nutrition can influence quality of life for cats diagnosed with cancer is getting underway this month.

Vet-AI, the national vet-tech firm headquartered in Leeds, has partnered with a leading pet food manufacturer to conduct a study into a food prepared especially for cats with different types of cancer. Pet owners whose cats qualify will be provided with calorie-rich complete food, weighing scales and regular calls with vets via Vet-AI’s digital vet care app, Joii Pet Care.

Vet Sheila Smith, who is leading the study for Joii Pet Care, said:
“This study forms part of our work to shape the future of pet healthcare. Trialling and studying interventions which help pets to have an improved quality of life is essential to making sure that treatments and measures can effectively help animals and we’re pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to pet owners at what is a very difficult time.”

“The aim of the study is to see if food can help cats to maintain body weight and appetite, while measuring their quality of life through the process. Our RCVS-registered vet team will help owners to transition to the new food over a controlled period of time and will be on hand for consultations throughout.”

The study will involve 30 cats throughout the year, with the results then analysed once the study concludes at the end of 2023, in a bid to help shape and inform the future of pet healthcare.

Smith added: “By taking part, owners will be helping their cat, and hopefully many more that have a cancer diagnosis in the future. The food has been designed to be really tasty which encourages them to eat, it’s calorie-rich with essential nutrition and is designed specifically to support their needs.”

Visit here to find out more about how pet owners can participate in the study. Joii Pet Care is also offering a free vet consultation for any pet owners concerned that their cat has cancer symptoms. Sheila Smith added: “Just like human healthcare, early detection and diagnosis is crucial, so we’re encouraging people to get in touch at the earliest opportunity if they are worried their cat may have cancer. Our teams will be able to provide a wealth of guidance, advice and support.”

Regional Growth With New Business Development Director

Scott Wood’s appointment as a new business development director at Leeds-based Reward Finance Group accelerates its growth plans in Yorkshire and further increases its profile in the corporate space.

With Reward a leading provider of tailored business finance loans and asset based solutions in Yorkshire and nationwide, Scott arrives with an extensive professional network across corporate finance and accountancy.

Having worked at some of the UK’s major banks for over 16 years, Scott joins from HSBC where he was a relationship director and worked closely with a portfolio of mid-corporate businesses to provide a range of financial solutions.

A key part of his role will be working alongside founding director Dave Jones to drive business development growth across Yorkshire with a specific focus on larger transactions to build on the growth Reward has already seen in this space.

Speaking about joining Reward, Scott commented: “Reward’s excellent reputation and rapid expansion across Scotland, the Midlands and London and the South East were key factors behind my decision to join the business. In my short time here so far, I have already seen Reward’s refreshing approach to supporting its clients and its ability to do so at speed.”

“I feel my experience across both private and corporate banking will only support Reward’s flexible, common sense approach towards lending. I’m really pleased to be on board and very excited about my future progression within the company.”

Gemma Wright, Reward’s regional director for Yorkshire and the North East, added: “Scott’s appointment is a real boost to our business both nationally and across Yorkshire where we have a long-established reputation. His remit is to further increase our activity in the £1m to £10m lending arena where we have seen a marked uptick since the start of the pandemic.”

“Scott brings a wealth of financial experience and professional contacts that will generate larger opportunities for Reward, particularly amongst accountancy and advisory firms that advise our typical target client base.”

Career Opportunities In The Spotlight In Leeds Festival

Manufacturing employers from across Leeds will come together next week to launch a programme of events aimed at highlighting the latest career opportunities available in the modern manufacturing and engineering sectors in the city and the wider region.

A high-profile launch event kicking off the Leeds Manufacturing Festival will take place at Leeds City College’s flagship Printworks Campus on 22 February, with keynote speakers West Yorkshire Mayor Tracey Brabin and Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturing employers’ organisation MAKE UK topping the bill.

West Yorkshire is home to around 5,600 manufacturing firms employing over 104,000 people and Leeds is the UK’s third largest manufacturing centre by local authority area.

Leeds Manufacturing Festival, now in its sixth year, will focus on connecting young people with potential employers, addressing the recruitment challenges that continue to affect the industry, with 85% of employers in the sector struggling to recruit new talent, according to a British Chambers of Commerce survey published this month.

The 2023 festival programme, which runs until July, will include a manufacturing careers showcase, where employers will meet students to talk about the varied roles on offer within the industry; a careers panel enabling school students to question employers and current apprentices face-to-face about the realities of working in manufacturing; as well as factory visits to firms across Leeds.

A highlight of the festival will be the return of the Next Gen Awards, in April, celebrating the achievements of outstanding young people working in the industry and a new category recognising the commitment of employers to training and development of their employees.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracey Brabin said: “Young people are key when it comes to building a green and resilient manufacturing sector – and there are so many exciting opportunities for them across our region. Whether it be as a budding engineering specialist or a bespoke furniture craftsperson, innovative new ways of manufacturing will help us to achieve our ambition of becoming net-zero by 2038.”

“This unique festival will provide insight into selling West Yorkshire products in the UK and beyond and is sure to inspire the next generation to boost their skills and pursue a career in manufacturing.”

MAKE UK’s Stephen Phipson added: “Manufacturing already provides 2.5m jobs across the whole of the UK, jobs which pay higher wages than the whole economy and give lifelong opportunities for career progression and development. The sector is responsible for 64% of all UK industrial research and development and just over half of Britain’s exports are goods.”

“However, there are currently 78,000 manufacturing vacancies across the UK with many companies saying that key roles are remaining unfilled for 12 months at a time. This chronic labour shortage highlights the vital importance of events like Leeds Manufacturing Festival in attracting new talent into our vibrant, innovative and exciting sector.”

Ben Wilson, chair of Leeds Manufacturing Alliance and director of Leeds-based glass reinforced plastic moulds manufacturer MPM, said: “As we get ready to launch the sixth year of the festival there’s a real buzz around the initiative, with both manufacturing employers and students across Leeds excited about the upcoming programme of events.”

“The festival is all about highlighting the huge range of exciting and well-paid careers that are on offer in the sector. Modern workplaces and innovation are hallmarks of manufacturing in Leeds and we should look to a bright future, and not the misplaced stereotypes of the past. People working in the sector derive immense satisfaction and pride from being part of a practical process that is, actually making things – it’s a hugely creative industry and a great sector to work in.”

Also featured in the Leeds Manufacturing Festival launch event on 22 February will be a panel of industry experts who will take questions from the audience. The line-up will include Amanda McLaren, managing director of iconic Leeds textile company AW Hainsworth; Mitch Scott, head of engineering at Leeds City College; Matt Booth, business manager from manufacturing and engineering sector recruiter E3 Recruitment’s, as well as manufacturing festival chair Ben Wilson.
To find out more about the festival and get involved, visit the event website here

Source & Adigi Forge Strategic Partnership

Performance-led marketing communications agency, Source, has partnered with WordPress and Shopify web design and development agency, Adigi to enable both companies to mutually expand the range of marketing channels they provide to clients.

The partnership gives Source the scope to work collaboratively with Adigi to migrate, design and build websites for new and existing clients. The Leeds-based agency, which works across PR, SEO, paid digital and social media, provides strategic guidance to clients across the UK and has seen an uplift in brands needing support on their web and digital marketing strategies.

Harrogate-based Adigi creates tailor made, online experiences for brands across a range of sectors and will look to enhance its client channel offering by drawing on the expertise of Source as a preferred PR partner.

Adigi has already cemented the relationship by designing and developing Source’s new website. The new-look site provides the perfect platform to showcase Source’s experience, unique culture and unveil its new client proposition – performance-led marketing communications.

Daniel Kennedy, a director at Source, said: “Entering a strategic partnership with Adigi and having the ability to introduce the agency’s web design and development capabilities to our client offering makes complete sense.”

“Following our Board restructure early last year, development of a new client proposition and continued expansion into new channels such as SEO and paid digital, we also needed a website that reflected the fresh direction we’re taking the business. Adigi has captured that brilliantly, with the new site already being well received.”

Dan Martin, managing director at Adigi, added: “We thoroughly enjoyed bringing Source’s new website to life by capturing the agency’s expanded channel offering, culture and ethos.”

“It is not every day that you get a chance to partner with an agency that has also won several awards or shares the same values, and so we’re looking forward to leveraging Source’s PR expertise and working collaboratively to achieve brilliant results for our clients.”

Leeds Based Underpin Appoints New Non-Executive Director

Well-known figure within professional sport and current CEO of Leicestershire County Cricket Club (LCCC), Sean Jarvis, has been appointed as non-executive director for Leeds-based golf mental performance coaching company, Underpin.

Sean will still maintain his full-time commitments with LCCC but draw on his leadership and sporting experience and expertise to help Underpin drive its long-term strategic growth aims.

With a strong commercial sporting background spanning three decades, Sean has worked at executive level within professional sports clubs, including in the Premier League with Huddersfield Town and the Football League with Oldham Athletic. He was also involved the launch of the rugby Super League and worked in a marketing capacity for Carling at the inception of the Premier League and Sky TV.

With Underpin providing mental performance coaching to elite amateur and professional golfers across the globe, Sean aims to replicate his success across other sports by providing the strategic direction and tactical delivery needed to help scale the business.

Sean will also help grow its existing network of corporate members, which includes Blacks Solicitors, C&C Healthcare and Sagars Accountants. Each member of the Underpin 72 Club benefit from bespoke golf and business events through to commercial networking opportunities. They gain a unique insight into the world of elite sports performance and help Underpin’s portfolio of players achieve their full potential at the very highest level of the professional game.

Commenting on his appointment, Sean said: “Having seen first-hand the vital role mental performance coaching plays in elite sport, I jumped at the opportunity to be part of Underpin and help provide the strategic guidance needed to shape the future growth of the business.”

“The role is ideal as it still allows me to provide my full commitment to LCCC, whilst being part of a business in its infancy which has a growing corporate network, operates globally and is having such a positive impact on the development of the amateur and professional game.”

Greg Robertson, founder and mental performance coach for Underpin, added: “To bring someone of Sean’s calibre on board is a major coup for Underpin. We have ambitious aims for the company and feel his commercial acumen and pedigree within professional sport can only benefit us in the journey ahead.”

“His passion and love of sport is infectious and he very much shares our philosophy of developing elite golfers, not just as players but as people as well, creating a solid platform for them to excel at the highest possible level. Everyone connected with Underpin has been energised by his arrival, as we enter what is a really exciting chapter for the business.”