Category Archives: Featured News

Opera Event At Pontefract Castle A Huge Success

Photo Credit: Tom Arber

Over 100 people enjoyed a free, fun, family-filled adventure at Pontefract Castle this weekend, and even more events are planned across the district this year.

Based on the music and story of Janáček’s opera, ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ was hosted by Opera North and led by a cast of professional opera singers and musicians. Families enjoyed this interactive and relaxed concert where singing and moving around were encouraged.

Cllr Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Sport, said: “This was an absolutely fantastic event for Wakefield residents to experience the magic of opera, storytelling, and music, whatever their age.”

“Going to the theatre can be an expensive outing and being able to offer this to families for free this year is our way of helping to bring opera to our communities and to audiences who may not usually be able to access traditional Opera North performances.”

“But don’t worry if you didn’t get tickets, we have lots of wonderful events coming up this year that everyone can get involved in.”

Rhubarb Festival returns to the district this weekend (17 – 19 February) with a food and drink market, chef demos, street entertainment, music and much more.

Residents can also look forward to the return of WordFest in May, the Castleford Roman Festival in June and Pontefract Liquorice Festival and Proms at the Castle (Pontefract) in July.

For more information about all the events taking place across the district this year, please visit the Experience Wakefield website here

Yorkshire As A Perfect Place To Do Business

In the first of a new column, Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Roy Shelton, the CEO of the Connectus Group, outlines why the region is the perfect place to do business.

“BARELY a week goes by without us hearing the phrase leveling up. Every time I see a politician standing outside the House of Commons in London or on those shiny green benches in Westminster, calling for ‘leveling up,’ I allow myself a wry smile.”

“Not because I don’t agree that it needs to happen. No, I smile to myself because I know those living and working in the region aren’t going to wait for Westminster MPs to deliver. They’re busy getting on with changing their own future. And making their own way.”

“For me, the north is the best place in the country to do business. Why? Well for a start, we rightly have a great reputation for being hardworking people with a rich history of just getting on with things no matter how tough it gets. Working here also comes with the benefit of a slightly lower cost of living.”

“The average house price is £ £162,600 which is £ 133,400 lower than the UK average according to official 2022 figures. It’s still terribly hard for first time buyers, but those making that step in the North have a better chance of climbing the property ladder.”

“And while we’re talking about young people we should celebrate the fact we have access to such a rich stream of talent graduating from some of the UK’s best universities in the country. And many of these institutions are only going to get bigger and better.”

“It’s not all about work though. And one of the best things about Yorkshire and the north is the facilities we can access during our all important downtime. We have access to great countryside, and National Parks such as the Peak District and Yorkshire Pennines. We can also boast some of the world’s best sports facilities as well as professional sports’ teams with big local rivalries dating back for generations.”

“And we shouldn’t forget the amazing outdoor events like the Great Yorkshire Show, Bolesworth International and The Cheshire Show. These are great opportunities to mix business and pleasure and make the connections which help us all in business.”

“Look, 2023 isn’t going to be easy. The cost of living crisis has made life very difficult for us all. The price of everything seems to be going up. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in price – and that’s the price of kindness. Kindness is often overlooked in business, but if my career has taught me one thing it’s that companies who have kindness at their core do the best. “

“Kindness from the top down promotes hard work and pride among employees which, come the end of the financial year, translates into strong numbers. Yes we’re tough up north – but we are also the kindest and friendliest communities in the country. So let’s come together, embrace the opportunities of 2023, and get down to business.”

New Rural Enterprise Centre Opens In The Dales

An impressive rural enterprise centre perfectly situated in North Craven, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, has officially opened its doors – supporting 30 new jobs.

Civic dignitaries, officers and special guests gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the £3.5 million Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre near Settle, North Yorkshire, on January 25th.

During the opening ceremony invitees were given a tour of the site and workspaces. The former Craven District Council waste depot has been given a new lease of life and the facility now boasts restored and refurbished stone buildings as well as the construction of eight business units, three new buildings and a brand-new public car park.

The refurbishment of the traditional stone barn (former garage and depot) – The Enterprise Hub – now provides a range of flexible and bespoke office space to accommodate a variety of business needs. Oozing in character, it offers three meeting/training rooms (ideal for holding meetings, seminars, client presentations and conferences), a co-working space with 14 hot-desks and five incubator/private offices.

The facility, which also lies next to the Settle-Carlisle railway, has been funded by Craven District Council, York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Proud of the development, Craven District Council’s lead member for enterprising Craven and Chairman of the Council, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “The enterprise centre is a great asset and we are thrilled that it’s open for business. This scheme will help provide much-needed workspace in the district. We know there is a strong demand for modern, flexible workspace for new and existing small businesses in Craven. This has proved to be even more important as we came out of the coronavirus lockdown and felt we needed more and more local employment. This facility in our rural district is an excellent example of creating new spaces that provide the tools that businesses need to thrive in today’s economic landscape.”

Similar views were shared by the Chief Executive of Craven District Council, Paul Shevlin, who said: “The Enterprise Centre is a fitting legacy the district council is leaving behind. The fantastic and much-needed development of a purpose-built enterprise centre – the first facility of its kind in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – will provide a sound basis for contributing to the local economy and will enable small businesses to grow. I would like to thank everyone involved for turning this ambitious project into a reality.”

A range of enterprises are now expected to make the centre, which is perfectly situated in an area of outstanding beauty and close to the historic Hoffmann Kiln, their new home. Tenants will have the benefit of full fibre connectivity, providing some of the fastest broadband speeds available thanks to Broadband for Rural North (B4RN).

Among the first tenants to sign up is Andrew Jones, who runs Yorkshire Dales Classics Limited. He describes Langcliffe as a great location for small or start-up companies and easily accessible for large parts of Craven. He explained further: “We moved house from Baildon to the area last February, so Langcliffe is an ideal location to move my business premises to. There is a real shortage of small to medium sized units available in the Settle area. The units benefit from being modern and well insulated with the added bonus of superfast broadband availability from B4RN. Plus, lease terms are sensible and there is the opportunity to use the Hub facilities if required.”

Commenting on the support for economic growth, David Dickson, Chair of Place & Infrastructure Board at York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The new facilities are great and will support economic growth across the area. We’re pleased to have supported the scheme with Local Growth Fund investment and we look forward to seeing the site flourish in the years to come. It’s a fantastic place to do business.”

Meanwhile, Dehenna Davison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Levelling Up), said: “I am pleased to hear that the Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre has officially opened and that £1.6million of Government funding from the Local Growth Fund, awarded to York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, was used to support this project. Small and medium-sized enterprises are vital to growing our economy, driving innovation and supporting the Government’s commitment to levelling up across the country, especially in our rural communities. I’m hopeful that the new facilities will help propel businesses to reach their full potential.”

Hailing the development a “great place to work,” Member Champion for Development Management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Jim Munday, commented: “A significant economic development project in the Craven district was promised in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan 2019-24. The Langcliffe Enterprise Centre is it. The site is rich in wildlife and amazing old Craven Limeworks buildings such as the atmospheric Hoffmann Kiln. Craven District Council took on a difficult challenge in redeveloping the site but it has been rewarded. The Langcliffe Enterprise Centre will provide a really attractive place for businesses in the National Park and will benefit the long-term management of this nationally-important site.”

The facility has been built to extremely high environmental standards by Sutcliffe Construction, using innovative construction techniques and modern materials, including the installation of roof-mounted Solar PV panels, rainwater collection, low voltage lighting and low emissivity glass. The design means that the buildings will be highly energy efficient when in use.

James Sutcliffe, Managing Director of Sutcliffe Construction Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to have handed over phase one of the Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre, our first major project for Craven District Council. Due to the site being of historical importance, the works required careful and considerate planning, with many consultants and agencies involved, including Historic England and Ecology and Arboricultural consultants, to ensure the protection of local wildlife and the environment.”

The project has funded the ongoing operation and management of the site. This includes the post of a Rural Business Development Officer who will be responsible for managing the enterprise hub and provision of wider business support both on-site and off-site, covering the more remote rural areas of the district.

Nostalgia Marketing & Making The Most Of It

Marketing is at its most effective when a brand can make an emotional connection with its audience – and what better way than to connect through the memories of our childhoods.

Nostalgia works by reminding us of ourselves at a different time and letting us reflect on this past – or even for many in generation Z, it tells them of how the world, and their parents, were before this moment.

Being able to relate your company to this past can draw on the emotions of your customers and it is these emotions which makes the marketing so effective.

Here, with the help of Peter Campbell of Snowshock, a UK based slushy machine business, we’ll explore what nostalgia marketing why it works so well, and how you can start implementing it into your marketing strategy.

What Is Nostalgia Marketing?
Nostalgia triggers emotional responses to familiar sounds, sights, and smells from our childhoods. It reminds us of a simpler, less stressful time. Whether it is school discos or our favourite cartoons, our long-forgotten favourites can be brought back to us.

Marketing in this way bring back themes and styles from people’s childhoods to provoke an emotional reaction. Companies such as McDonalds, Coca Cola, and Nintendo have all used nostalgia marketing within their strategies to great effect.

Whether it be reminders of a moment in history linked to a certain TV show or childhood food, these cultural memories trigger the emotions of your customers by reminding them of a past, whether lived or not.

How To Implement Nostalgia Marketing Into Your Strategy
Audience And Era
When attempting nostalgia marketing, you will want to find the right audience for you. Whether your audience is mostly Gen Z, millennials, or older, you will want to appeal to their childhood memories. As this will differ between generations, it is important to note down the age range of your clientele.

However, a safe bet for bringing nostalgia into your marketing is to target the 1990s, with the popular slogan “Only ‘90s kids would understand”. This time hints at comfort shows such as Friends and the Rugrats, as well as foods such as fish fingers and eggs and soldiers.

And for some, anything “retro” is a go. Gen Z jump in on the ‘90s trends, even though they didn’t experience the decade. They bring back ‘90s fashion and music idols. And with TV shows such as Stranger Things resurging the love for cassette players, music and the ‘80s, nostalgia and finding a history is an effective tool for grabbing an audience.

Use Fonts, Colours And Themes To Your Advantage
While you might not want to reference specific pop culture from the era, as this might be copyrighted, you can approach nostalgic marketing through colour, fonts, and themes. Think bold black outlines, jagged shapes, and bright, contrasting colours.

The ‘90s were bright and bold with colours which contrasted, inspired heavily by comic books and pop art. Using these colours and contrasts within your own marketing material can bring about this feeling of nostalgia for a past before the millennium.

Company History Can Help
And why not bring in your own story as nostalgic- where did your company start, why, and how far has it come? Other brands have used this to their advantage by exploring their past and bringing back old logos, such as Coca Cola and more.

This dive into the past of your company can be advantageous for your brand authenticity – letting your customers know the true business, your purpose, and the journey your company has been on so far. Gen Z and millennial customers prefer brands who share their values, and by exploring the story of your company customers can identify closer with your brand.

Nostalgia works by reminding us of ourselves at a different time and letting us reflect on this past – or even for many in generation Z, it tells them of how the world, and their parents, were before this moment.

Being able to relate your company to this past can draw on the emotions of your customers and it is these emotions which makes the marketing so effective.

Hull Councillor Joins In With Cycle Path Clean Up Operation

Councillor Mark Ieronimo went ‘back to the floor’ as he joined Hull City Council’s dedicated cycle path team for a morning’s work.

Donning high-vis gear and wielding a litter-picker, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Roads, Highways and Transport mucked in with the team as they tidied up a cycle path near Priory Road.

Armed with leaf blowers, hedge cutters, grass trimmers, bin bags and a road sweeping vehicle, the team cleared the path before jumping back in their vans and moving on to the next one.

The council has three two-person teams that ensure Hull’s off-road cycle tracks are clear and safe for cyclists. The teams were set up in 2020, and mainly cover three main routes, which follow old railway lines: the Hornsea, Withernsea and the Cottingham branch lines.

Their tasks include fly-tip removal, litter-picking, sweeping, emptying litter bins, strimming and cutting back vegetation. They also focus on gritting and removing fallen leaves to prevent slip hazards, and removing glass to reduce the risk of punctures.

Cllr Ieronimo said: “If we want to encourage more people to get on their bikes in Hull, it’s essential that the city’s cycle routes are kept as places where cyclists feel safe and can enjoy their ride.”

“Keeping the city’s cycle tracks clean and tidy is something we are asked about a lot, including in last year’s traffic and transport survey, so it’s great to see how hard these teams are working every day to make sure this happens.”

“The teams obviously take a great deal of pride in what they do, and it was useful to hear about what resources they might need to do their jobs even more effectively.”

Doug Sharp, the council’s Head of Waste Management and Street Cleansing, said: “It was great to have Cllr Ieronimo working alongside our cycle path team, seeing what they do, day in and day out, to keep the city’s routes clean, tidy and, most importantly, safe.”

“We know how important the off-road cycle network is to cyclists, and the old branch lines are critical routes for navigating the city. That’s why we are working hard to ensure they are clean and safe for cyclists.”

For more on cycling in Hull, including an interactive map of cycle routes, visit Travel Hull.

Inspired Sculpture To Be Developed At Cannon Hall

Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust have secured funding to create an exciting new artwork in Cannon Hall’s parklands.

A grant of £84,380 from the Arts Council England National Lottery Fund will see the installation of ‘The Guardians of Bird Island’ in the winter of 2023.

The vibrant, family-friendly sculpture and story walk will celebrate Cannon Hall’s stunning and natural landscape.

A strong environmental theme will inspire the project, and the natural environment will be reflected in material choices, processes, and ethos.

Created in collaboration with Barnsley communities, there will be a series of workshops led by local artists Lenny and Whale, who will work with groups to co-create the contemporary sculpture.

The artwork will be unveiled in late 2023 during a weekend celebration.

Councillor Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “Cannon Hall has been through a transformational time and is a real jewel in the Yorkshire landscape. The Hall and its collections are outstanding, as are the parklands, which we are lucky to have on our doorstep. Improvements to the well-loved visitor attraction continue to be made through external funding. We are delighted to have support from the Arts Council England National Lottery Fund for this incredible project. The artwork will represent the wildlife and natural environment synonymous with Cannon Hall. It will be a real celebration of the area made even more special through the collaborative process, creating the piece with local people.”

Artists Lenny and Whale said, “We are really excited to be working with local communities and families to develop a vibrant and colourful artwork at Cannon Hall. We are look forward to a creative journey that celebrates nature, whilst highlighting the important environmental issues that the planet faces.”

Danaë Wellington Announced As New Sheffield Poet Laureate

Danaë Wellington has been announced as the new Poet Laureate of Sheffield. Originally set up by Sheffield City Council with a small honorarium, the position gives the opportunity to a local poet to celebrate and give a profile to the city, its culture and its communities via spoken word.

Danaë is a Jamaican-British author, performance artist, and former neo-soul singer who is based in Sheffield. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies and she has performed at festivals such as Tramlines, Sheaf Poetry Festival, and Off the Shelf Festival of Words. Her vocals are on several records, including her recently released debut LP, “Good Fruit.” She also produced “Passing the Baton: The Legacy of the Windrush Pioneers,” a film about how the Windrush Generation changed Sheffield’s cultural landscape.

Along with the news that she was named Laureate, Danaë recently read some of her poetry, including “The Blue Jeans Asks Her,” at the University of Sheffield’s Firth Hall as part of the Off the Shelf Festival, which takes place every October. Black womanhood, Black creole and Christian faith, freedom, and resistance are major themes of her work.

“The role of Poet Laureate holds significant weight for me. I’m stepping into the role as a Black, immigrant, autistic woman which means I get to be a part of breaking the myth that poetry isn’t for people like me. I’m joining my predecessors in shattering the myth that poetic expression has one voice. Poetry looks and sounds like many things, and during this time I hope to encourage storytellers that have been sitting on the periphery to rise up,” explains Danaë.

Since 2017, Wellington has worked and performed with local organisations such as Hive South Yorkshire, which helps young people ages 14 to 30 improve their writing skills. She also founded Odd Child Productions, a Black and neurodiverse-led events and production company in Sheffield. She aims to improve equity in arts and culture by making accessible local cultural programmes and events for young people, adults, and families, to “bridge the gap between arts and cultural institutions and ethnically minoritised communities.”

Wellington will hold the Laureateship for two years. She succeeds Warda Yassin, who wrote “A Sonnet for Sheffield” for the Off the Shelf Festival of Words in 2021. Otis Mensah, a local poet and performer, is also in their company, appointed the first Laureate for the city in 2018 by former Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Magid Magid.

Magid Magid, former Sheffield Mayor and founder of Sheffield Poet Laureate said: “Danae is an amazing addition to the Sheffield Poet Laureates who came before her. When we established the Laureateship in 2018, the goal was to showcase and support our city’s thriving artistic and cultural scene. As committed to increasing access to the arts as Danae is, paired with her incredible talent for poetry and spoken word, I have no doubt that she will only build on the brilliant foundation laid by Otis and Warda.”

Off the Shelf Festival of Words, from the University of Sheffield, is one of the largest literary festivals in the North of England. Every October the Festival brings the best of local, regional, and international literary talent to Sheffield and South 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.”