Wakefieldfirst | Latest News Feed http://www.wakefieldfirst.com Latest News from WakefieldFirst Mon, 16 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.srcreative.net/ Turnover nears 250m at MJ Gleeson http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/turnover-nears-250m-at-mj-gleeson/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/turnover-nears-250m-at-mj-gleeson/#comments Mon, 16 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/turnover-nears-250m-at-mj-gleeson/ Turnover nears £250m at MJ Gleeson

Turnover has grown to almost £250m at MJ Gleeson, boosted by a record performance from both its housebuilding and strategic land businesses.

The listed company reported revenue of £249.9m for the year ended 30 June 2019, up 27 per cent from £196.7m in 2017/18.

Pre-tax profit also grew by 11 per cent to £41.2m from £37m the year before.

Gleeson Homes sold 1,529 units during the period, up 25 per cent from 1,225, with the average selling price also increasing to £128,900 from £125,200.

Gleeson Strategic Land completed nine land sales during the year. It now has a portfolio comprising 60 sites with the potential for 21,730 plots. MJ Gleeson has now made the decision to retain this business within the group, having revealed earlier this year that it was considering options, including a potential sale.

Dermot Gleeson, chairman of MJ Gleeson, said: "Record volume growth in Gleeson Homes and record profit levels in Gleeson Strategic Land resulted in strong group profit growth.

"Despite the uncertainties caused by Brexit, demand for our homes continues to be extremely strong. Gleeson Homes is well on track to deliver its milestone target of doubling annual completions to 2,000 units by 2022. Led by a strong and highly experienced management team, the division continues to have significant scope for expansion by building low-cost homes for young, first time buyers and low-income families in a market that is underserved by other housebuilders.

"Following a review of options, we have concluded that retaining Gleeson Strategic Land offers significantly greater long-term value to the group than selling the business. The division had a record year and continues to benefit from high levels of demand for consented land in prime locations from both large and medium-sized housebuilders."

New manager takes over Wakefield business group with the aim of making the city centre attract more visitors http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/new-manager-takes-over-wakefield-business-group-with-the-aim-of-making-the-city-centre-attract-more-visitors/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/new-manager-takes-over-wakefield-business-group-with-the-aim-of-making-the-city-centre-attract-more-visitors/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/new-manager-takes-over-wakefield-business-group-with-the-aim-of-making-the-city-centre-attract-more-visitors/ New manager takes over Wakefield business group with the aim of making the city centre attract more visitors

Tom Zane-Black has moved from a similar role in the London Borough of Bromley to take on the task of making Wakefield more attractive to visitors.

Thomas said: “I’m really excited and privileged to join the team at Wakefield BID and help promote this wonderful city centre.

“I would like Wakefield BID to introduce exciting and stimulating events to attract visitors and entertain those who work in the city – encouraging them to not only enjoy our events, but also the fantastic restaurants and cafes and wealth of venues in the night time economy sector.”

Before his role in Bromley, Thomas ran his own events business working primarily with shopping centres in the south east of England.

Ideas mooted for Wakefield city centre include combining the different Christmas lights switch-ons in the city centre as of next December.

Events held in temporarily pedestrianised streets are also something the organisation will work on.

Graham Howarth, chairman of Wakefield BID, said: “Tom not only brings with him a wealth of talent and experience, but a new viewpoint and passion to deliver our business plan in the most impactful, creative way possible.

“Wakefield BID goes back to the vote by businesses in 2022, so now is the time to build on the good foundations and really ramp things up so businesses and visitors can directly see the impact we’ve had.”

Tom replaces former BID manager, Elizabeth Murphy, who has left Wakefield for Harrogate.

BID has worked with other organisations – such at the council, businesses or arts groups – to on events including Wakefield Restaurant Week, the Festival of the Moon and Wakefield Trinity Scrumday.

It is independent of Wakefield Council and is an independent company led by a board from the local business community.

Revamp planned for Junction 32 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/revamp-planned-for-junction-32/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/revamp-planned-for-junction-32/#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/revamp-planned-for-junction-32/ Revamp planned for Junction 32

The Junction 32 outlet shopping centre in West Yorkshire is set to be revamped.

Formerly known as Freeport, the shopping outlet located just off the M62 at Castleford was bought by Landsec in 2017.

Plans have been revealed for a full rebrand, which includes a complete redesign of the centre and shop façades, outdoor landscaping, and a fresh brand identity that will be rolled out in all marketing collateral and activity.

The centre is celebrating 20 years of trading at an event this weekend (7-8 September).

Darren Winter, centre manager at Junction 32, said: "I'm thrilled that we're able to reveal our plans for a transformation just two years after our acquisition by Landsec – it's especially timely as we celebrate 20 years of successful retail relationships. We're always working to evolve and provide our customers with the very best shopping experience.

"We look forward to sharing more details of our exciting plans to improve the centre in the coming months and to offer a more premium outlet shopping experience."            

The works to redesign the centre, including shop facades and landscaping, are set ot begin in the New Year.

Game launches provide half-year boost for Team17 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/game-launches-provide-half-year-boost-for-team17/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/game-launches-provide-half-year-boost-for-team17/#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/game-launches-provide-half-year-boost-for-team17/ Game launches provide half-year boost for Team17

Team17, the game developer behind the best-selling Worms franchise, has almost doubled revenue in its half-year results after launching a host of new titles.

The listed company reported revenue of £30.4m for the six months ended 30 June 2019, up 97 per cent from £15.4m in the same period of 2018.

Adjusted EBITDA and increased to £12m from £4.9m the year before.

New titles released during the first half included Genesis Alpha One, My Time at Portia and Hell Let Loose.

Team17 has plans to relocate its development studio relocation planned to a larger site during the second half of the year, providing with increased capacity to support its growth ambitions. The company's headcount increased to 164 during the period, from 154 the year before.

Debbie Bestwick MBE, chief executive of Team17, said: "Our results during the first six months really underline the dedication and hard work of our people and external Games Label partners, and I want to thank every one of them.

"I'm delighted with the excellent start to FY2019, delivering record revenues and operating profit in the period as well as successfully launching several high-profile games.

"We have a solid line up of new games to release in H2 2019 and look forward to updating our shareholders on our continued progress in due course."

Team17 is headquartered in Wakefield with a commercial office in Nottingham.

West Yorkshire towns set for regeneration boost with 3.6bn government fund http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/west-yorkshire-towns-set-for-regeneration-boost-with-36bn-government-fund/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/west-yorkshire-towns-set-for-regeneration-boost-with-36bn-government-fund/#comments Mon, 9 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/west-yorkshire-towns-set-for-regeneration-boost-with-36bn-government-fund/ West Yorkshire towns set for regeneration boost with £3.6bn government fund

Eight towns across West Yorkshire have been named among 100 UK towns to benefit from a new £3.6bn regeneration fund.

Goldthorpe, Dewsbury, Castleford, Keighley and Shipley, Wakefield, Brighouse, Todmorden and Morley will all receive funds from the government’s Towns Fund.

The £3.6bn fund aims to enable towns across the country to develop regeneration plans and boost their local economy.

Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, commented: “Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities is central to the mission of this government.

“Today’s announcement will ensure West Yorkshire towns like Castleford attract more world-leading businesses like Burberry to the region.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, added: “Over 10,000 businesses in West Yorkshire have already been supported by our local Growth Hub.

“I am sure these eight places will come forward with innovative ideas which will help even more companies start up and grow in the Northern Powerhouse.”

Funding for IT and Skills Support to be Brexit ready! http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/funding-for-it-and-skills-support-to-be-brexit-ready-/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/funding-for-it-and-skills-support-to-be-brexit-ready-/#comments Mon, 9 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/funding-for-it-and-skills-support-to-be-brexit-ready-/ Funding for IT and Skills Support to be Brexit ready!

The government has announced new grant funding worth £16m towards helping businesses train staff in making customs declarations and to help businesses that support others to trade goods to invest in IT. This funding follows the Chancellor’s £2.1bn cash injection into government departments last month to prepare for a no deal Brexit, doubling the funding put towards Brexit preparations this year.

It was announced last month that £344m has been put towards border and customs operations, including the hiring of more border officers and the improving of transport infrastructure around ports. 3,000 customs agents have already been trained as part of an £8m investment earlier in the year, which also went towards the development of new online learning products for training Customs staff, including the new UK Customs Academy which was launched on 12 August.

For more information on the grant fudning visit here.

Or alternatively find out if your business is border ready here!

InterTradeIreland's Start to Plan vouchers, which provide up to €2,250 for SMEs to source professional advice/training to prepare for Brexit. Businesses can also avail of financial support up to €5,625 through the Brexit Implementation Voucher.

‘Energy & Clean Growth in the Northern Powerhouse’ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/energy-amp-clean-growth-in-the-northern-powerhouse-/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/energy-amp-clean-growth-in-the-northern-powerhouse-/#comments Mon, 9 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/energy-amp-clean-growth-in-the-northern-powerhouse-/ Don’t miss out on the launch conference of ‘Energy & Clean Growth in the Northern Powerhouse’ by the Humber LEP!

Tuesday 5th November will see the very first launch event of its kind, convened by all Northern LEPs covering over 70 local authorities in conjunction with BEIS’ Green BG week.

This exciting 2-day event will be held at the state-of-the-art Bonus Arena in Hull attracting over 1,000 delegates, high profile politicians, leading businesses, prominent academics, public sector representatives and international delegations.

The event will showcase and celebrate the innovation, leadership and opportunities across the north of England in energy, decarbonisation, transition and clean growth.

Why you should attend…

-The event offers the opportunity to showcase the North of England’s successes and aspirations

-Debate the hot topics for policy makers

-Promote future technologies and ground-breaking research

-Build supply chain opportunities for SMEs

-Assess the economic environment for businesses and workforces

-Illustrate the case for inward investment across the region

Don’t miss out on this great event!

For more information & to book your place click here.

Changes in consumer behaviour demand robust solutions for PCI compliance http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/changes-in-consumer-behaviour-demand-robust-solutions-for-pci-compliance/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/changes-in-consumer-behaviour-demand-robust-solutions-for-pci-compliance/#comments Fri, 6 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/changes-in-consumer-behaviour-demand-robust-solutions-for-pci-compliance/ Changes in consumer behaviour demand robust solutions for PCI compliance

If your company handles customer payments, then you should be familiar with the Payment Card Industry Security standard, or PCI DSS.

This set of security standards ensures that companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card data maintain a secure environment.

The penalty for non-compliance can range from a significant fine to loss of your merchant ID, rendering you unable to take card payments. Yet you still hear horror stories of data being written down on notepads or left on the hard drive of an old computer.

PCI DSS compliance does not allow for the digital recording or storage of sensitive payment card information such as the CVV2 security code or user PIN, even if the data is encrypted. That’s why it is essential to have a dynamic, automated solution that delivers a seamless customer experience where no sensitive data is recorded.

The need for a robust and flexible solution within your customer contact operation is becoming even more important as consumer habits change. Some customers still prefer to make payments over the phone whereas others are no longer content to read out their personal information because of the perceived risk of data fraud.

In order to ensure that data given over the phone is not recorded or stored by agents, solutions include dedicated non-recording handsets or automatic call silencing. Many companies use automated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems where customers can enter their own data via their handset, either assisted or unassisted by the call handler.

PCI de-scoping ensures that calls are transferred to an automated credit card payment system, using IVR or customers use their telephone keypads to enter the card data whilst on the telephone to an agent.

As technology evolves, consumers have more ways to interact with companies including email, web, video, instant messaging and social media and more ways to protect their identity including face and voice recognition.

Omni-channel contact centres are fast becoming the norm but operators must ensure all data received is subject to the same high levels of security – regardless of channel.

By Dean Harrop, director, NGC Networks


Digital Enterprise Toolkit http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/digital-enterprise-toolkit/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/digital-enterprise-toolkit/#comments Fri, 6 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/digital-enterprise-toolkit/ Digital Enterprise Toolkit

Digital technology is transforming the way in which businesses operate, helping them to gain a competitive edge and achieve long term success. The Digital Enterprise business support programme is aimed at small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) based in the Leeds City Region that are wanting to grow and develop through an investment in digital technology.

The programme offers three strands of support (via voucher funding and educational opportunities) for eligible businesses and businesses can apply for more than one strand of assistance.

Strands of support for eligible businesses:

Digital Growth Voucher worth between £2,000 and £12,500 for eligible businesses (businesses should be operating predominantly in a business to business (B2B) environment, have at least two employees and been trading for at least 12 months). For further information visit Digital Growth Vouchers

Digital Growth Vouchers are designed to help small to medium sized businesses that are looking to grow by covering some of the costs of their digital/IT investment, so that they can achieve greater profitability and reach their full potential.

The voucher can be used to help cover the cost of investing in a wide range of digital technology solutions - such as purchasing or developing new hardware and software, developing websites and apps, introducing new internet telephony, etc. Vouchers can be used for either one technology solution or a bundle of solutions. 

Digital Enterprise will contribute a specified percentage contribution (at least 50%) towards the total cost of a project. The rest must be contributed by the beneficiary (business).

The digital/IT investment should enhance business performance and growth, so when evaluating a project’s eligibility Digital Enterprise will be looking for:

-Potential for digital transformation of the business as a result of the investment project.

-Potential economic impact in terms of increasing turnover and creating good quality and sustainable jobs for the business.

-Business performance improvements that are likely to result from the investment, including increased productivity and scaleability of the business.

The Digital Growth Voucher scheme opens in tranches throughout the year. An allocated fixed amount of funding for vouchers is allocated to each tranche.  Businesses who register for Digital Enterprise assistance and who are offered Digital Growth Voucher funding are able to indicate which tranche of funding they would like to access. This is particularly helpful for businesses who wish to access funding, but are looking to commence their project at a later date.

Connectivity+ Voucher worth between £500 and £3,000 for eligible businesses to cover the cost of upgrading their digital/broadband connection to above 30mbps and acquire related technology. If the current download speed is above 30 mbps, then the voucher can be used to install a new higher speed connection that doubles the broadband speed. For further details visit Connectivity Vouchers

Businesses will only be required to provide match funding for the balance of their investment if the project cost is above the value of the voucher. 

Businesses operating in both a B2B and B2C environment can apply. They can be of any age (including start-ups) and must have between 1-249 employees.

Many small firms that wish to grow and achieve digital transformation are limited by the quality of their digital connection, including limited bandwidth (up and downstream), high levels of contention with some technologies (FTTC), or the cost of upgrading to a dedicated connection (ISDN or excess construction charges, etc) due to their location.

The Connectivity+ Voucher scheme is open all year round. Approximately 250 Connectivity+ Vouchers will be available, on a first come, first served basis and when funding is exhausted, this strand of the programme will close.

Based upon a minimum project cost of £3,000 (excluding VAT) the voucher will be a grant of between £500 and £3,000 to help cover costs related to the installation and upgrade of digital connectivity /broadband.

Eligible businesses can use the Connectivity+ Voucher for a range of costs associated with upgrading a digital connection, including:

-The actual cost of the installation i.e. the cost of the physical connection, including excess construction costs to reach a network.

-Hardware related to facilitating the connection e.g. a firewall, router, receiver/antennae (for wireless connections).

-Virtual servers and software licences (subject to limitation of upfront costs only).

-Consultancy/project management cost to install a connection – capped at 25% of the value of a voucher.

Vouchers cannot be used to cover revenue/ongoing subscription costs for broadband services and cannot be used to pay VAT.

An Animation about the Connectivity+ Voucher is available here.

The Digital Knowledge Exchange, a programme of workshops, masterclasses, mentoring support and digital audits to help businesses improve their understanding of digital technology and the solutions available to help them to develop their business. Participants will receive up to 12 hours of free support. For more information about this service please visit Digital Knowledge Exchange

Subjects covered include, but are not limited to:

-Digital Marketing -Branding Governance

-Web Design -Broadband

-Search Engine Optimisation -Lead Generation

-Customer Service -Social Media

-Cloud Computing -Video

-Sales and Marketing -Analytics

-Networks and Connectivity -Mobile Optimisation

-IT -Content marketing

-Cyber Security -Telecomms / VOIP

-Support and Resilience -Marketing Automation

-Mobile Apps

Events and workshops are delivered at venues across the Leeds City Region. Businesses operating in either a business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) environment are eligible. Firms should have at least one employee and businesses or any age (including start-ups) can apply.

The Digital Knowledge Exchange will re-open late Autumn 2019.

Businesses can register for one or more strands of assistance.


The scheme is supported by the nine Local Authorities in the Leeds City Region LEP area (excluding Barnsley).

Businesses wishing to take advantage of a Connectivity+ Voucher or wish to participate in the Digital Knowledge Exchange can trade in either a B2B or B2C environment, can be any age (including start ups) and employ between 1-249 people.

The Digital Growth Voucher is restricted to companies that trade B2B under EU funding rules, have to be trading for at least 12 months and employ two or more staff.

How to apply?

Business interested in taking advantage of the Digital Enterprise business support programme should register their interest here.




#Grow http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/grow/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/grow/#comments Fri, 6 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/grow/ #Grow

The #Grow scheme is a new grant fund established to build on the momentum of Channel 4’s investment in the City Region, and the wider growth potential of the creative and digital sector.

The scheme will provide grant support to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to unlock growth projects and develop greater capacity in the sector. Although there are a number of existing grant schemes linked to business growth across the City Region, the #Grow fund is designed specifically to meet the needs of this sector.

Businesses must:

Operate in the creative and digital sector

Be based in the City Region, which includes the local authority areas of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York

Have been established for at least 12 months and must operate from commercial premises

Generate the majority of their turnover from trading with other businesses, or, their application must demonstrate how the grant-supported project will lead to this. (Businesses engaged in retailing or providing localised business to consumer services are not eligible for grant support)

Have a capital investment project of £20,000 or above. Grants of between £10,000 to £50,000 are available, covering up to a maximum of 50% of eligible costs, depending on the number of jobs to be created

Have private finance available: either their own, from a bank, or other commercial finance to invest alongside the grant (please note: the minimum total project cost is £20,000 - therefore businesses must have at least £1 of private sector finance to invest for every £1 in grant)

Demonstrate financial viability of the project and the need for grant support

Project’s must:

Consist of capital investment in equipment and/or, fit-out and refurbishment of buildings. (Please note: refurbishment or renovation projects will only be supported where the business will be the sole occupier within the refurbished or renovated business property)

Create at least one permanent full-time job. All jobs must pay at least the real living wage (currently £9 p/h). The maximum grant per job created will be £12,500*

For more information on grow visit the here.

If you are interested in Grant funding, skills development, recruitment and knowledge sharing please contact the business support team at Wakefield Council...