Beswicks Legal has announced the promotion of their head of family law to the position of associate. Sarah Jones has worked at the Festival Park-based firm for two years, cementing her reputation as an outstanding family lawyer and team manager.

Associate status at Beswicks Legal is recognition of the highest levels of professionalism and expertise in a particular area of law.

Beswicks Legal managing partner Nick Phillips said: “Sarah has done a tremendous job leading our family law team. She has a wealth of experience and works incredibly hard to deliver an outstanding service, winning high praise from clients and colleagues.


“At Beswicks we believe strongly in offering an exciting career path to those who demonstrate the right personal and professional qualities and it is always immensely satisfying to see talented people succeed and progress.”


Top 50 Law firm, Freeths LLP Stoke office announces another year of continued growth with the office exceeding budget by 10% for the financial year 2018/2019. This comes off the back of significant instructions from local, national and international clients of the office.

The Stoke office cover HR and employment law (which includes pensions and immigration law), corporate and commercial law services, dispute management, commercial property, insolvency and commercial debt recovery.

One of the most significant instructions saw James Boulton, Corporate Partner in the Stoke office lead a cross-office team advising US headquarters BrandSafway on its acquisition of Lyndon Scaffolding PLC. Not only was this deal significant for the office, but it was also one of the largest deals by value within the wider West Midlands region during 2018/2019.  James joined the firm in December 2017 having trained at a Magic Circle firm and having also spent 10 years in the London office of a US law firm.

Acting for a multi-national group the Stoke Dispute Management team recently settled a long running dispute concerning national infrastructure on the first day of a trial in London. The team also acted in cases involving a local listed landmark, recovering cars and cash from a fraud involving Supercars – Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches, obtaining a court order to restrain the use of confidential information and acting on behalf of a local charity in a boundary dispute as well as its usual mix of commercial, corporate and property disputes, professional negligence and contentious probate claims.

Peter Gavin, Managing Partner of Freeths’ Stoke office commented: “Our record year has been especially pleasing given the current challenging economic circumstances both locally and more widely. The office’s performance and the quality of work that we have been doing across the office shows that there is a high demand for good quality, practical legal advice at realistic rates from lawyers who know the challenges faced by our clients whether that be local businesses, a national client or a multi-national client”.


Staffordshire based full-service digital marketing agency, Kanuka Digital, are set to celebrate their one year anniversary in June after a successful 12 months helping businesses of all shapes and sizes evolve and grow their online presence.

Having blossomed from the digital marketing team of parent company and long established eCommerce experts, iWeb, Kanuka Digital have worked continuously to grow their client profile as well as their in-house team of skilled marketers.

Alongside gaining a host of new clients and helping them grow online through the wide range of digital marketing services they offer, Kanuka Digital have attained a number of other achievements.

From becoming Google and DotDigital partners, hosting networking events and growing their team to ten members of staff, Kanuka Digital have certainly achieved a lot in just 12 months.

The first event was held in the summer of 2018 to help get the Kanuka Digital name out there. Hiring an ice cream van and giving out hundreds of free Mr Whippy’s with SEO site audits thrown in paid definitely paid off. The event generated plenty of sign ups to their upcoming marketing conference and a number of business leads in the process.

The news that British Steel is entering into insolvency endangering 5,000 jobs directly at its Scunthorpe plant and up to 20,000 jobs within the supply chain is disappointing, despite efforts to save the UK’s second largest steel producer yesterday.

British Steel currently operates a distribution network centre in Stoke-on-Trent and will inevitably supply a number of manufacturers based in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Commenting on the news that British Steel has entered into insolvency, Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It was only 19 years ago that Shelton Bar steelworks closed its doors after 159 years of successful iron and steel manufacturing. In its heyday the works stretched across Etruria Valley and employed around 10,000 people, cementing Stoke-on-Trent as a world leading producer for the steel industry.

Despite the Shelton Bar steelworks no longer being a dominant presence in the city, its successes fuelled generation after generation of manufacturers to choose to operate here. Creating numerous supply chains and on-going employment for steelworkers and the local community.

Steel production is embedded into the very foundations of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and the loss of jobs at British Steel is terrible news bringing with it a period of great uncertainty for employees affected, primarily in Scunthorpe but also to those based nationwide.

We are currently speaking to members about this announcement as we gauge its immediate effect on Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Any company of this size going into administration will have ramifications across numerous supply chains and we will be supporting our members through this difficult time.

We know that manufacturers are facing a range of issues at the moment, from continued uncertainty over Brexit, rising costs of doing business and persistent difficulties in recruitment. It goes without saying that Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce will be on hand to help firms and employees affected by this sad news. Anyone needing help, guidance or support should get in touch and we will do our utmost to assist them.”

PM Training has secured two contract extensions with Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s housing repairs and maintenance company Unitas, which will see it continue to provide services for another 12 months.

The contracts will see the Staffordshire-based training provider delivering void clearance and adaptations services across 19,000 city council properties. The services, which will be carried out by PM Training’s Homeworks division, will include home clearance, garden clearance and valeting to prepare rental properties for new tenants, as well as providing ramps and accessibility alterations to properties that require them.

Neil Holmes, Homeworks Contracts Manager at PM Training, said: “We’re excited to be working with Unitas. It provides a great opportunity to link with a local partner to create sustainable employment and social inclusion for young apprentices.”

PM Training will allocate four vans to the void clearances, which will create positions for four new supervisors and four horticulture apprentices. Homeworks will work with Browns Waste supply chain to carry out the works.

The adaptations will also create an opportunity for an apprentice to gain trade skills and experience. Around 150 to 200 learners go through the Homeworks scheme each year, with over three-quarters of learners progressing into full-time employment, apprenticeships or further education.

Steve Wilson, Unitas Operations Director, is delighted that PM Training has been successful in securing these works. He said: “Unitas has an excellent relationship with PM Training,  sharing their social responsibility ethos and fully supporting the excellent work they do in creating employment opportunities for local people.”

The new contracts extend the partnership that was due to end in June this year. Both contracts will now continue until April 2020.

Trentham Monkey Forest is thrilled to announce the first babies since 2017 have been born.

The staff at Monkey Forest spotted females showing signs of pregnancy in recent weeks and have been eagerly awaiting these special arrivals. The park is happy to reveal they have welcomed not 1, not 2, but 3 new additions, 2 baby boys and a little girl.

The Barbary macaques living in Trentham will usually give birth up in the trees at night, just as they would in the wild. When it comes to new arrivals, it isn’t until the following morning that staff spot the tiny bundles clinging to their mothers. The team are bystanders, as they watch the new mums get to grips with their babies. It’s then a waiting game, which includes a lot of observing from the team until they can finally confirm the ‘big gender reveal’.

“It’s such an exciting time in the forest and one all staff and our visitors look forward to. These new arrivals are the forest’s first babies since 2017 so we have been very excited for them to make an appearance” Commented Monkey Forest director Matt Lovatt.

The Barbary macaques are an endangered species with only an estimated 8000 surviving in the wild; therefore, every birth is crucial for the species and a fantastic addition to Monkey Forest.

“Each birth is important to us and the species, considering it’s endangered status. With the challenges that wild Barbary macaques face, through deforestation and the illegal pet trade, we hope that the new babies will help us to tell their story too.”

Staff at the leading Staffordshire attraction are pleased to report all babies and mums are doing well including a first-time mum, who despite being a little shy, is a natural. Being part of a large family has given her the experience of looking after other babies in the past and the new Grandma has stayed close by, grooming and reassuring her daughter.

Make the most of the sunshine and take a trip to Monkey Forest to catch of glimpse of the newest arrivals to join the 140 monkeys already living in freedom in the 60-acre forest. Take your camera and get ready for some baby spotting!

Employment growth in Stoke-on-Trent is the fourth fastest in the country – ahead of rival cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham.

The latest UK Powerhouse figures also forecast that Stoke-on-Trent will continue to be among the best for employment growth by the final quarter of 2020 – with a predicted ranking of fourth.These findings are based on a study by experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

For the final quarter of 2018, the study puts Stoke-on-Trent’s employment levels at 114,500 and year-on-year expansion at 1.6%. It also forecasts that by the end of 2020, the city will have employment levels of 118,300 and year-on-year growth of 1.7%.

These figures put Stoke-on-Trent ahead of major cosmopolitan areas such as London, Manchester and Birmingham, as well as nearby cities including Nottingham and Derby.

A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said: “We’re working extremely hard to ensure this area is the first choice for businesses to invest. The Make it Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire team provides a tailor-made service for organisations, including help to find locations, advice on incentives and details about recruitment.

“The city is attracting multi-million-pound schemes which are leading to local job creation. There is one million square feet of employment space in the pipeline and substantial, increasing demand for both housing and employment land. This is also supported by other developments, existing businesses, the university, and the city’s prime, strategic location at the centre of the country – which all add to Stoke-on-Trent’s positive, competitive profile both nationally and internationally as a great place to invest.

The UK Powerhouse report also shows that Stoke-on-Trent, like a large number of other cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham, is forecast to see growth for the economic measure of GVA – gross value added – slow by the end of 2020.

Major new development schemes in Stoke-on-Trent include the East-West Precinct; the Swift House scheme next to Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station; Smithfield which includes new office accommodation, build-to-rent apartments and a Hilton Hotel; and the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.

The positive news from the UK Powerhouse report also comes after Stoke-on-Trent was named as the sixth best city in the UK to start a business in 2019, beating areas including London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in research conducted by card payment solutions provider Paymentsense.


A £30,000 loan from Michelin Development has helped Stoke-on-Trent based Stanton Consulting Engineers to boost its operations.

The company designs mechanical, electrical and public health systems for a wide variety of clients including educational, health care, sports and leisure, commercial and manufacturing buildings throughout the UK.

The loan has helped the company to grow, create jobs, improve their IT infrastructure and support recruitment projects. The funding has also enabled the team to take on more contracts for national construction and property services provider, Willmott Dixon, having been accepted onto their partnership programme for service engineers.

Mike Cole, Head of Michelin Development, added: “Stanton Consulting Engineers has gone from strength to strength since it launched in 2004 and we couldn’t be happier that our support will allow them to grow and create new job opportunities.

“Ben has worked hard to create a thriving business with long term opportunities and SCE is a prime example of a business that is providing a quality service to its customers. At Michelin Development we strive to support companies that create sustainable jobs for the region and SCE is doing just that.”

For more information on Stanton Consulting visit

To find out more and to find out if your business is eligible for financial assistance from Michelin Development, visit

The response to Staffordshire Chambers’ 2019 Business Awards has been overwhelming with hundreds of entries across the categories. The quality of entrees was splendid, resulting in a difficult task for the judging panel.

Staffordshire Chambers Chief Executive, Sara Williams, said: “It is great to see how the entries have developed and by far exceeded previous year’s in terms of quality. We see this as a testimony to the healthy state and award-winning potential of businesses within Staffordshire. I would like to thank the judges for their dedication to the task and the businesses who took the time to enter. Many congratulations to all of our finalists and commended businesses.”

The Steering Committee has now met to review all the entries with the objective of identifying a small number of shortlisted finalists for each category. This proved incredibly difficult, but after a full day of deliberation, the finalists were identified and can now be announced (see below). In addition, a large number of entries were commended by the committee, and all of these will receive framed certificates.

All finalists will be visited by the judging panels, with the winners announced at a gala awards evening at the Staffordshire County Showground on Thursday 4 July 2019. Over four hundred guests from across the county are anticipated, where they will enjoy a delicious meal and celebrate the achievements of the Staffordshire finalists.

2019 Staffordshire Business Awards’ Finalists:

Digital Award

Click Dealer Ltd


Yellow Circle Web Solutions Ltd


Employer of the Year

Douglas MacMillan Hospice

ExtraMile Communications Ltd

Freeths LLP

Portmeirion Group PLC

Staffordshire Housing Group

The Hanley Economic Building Society


Environment/ Low Carbon Award

Laundry Efficiency Ltd

Specialised Orthotic Services

The Wool Packaging Company Ltd – Woolcool


International Trade Award

Addfield Environmental Systems Ltd

Allett Ltd

EffecTech Limited

Radwell International Ltd


Manufacturer of the Year

Addfield Environmental Systems Ltd

Cottage Delight Ltd

Klarius Products LTD

PCT Engineering


Medium/Large Business of the Year

Blue Bay Travel

Lodge Tyre Company Limited

Specialised Orthotic Services

The Trentham Estate

Water Plus Limited


Most Promising New Start-Up

Angel Attic Independent Psychic Centre

GreenGriddle Ltd

Hattons of London Ltd


Professional Services of the Year Award

848 Business Changing IT

Else Solicitors LLP

Infinity IT Solutions

Prosurv Consult Limited

Sempar Accountancy & Tax

Stephen Sutton Multi Academy Trust


Retail, Leisure, Culture and Tourism Award

Clip n Climb Stoke

Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld

Gladstone Pottery Museum

Nelson’s Distillery & School Ltd

Provoke Brand Communications


Science, Technology and Innovation Award

Addmaster (UK) Ltd

EffecTech Limited

EPX Technical Services

Specialised Orthotic Services

Zeodex Ltd


Small Business of the Year

EPX Technical Services

Haughton Design Ltd

Innovating Minds CIC

Langley Foxall Ltd

Tuffa UK Limited


Entrepreneur of the Year

Natalie Hewitt, Hewitt&Carr Architects Ltd and Hewitt&Carr Developments Ltd

Steve Hesford, Tailored Branding

Steve Timmis, Sempar Accountancy & Tax

Penny Weston, MADE


Employee of the Year

Colin Selstrom, ProtectaPet

Kim Floyd, Beeston Shenton Solicitors Ltd Private Legal Services

Danielle Louise Heath, Goddard Dunbar & Associates Ltd

Hannah Smithurst, Erwin Hymer Group Travelworld

Carly Twigg, BNI Staffordshire and Ad Gifts Online


Young Employee/Apprentice of the Year

Jake Gordon, Key Plant / Buxton and Leek College

Joseph Morrey, Radwell International Ltd

Jack Harrison, Eurostar Global Electronics Limited

Ayesha Parveen, Rebus Training Ltd


Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce; for the last 5 years in partnership with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), has been delivering a unique service to the Business Community, helping and supporting Businesses who have been the Victims of Crime.

We are looking to expand our current referral Register of Companies who are willing to help Victims of Business Crime by supporting this service offering their advice and expertise to fellow Businesses. We would just need you to complete a simple form, which would state the best contact details for victims to contact you on, a description of the support you could offer and if you would be willing to provide 30 minutes of free advice face to face or over the phone to any potential victims.

If you would like to find out more about the service, please contact