Learn by Design are looking for volunteers to support on their following school events:

Monday 13th January – Hillside Primary School, Stoke On Trent (Race To Construct)

Tuesday 14th January – St Mary Catholic Primary School, Stoke On Trent (STEMployment)

Wednesday 22nd January – Abbey Hulton Primary School, Stoke On Trent (Construct Your Future)

Thursday 23rd January – Sir Graham Balfour School, Stoke On Trent (iRail)

If you’re interested, contact Darren at: darrenkimberley@bydesign-group.co.uk

To find out more about Learn by Design and their work in schools, visit: https://www.learnbydesign.co.uk/

Socially Grown grew rapidly throughout 2019, gaining new local, national and international contracts meaning new staff and new office premises at Sugnall Business Park. Specialising in digital inbound marketing, Socially Grown were awarded HubSpot Gold Partner Agency status in December 2019 and are continuing to grow their customer base month by month.

Inbound marketing focuses on persona driven targeted campaigns, engaging with the right audience at just the right time. Relevant, tailored content delivered through activities such as blogs, landing pages, video, social media and seo, results in high quality leads, greater customer engagement and higher ROI.

Every piece of content generated needs a specific audience, a call to action and a measurement metric.

Interested in starting your inbound journey?

Then give Sarah Matarazzo a call on 07506 799909 or mail sarah.matarazzo@sociallygrown.co.uk

Studio 8, Sugnall Business Park, Sugnall, Staffordshire, ST21 6NF

Are you looking to take your business to the next level? If so, “The Antidote to The Dragons’ Den” is for you!

Come to Business Doctors’ free seminar on 16 January 2020 between 7.30am – 10.30am at the Stoke-on-Trent Moat House Hotel to see what they can do to help you and your business.

Discover how to achieve business growth, without the need to face the Dragons! You will be given a blueprint for achieving growth by establishing objectives, assessing your business environment, and formulating and implementing strategies appropriate to your own business.

Business Doctors help SMEs with hands-on, friendly, practical support, helping their clients to develop strategies to achieve growth.

Book your tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-antidote-to-the-dragons-den-tickets-83181840123

For more information about their services, and particularly a free health check, call 07976 260065.

North Staffs Mind is excited to be partnering with RED January, a community initiative providing people with support and a focus during a characteristically tough month.

RED January is free to join and encourages people to get active every day to support their mental health. You can walk, run, swim, cycle – whatever you fancy! The aim is to get moving daily, whilst raising awareness and support for mental health. It gives people a focus and supports ‘REDers’ through its online community.

RED is founded on research that shows physical activity can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing and even reduce symptoms of mental illness such as depression and anxiety. In the post RED January 2018 survey, 87% of REDers reported feeling significantly better physically and mentally after getting active every day.

Anyone wishing to fundraise can do so for North Staffs Mind. The money raised supports their vital work in the local community, ensuring everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the help and respect they deserve.

In addition, exclusive RED January-branded snoods (£5) and t-shirts (£10) are now available with all sales proceeds coming directly to North Staffs Mind.

For RED, January is just the beginning. There are many REDers who continue their newfound (or rekindled) relationship with physical activity into the future. RED’s mission is to promote the positive power of physical activity for both body and mind all year round and the RED community is there every step, splash and pedal of the way.

To take part in RED January 2020 register for free at https://nsm.redjanuaryformind.co.uk.  If you would like to involve your business, sports or community group in the initiative, or would like to buy a t-shirt or snood, please contact the team at North Staffs Mind on 01782 262100.

Cabinet have confirmed details of how a climate change commission will work to change the city’s environmental priorities. A commission will gather evidence for four months and will be led by councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for the environment.

Stoke-on-Trent City Full Council in July declared a climate emergency – the climate change commission have now established their priorities to improve the city’s environmental credentials.

In October Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet members approved proposals to move towards being a single use plastic-free authority by 2023. In a report that largely focused on what the council purchases through its procurement activity, and how it can move to items which are not single use plastic, clear plans have now been set in place to implement a pragmatic and phased approach.

The council will be focusing on what they purchase, requiring a higher standard of its providers, not only through the goods it buys, but also in terms of the environmental credentials of its suppliers. This will include food catering, medical and social care contracts as well as small ad hoc contracts such as vending machines and water fountains.

For four months starting on January 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020, the climate change commission group will gather evidence through targeted engagement on the issues that the city is concerned about, and how they can be resolved. The cross-party commission and senior council figures will hear evidence from a range of individuals and groups including young citizens, business representatives and university representatives.

Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for environment said: “This approach will help us to tackle the climate issues Stoke-on-Trent is currently facing.

“As one example we are committed to reducing single-use plastic usage and to recycle where possible; as it’s important we take steps to protect our planet.

“Crucial to what we deliver as a city is based on what priorities we set out now and working together with the public to ensure we are all proactively doing our best to help protect the environment. Whether that’s making sure to recycle correctly or taking the initiative to plant a tree, we can all do our bit.”

For all media enquiries please contact Isabel Hodgkinson in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 236703.

Dougie Mac recognises Don-Bur support

Dougie Mac are delighted to recognise local company Don-Bur for going the extra mile to support the hospice in memory of an employee’s relative.

The Longton-based manufacturers of commercial vehicle trailers and bodywork have supported Dougie Mac for numerous years and have continued to offer ongoing support throughout 2019.

Jan Blake, the mother-in-law of Lisa Blake, HR Officer at Don-Bur, received end-of-life care at Dougie Mac in 2018, and this was the inspiration for the team to pull together and raise money for their local hospice.

Lisa said: ‘Jan was really well looked after by all the staff there and so were the family. This inspired myself and the team at Don-Bur to give something back. During this difficult time my friends at Don-Bur really supported myself and my family and we felt that this would be great to be involved in especially as Jan’s loss was so recent.’

Don-Bur staff have taken part in the Moonlight Walk, held collections on their various sites across the city and organised fundraising events including a raffle. The company have been fortunate enough to sponsor the “Duchess” room, where Jan received her care. Along with this, the monies raised have contributed towards some new mattresses. In total, the company have raised £3,657 for Dougie Mac in the last year.

Other local businesses Neida and Trenton Construction have also supported Dougie Mac by sponsoring rooms at the hospice. All sponsors are recognised on the Dougie Mac website and have a certificate to display in their business.

To find out more about how your company could support the hospice, visit www.dmhospice.org.uk/business-fundraising or speak to the Corporate Fundraising team on 01782 344359.



Animation experts at Carse & Waterman have added to the magic of Christmas by bringing the world-renowned Trentham Gardens fairies to life.

The award winning Stoke-based animators have partnered with Junction 15, another local film company, on a festive advertisement for Trentham Gardens. The finished commercial can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=30&v=3PyGnj1R2mc&feature=emb_logo

The commercial, which combines live action with animation, will be shown on ITV and Sky video on demand services in the Midlands and North West England during December.

Making the Trentham Gardens fairies fly this Christmas was a complex job for the Carse & Waterman team.

Dan Waterman, company Director and the project’s Animation Supervisor, explained: “The project began with lots of research on the fairies, gaining understanding of how their creator, Robin Wight, of Fantasy Wire Ltd, works to sculpt the fairies for Trentham Gardens. Our team spent time with Robin, who lives locally in the Staffordshire Moorlands, in his workshop and we looked at the process involved in his incredible fairy creations.

“We felt it was important to listen to Robin as he takes care to give each creation its own personality and it was important to build personality into our animated fairy.

“Once back in the studio we needed to devise a way of replicating the complex wire structure used to create a Trentham Gardens fairy. We ended up creating a bespoke system that procedurally generated the complex wire structure, which we coded in house to make sure we could match the look of the Trentham fairies exactly.

“To allow creative freedom for the animators we created a simplified fairy model that was animated and then we projected the complex wires on to the simplified model. The next task was to ensure the lighting for our animated fairy perfectly matched the live action footage from Junction 15. This was then rendered and it took our servers just over four days to process the final image, applying all layers of lighting and textures.

“We were delighted with the outcome and we hope viewers this Christmas will agree.

“It was a fantastic project to work on and the result on the TV screens showcases the combined talents of two North Staffordshire film making teams. Junction 15 regularly work with Trentham Gardens and we were delighted that they chose Carse & Waterman to work with them for the animated scenes. It is very satisfying to be able to see our work being used to promote a major North Staffordshire tourism venue.”

Launched in 2005, Newcastle-under-Lyme based Junction 15 are Emmy award winning videographers.

Carse and Waterman have a 10-strong team based at Federation House, Stoke. They have recently produced VFX sequences for TV shows There’s Something About Movies and Inside No. 9 and, earlier this year, won a much-prized Gold Statue in the international Telly Awards for their VFX work on The Keith and Paddy Show.

For media enquiries please contact Nigel Howle by telephone on 0776 2043436 or by email at nigel.howle@howlecom.co.uk

Westwood Golf Club on the outskirts of the lovely historic market town of Leek is not just a magnificent venue for golfers but is also the ideal location for your corporate events, conferences, training sessions etc.

The clubhouse has a beautiful large function room overlooking the course holding up to 120 people. They also have two other meeting rooms available for hire and all their three meeting rooms have WiFi at no extra charge. The club has a large free car park on-site.

They are pleased to offer half-price room hire rates and reduced day delegate rates to Chamber members. Contact number for bookings 01538 398385.

For room information go to https://www.westwoodgolfclubleek.co.uk/room-hire1?d=Corporate+package.pdf

Swynnerton Training Camp and Training Area near Stone was built 80 years ago in 1939, at the beginning of World War II. Located so it was easily hidden in the mist and fog, the camp was originally constructed as a Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), creating ammunition for the war effort.

During this time, a total of 33,000 people worked at the factory, the majority of whom were women, producing Spitfire bullets and black powder used for illuminations at sea. The work was very dangerous and there were many injuries and fatalities, however, there are still a number of surviving ‘Swynnerton Roses’ to this day, all of whom are in their 90s.

Last month, Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc) and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) spent the day reminiscing with the Swynnerton Roses, former apprentices and local residents during their annual Remembrance and Armistice Day lunch.

The event – now in its 19th year – was hosted by Landmarc and the DIO, and saw over 250 guests including family members, ex-employees and residents from Swynnerton and the surrounding area join the Roses for a wreath laying ceremony before sitting down for a lunch in the very place they used to work. The local Air Cadets band played songs from the 1940s throughout the day whilst attendees clapped and sang along.

Visitors were also able to visit the small museum situated on the camp, created by Landmarc employees to commemorate the fascinating history of life on the camp during and after the War.

Attending the event was Samantha Webb, whose great grandmother Lillian Hill was a Rose. Since 1999, Samantha has been researching and campaigning to get the Roses and all the other women working in ammunition factories to be recognised as veterans, just as the ‘land girls’ are. Thanks to Samantha’s efforts, the Roses and their relatives have been asked to march at the annual Remembrance Day parade in London for the last eight years.

Primrose Patman, a Rose who has just turned 100, fondly recalls memories from her time at Swynnerton, “I worked at the factory from January 1941 until June 1945, working with explosives on a daily basis. As we were on rations, we used to make potato sandwiches to keep us going through the 12-hour working days. In the evenings we sometimes cycled to the local pub – the Fitzherbert Arms in Swynnerton – to meet American soldiers for dancing. The four years I spent at Swynnerton were some of the happiest of my life!”

Sam Williams, Facilities Manager at Landmarc, commented: “It’s always such a pleasure to host this annual event. Bringing people together who can all share some fascinating and interesting memories from this camp and being able to hear their stories first-hand is fantastic.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to continue traditions such as these, taking time to remember those who sacrificed so much for us, whether they were fighting on the front or producing ammunition in factories such as Swynnerton.”

Major (Ret’d) Jim Salisbury, DIO’s Training Safety Officer at the camp, who organised the event with Sam Williams and Landmarc’s Team Manager, Sarah Butler, said: “It’s always a pleasure to invite the Roses back to camp each year. Back in the 1940s, their contribution to the war effort went largely unnoticed, carried out in secret with little recognition. So it’s therefore wonderful to be able to say a public thank you and recognise the part they played in keeping our country safe.

“All the staff who work across the West Midlands for DIO including the Ministry of Defence Guard Service, alongside Landmarc, and ESS work as one team and feel proud to carry on with the tradition of this hugely important event.

“The former apprentices association from the post war Ordnance factory and our local residents also take great delight and pride in joining us at this event. They feel that it is always done from the heart and take comfort that the memory of the work that the Roses carried out during the war is continued today in support of defence.”