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.

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!

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

M&M Group – the Staffordshire-based business which incorporates Fix Auto Stoke-on-Trent, Fix Auto North Staffordshire, M&M  Information technology’s and M&M Signs & Graphics – are delighted to announce that owner and Managing Director Mick Whitehead has returned to work, less than two years after a serious motorsport accident.

Mick continues to recover well from his accident, and has now commenced light duties back in the business which will steadily build up over the course of 2019. One of his first actions has been to promote three members of his Management team to the board to reward them for their efforts in continuing to run and grow the businesses during his absence.

Angela Henry (Customer Service Director), Adrian Leese (Bodyshop Director, Stoke) and Tony Birchall (Bodyshop Director, Leek) have joined Mick and fellow director Dave Willett on the business’ Executive board to create a leadership team with almost 150 years’ industry experience.

Commenting on the appointments and his return to work, Mick Whitehead said: “Despite what has been a very tough period for me personally, I have been very impressed with the way everyone in the team has pulled together to ensure that all our businesses continued to thrive, both in terms of turnover and operational performance. It is a testament to their dedication, and to the structure and business practices that we have in place that this has been able to happen.

“Dave, together with the three new directors have led the business brilliantly over the past two years, and creating these new board positions feels like the right way to reward and thank them for this. I would also like to give huge credit to Deborah Broadhead, Company Accountant, who has also played a vital role from a financial perspective. But in truth, all 110 people in the business have done me proud, and I am very thankful for their efforts.

Dains Corporate Finance has advised ATP Industries Group Limited on the sale of ATP Automotive Transmission Remanufacturing Specialists Limited, ATP Electronic Developments Limited and ATP Holdings USA LLC (collectively “ATP”) to US-based ATC Drivetrain (“ATC”), a leading independent remanufacturer of automotive drivetrain components. ATP’s founder and major shareholder Alan Smart was advised on the cross-border sale by Roy Farmer and Rob Wilson of Dains Corporate Finance and Lodders Solicitors.

Founded in 1969 by former coal mining engineer Alan Smart, Cannock-based ATP is a leading European remanufacturer of automatic transmissions, including torque converters and automated manual transmissions, electronics and mechatronics, as well as a manufacturer of diagnostics systems and provider of associated services. ATP achieved revenues of £12.6m and EBITDA of £2.1m in the year ended 30 April 2018, which represented sales growth in the year of 24%. ATP’s client base includes various European and global automotive OEMs, including Ford, Volvo, Fiat-Chrysler, Aston Martin, JCB and many others.

ATP has achieved significant external recognition in recent years which has included being awarded the ReMaTec News International Remanufacturer of the Year (2013), Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Business Award Manufacturer of the Year (2015) and Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Award for Excellence in International Business (2016). ATP was also granted a Queen’s Award for Innovation (2016) and a Gold Award Winner at the Ford Supplier Excellence Awards (2018), all of which reflects the standing ATP has in its markets and the wider business community.

Alan Smart said: “Having founded ATP in 1969, this year marks ATP’s 50th year in business and I felt it was an appropriate time to secure the next phase of ATP’s continued growth. The exciting combination of ATC and ATP will allow for ATP to increase the ways in which we can serve our customers and secures the future of ATP’s employees, many of whom have over 30 years of service. I am confident that ATC is the right home for my life’s work and that ATP will continue to flourish under its new ownership.”

“The team at Dains provided me with exceptional advice and guidance throughout the entire process and have achieved a very successful outcome. Their experience and expertise in managing the complex sale process was invaluable and I would not hesitate to recommend them to others in my position.”

Lead advisor Roy Farmer from Dains Corporate Finance added: “As a firm we have worked with ATP for over ten years and have been working closely with Alan during this period to develop his exit plans. We identified the US-based remanufacturer ATC as a potential acquirer at an early stage and it quickly became apparent once we had met with them that they would be a great fit with ATP, both strategically and culturally. We are delighted to have now completed the transaction, which will allow Alan to enjoy his retirement in the knowledge that ATP will continue its growth strategy under new ownership. The combination of ATP and ATC has created a group with over 130 years of global automotive remanufacturing experience and allows it to better provide products and services to its growing customer base around the world.”


ethero staffing, one of the fastest growing multi sector recruitment agencies in the UK “13th” has taken on new larger premises in Stoke-on-Trent after first opening in 2016. Taking a prominent site on Trinity Street in Hanley, ethero is now set for its next stage of expansion and is hoping to provide further recruitment support to its growing customer base in the region.

Managing Director, Gareth Hughes commented, “We have really enjoyed our first three years in Stoke and we are excited about the future. Our new offices are super high tech and specifically designed to ensure that we can provide the most modern, flexible  and effective recruitment services in the area. Over the last ten years ethero has built a reputation for doing things the right way for our customers. We ensure they really feel that we care about them and their business aims and we design our services around them.

Since we opened up in Stoke we have supplied over one hundred local Staffordshire companies with candidates across a broad range of skills sets from temporary staff into Industrial, food manufacturing and warehousing clients to senior candidates for management and technical roles. As a business our main ethos is to be an ethical and helpful supplier of first class recruitment services and we are looking forward to working with more fantastic local firms over the coming years. We can also offer specific training and testing as we have built a training suite into the new site. We can train and test anything from Food Hygiene Standards to Call Centre Techniques, Microsoft packages and even Sage accounting and payroll skills.”

You are invited….

The team will be holding an open day to showcase the new offices in conjunction with the Chamber on Wednesday 12th June and would like to invite all members to attend the event. Guests will have the opportunity to talk about staffing challenges they might be experiencing or any upcoming recruitment projects. There will also be the chance to meet Councillor Abi Brown.

Guests will also be able to view the brand new high technology training centre which is now available for corporate hire. With two dedicated training rooms, ethero is now able to offer a broad range of training and testing services both to its own staff and to the wider business community. The main training room is able to accommodate sessions for up to 20 delegates with full IT, projector, refreshments and washroom facilities. There is also a dedicated technology training and testing suite set up as a mini office with 5 fully operational desks with PC’s, phone system and an impressive list of different training modules available. These include, Call Centre Techniques, the full Microsoft Office package , Food Hygiene and many more. The business is even able to design any specific training and testing that a customer might need its staff to complete.

Facilities can be hired on a full or half day basis at very reasonable rates and the team can even provide access to professional external training providers if required. To find out more about the open day or the facilities available, please call 01782 308401.




Hosting Systems are pleased to congratulate Lucy Kenny (Head of Accounts) on her 10 years’ service award.

Lucy is a fantastic asset to the team and is integral to the company.  Over the years, Lucy has seen many advancements in the cloud technology services offered by Hosting Systems. Such advancements include the evolution of their own internal accounts to an automated system as the company has grown, enabling Lucy to spend time on more strategic accounting. Lucy is extremely valued for her dedication and hard work.

Lucy is pictured with Managing Director, Alastair Bates.


Sponsorship with Team Toyota GB in their much-prized return to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) is revving up the profile of Staffordshire firm Graphix on the national stage.

At the same time, the deal is adding to the work load at the print, design and signage specialists, with marketing collateral, newly branded bumpers, bonnets and car panels needed for every race. With three races at each track event, the Norton company has to pull out all the stops to keep the pit crews supplied.

“There’s 10 rounds of the BTCC and FP1, FP2, Qualifying &three races in each round. This means we have to ensure three fully branded body kits are available for every event,” explained Graphix MD Steve Ward. As a company, we have been associated with motor sport branding for many years and the return of Team Toyota GB has really upped our profile in 2019.

“I am a petrol head, so really enjoy it and the whole team at Graphix gets a thrill from watching the racing from the paddock and also live on TV.”

Team Toyota GB has returned to the Kwik Fit sponsored British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in 2019 with the all new Toyota Corolla and main sponsors, Ginsters and Hansford Sensors. The car manufacturer is competing in partnership with Northwich based Speedworks Motorsport and two-time BTCC independent champion Tom Ingram.

Graphix have worked with Speedworks for several years and completed the branding for the stunning new Corolla. After debuting the Corolla at Brands Hatch in early April, Tom took top spot on the podium at Donington Park in late April, with Graphix branding proudly displayed among the logos on the car.

Steve said: “Speedworks have become great friends of Graphix and their partnership with Team Toyota GB is recognition of years of hard work and development.

“Alongside the thrill of the race, there’s an awful lot of work for our team, as we have completed the Team Toyota GB branding, hospitality branding, signage for the pit lane and for the Team Toyota GB  race trucks & garages at each track. The BTCC has three races at each event and they get through a lot of kit as the touring car series is well known for its close quarters racing.

“We have to prepare three sets of everything on the car for each race week as they get through an awful lot of bumpers, spoilers and bonnets.

Christian Dick, Team Principal (Speedworks), said: “We have worked together with Steve, Simon and the Graphix team for a number of years. Their passion and commitment to deliver the very best under tight deadlines is something that we understand only too well here at Speedworks. There are very few companies that can perform under pressure but Graphix always pull it off in a professional and friendly manner. Graphix is a family owned and run business, like ourselves, and I believe that this is a quality that sets us both apart in our respective industries, nothing is ever too much trouble. I’m pleased to call these guys the best in the business and our friends.”

Brothers Steve and Simon Ward founded Graphix 26 years ago. The company has grown to a full-service agency with a team of 12 including graphic designers, printers and signage specialists. A major investment programme over the past three years has seen Graphix spend around £300,000 on state-of-the-art small and large format printing and developing in-house capabilities to work on any size of print, design and signage project.

The company works with many companies, including well-known names such as bet365 and Novus and has also grown a reputation in the world of sport.

Along with motor sport links, Graphix work with football clubs including Huddersfield Town and Stoke City, where they are the club’s official print and signage partner.

FOOTBALLING staff from Leek United kick off against a team from The Donna Louise at Stoke City FC’s bet365 Stadium this week as part of a fundraising goal for the North Staffordshire charity.

The ‘friendly’ on Sunday 19 May is just one of a series of events that Leek United staff are planning throughout this year to help the Donna Louise Hospice for Children & Young People* in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s a return match for the two sides, who first met 12 months ago when Leek United ended the game with a 3-0 victory.

Dan Berrisford, the Society’s Business Development Manager – who helped to organise the match – said: “It’ll definitely be a tough game this year, with The Donna Louise side out for revenge, but we’ve had a fresh intake of staff since 2018 and there is some new talent in the Leek United squad.

“It should be a great day’s entertainment, and we’d love as many colleagues, friends and family as possible to turn out and support both teams.”

Players themselves will get the fundraising off to a good start by paying £5 each to take part, while tickets on the gate are £3 for adults, £1 for children.

Chris Belyavin, Relationship Manager at The Donna Louise, added: “We’re delighted to be returning to the bet365 stadium for the rematch! It was a great success last time and we’re so grateful to Leek United for putting this event on to support The Donna Louise.

“Huge thanks also to Howdens who’ve sponsored The Donna Louise team, meaning more of the money raised will go straight towards supporting the families who rely on our services.”

Gates at the bet365 stadium open at 1.30pm on 19 May, with the match kick-off at 2.30pm.