Microsoft Gold Partner, the 848 Group, presents their highly-anticipated event focussing on Digital Transformation!


If you’re hearing all this talk about Digital Transformation, but aren’t sure what it is, or how it will benefit your organisation, then this is the event for you!

Join us on the 10th May, at the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce where Enterprise Architect; Andy Mallett, Account Director; William Nelson, and Senior Functional Consultant; Dominic Ryder, of the 848 Group, will present Digital Transformation, Business Changing IT. The event will offer insight in how technology can empower your workforce, enhance customer service, transform your products and services, as well as optimise your sales!

Mark Trimmer, Business Intelligence expert will also be attending as a guest speaker to offer insight on how advanced data analytics can drive your business forward.


It’s completely free to attend! You only need to register!
Simply, and complete the form on the page!


“Digital transformation is more than buying new technology or moving to the cloud. It must be focused to allow the effective use of technology to empower people to deliver improved customer value through more efficient processes.” – Andy Mallett, Enterprise Architect and Solutions Director.


848 Group have significant experience in providing solutions, services, consultancy, and technologies, to SMBs and Enterprises across the UK, and further afield. We have over a century of combined experience! Over the years, they have received many accolades for their impressive work, including Gold and Silver Microsoft Partner status. As well as forming partnerships with many other high-profile providers, including, Deloitte, Ricoh, and Veeam.

Staffordshire has started the new financial year on near full employment, statistics published show.

Just 1.6% of the local population is claiming out of work benefits, lower than both regional (3.3%) and national (2.6%) averages.

County council leader Philip Atkins said major new developments this year would further boost employment opportunities. He added: “It is good news that we have started the new financial year with near full employment and our focus continues to be on supporting the creation of better paid, better skilled jobs for people in Staffordshire.

“In June we will start work on the western extension at i54 South Staffordshire – a huge project which will result in hundreds more jobs being created. The success of the current site has been huge and is now nearly fully occupied.”

“Meanwhile we now have full occupancy at the county council-developed Four Ashes Business Park and the first business will be moving on to Meaford Business Park, where we laid the foundations for the on-site development.

“Working with the local enterprise partnership and other partners, our efforts remain to ensure we are attracting the right type of business in the county and that people have the skills needed to take advantage of the better paid job opportunities.”


Middleport Pottery has been used as the distinctive backdrop for episode filming of ‘The Strongest Man In History’.

The US film crew were joined by North Staffordshire’s Eddie Hall and three co-stars performing a series of challenges inspired by legends and real moments in history. Middleport Pottery was chosen for it’s rich pottery heritage and canal side setting with four watch towers being built to re-enact a prank by 18th century strongman Thomas Topham.

The TV show will be aired in the United States later this year.

JCB has secured a major deal with Plant Hire UK for new fleets of Loadalls and compact excavators worth almost £17 million.

The deal will see the leading UK hirer strengthen its construction machinery line-up by purchasing 300 new JCB Loadalls and 50 compact excavators along with site dumpers and tandem rollers.  The new machines will be put to work by contractors on construction and civil engineering projects across the country and will add to Plant Hire UK’s vast fleet of JCB machines.

Plant Hire UK Managing Director Graham Jones said: “As the construction sector goes from strength to strength this investment in new JCB Loadalls and compact midi excavators ensures our customers are guaranteed the highest specification machines with outstanding safety features and telematics support as standard.”

JCB Group Managing Director of Global Key Accounts Yvette Henshall-Bell said “Plant Hire UK has a reputation for delivering the best machines and market-leading service, which perfectly complements the JCB ethos. As the world’s number one telescopic handler, the Loadall has a proven track record that construction firms trust implicitly, while our compact excavators are hard-working on-site machines.”

The machines are supplied and supported by Gunn JCB. Managing Director Paul Hartshorn said: “Plant Hire UK is one of our largest and most successful customers. Gunn JCB depots are perfectly located to support the ever-growing number of machines as Plant Hire UK has continued to invest in its fleet.”

Staffordshire’s Trentham Monkey Forest have been recognised as one of the leading animal attractions in the UK after officially becoming members of The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

“The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body representing the best zoos and aquariums in the UK and Ireland (BIAZA website).”

“We’re delighted to be part of such a fantastic organisation who support and are committed to conservation, education and research, something that is at the forefront of what we do at Monkey Forest” commented Monkey Forest Director, Matt Lovatt.

The BIAZA website says that “By displaying the BIAZA logo our zoos and aquariums are also demonstrating their dedication to conserving the natural world through research and conservation programmes and to educating and inspiring their visitors to do the same.”

BIAZA aims to support its members to help inspire people in protecting and conserving the natural world. They provide education, training and research, as well as achieving the highest levels of animal care and welfare, something which the Monkey Forest team are very proud of and we’re sure the monkeys agree too!

“We work so hard to ensure our monkeys have the best home, living as naturally as possible and their welfare is our number one priority. The natural behaviour we see from them just confirms how happy they are within their 60-acre woodland home!”

“We aim to educate our visitors about the plight of the endangered Barbary macaques and want to keep spreading this important conservation message that can be transferred to other endangered species too. We hope that our BIAZA membership allows us to spread this message even further” said Matt.

Following an appeal for Easter Eggs from Alice Charity, MyCleverHub, Stoke-on-Trent’s first Entrepreneur Incubator and Accelerator hub, has coordinated an Easter Egg appeal which originally aimed to collect 200 eggs, with the first 100 eggs being matched by MyCleverGroup. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, over 600 eggs have been collected for children and families who otherwise wouldn’t be receiving an Easter Egg in the coming weeks.

In addition to staff contributions from across MyCleverGroup, there have been further donations from Mitten Clarke, Dains Accountants, Water World, Handelsbanken, Mounsey Surveyors, Beswicks Legal, Pace Ward Insurance, Harrison Carloss, Koch Glitsch, Hobb Computers and KMF Group, each of who helped with this appeal for vulnerable children and families across the Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme area.

Suzi Archer, Entrepreneur Accelerator Manager, MyCleverHub commented:

“As a new arrival to Festival Park, we were keen to engage with our neighbouring businesses, so when we read about Alice Charity’s Easter Egg Appeal we were happy to show our support. We’re thrilled with the response and hope the eggs helped to give local, less fortunate children a happier Easter.”

Jon Dudley, Partner, Dains Accountants mentioned: “Supporting the Easter Egg Appeal was a great way to round off our year of fund raising for Alice Charity. Many thanks to MyCleverHub for organising such a great initiative on Festival Park. There will be lots of happy children this Easter.

Emily Petts, Family Support Director, Alice Charity added: “Alice Charity has received requests for over 2000 Easter Eggs so far. Thanks to the support of MyCleverHub, individuals and local businesses we are confident that we will be able to ensure these children will wake up on Easter Sunday with a chocolate egg”.

Companies across North Staffordshire are being urged to take advantage of a unique programme, set up by Michelin to champion job creation in the region. Michelin Development is keen to see applications to its business support service increase.Subsidised, unsecured loans of up to £50,000 are available for projects with the potential to create quality, sustainable jobs.

One company helped by Michelin Development is Patera Engineering. Based in Fenton the family-run business – founded by Chris Lees in 1988 and currently led by his son Shaun – is going from strength to strength in the construction, structural and custodial sectors.

Two loans from Michelin Development have helped them to move into larger premises, invest in high technology equipment and develop advanced Building Information Modelling (BIM) within the business. This has enabled Patera Engineering to make the leap into top specification projects nationally and internationally, as its reputation for quality, innovation and service grows.

As a result, 20 new jobs have been created over the last 5 years. Shaun Lees said: “Michelin Development has played an invaluable role in helping our business to grow. The process to apply is straightforward and we value the relationship and support we’ve benefitted from over time with Michelin. As we’ve expanded, the money has helped us to really focus on the specific changes being implemented at the time, without an impact on cashflow. Michelin Development is a great initiative for companies and enterprises in our area.”

Shaun adds, “It really works and I’d strongly recommend that business leaders investigate the opportunities the fund can offer.”

Mike Cole, head of Michelin Development, is keen to hear from other businesses looking to gear up for the next stage of growth. Mr Cole said: “Our message to businesses is not to miss out. We have the funds in place, but we need to receive applications to deliver this support and investment in our community. The companies we can help know their markets and figures. They just need a little extra support to move along on that growth journey, and that is where we can step in to help.”

To find out more visit

Purple Sprout has expanded its growing team with a new member of staff.

Mathew Haining, from Wolstanton, has joined the team as a web developer after previously working in the education sector.

The 27-year-old said: “I wanted to work on more varied projects and I was looking for a role which would allow me to be more creative. Purple Sprout has a really creative approach and the team have made me feel very welcome.

“It’s an exciting time for the company because we’re growing fast and I’m looking forward to working on some big, exciting projects.”

Mathew’s appointment follows a successful pitch by the agency to deliver a marketing strategy for property management company Unitas, and seven other client wins since January.

David Mellenchip, acting managing director, said: “We’re really impressed with the work Mat has done so far and he’s fit into our team right away. We’re seeing more demand for websites and SEO and Mat’s skills will help us meet this demand.”


Software development company, Langley Foxall Ltd, are celebrating their exponential growth by launching a new website and expanding their range of offerings for customers.

The Stafford based company has recently realigned their branding and are moving forward with ‘exciting new prospects in mind’ according to their Marketing Manager.

Since being founded by Nicholas Langley in 2013, Langley Foxall have experienced rapid growth year on year and now boast a team of 20 talented individuals just over 5 years later, even opening a sales hub in Manchester.

The company has recognised there is a high demand for custom software after seeing first hand the frustrations of running a business with industry standard tools. “As we make headway in the industry we decided to realign our branding accordingly, it has been in the pipeline, but celebrating our growth by providing more offers for our customers seemed the perfect course of action for Langley Foxall” states Nicholas Langley, Managing Director.

The company states ‘many businesses start with the belief that you are doing something different within your industry, or to a better standard’.

“Yet you are limiting your capabilities and adapting your vital (potentially unique) processes to suit industry standard software. This has been known to cause issues such as; bottlenecking, long (sometimes even paper based or spreadsheet assisted) processes with the use of multiple systems failing to communicate effectively with each other forcing duplicated tasks.”

Langley Foxall have been helping companies all over the UK to solve these issues and will continue to do so as they grow from strength to strength.

The company is considered by many to be a leading force in this area of their industry and with that, they are focusing heavily on code based standards.

Keele University won medals in three categories at the annual The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Competitions held at Warwick University on 26th and 27th March 2019.

The first win for Keele University was a Bronze Medal for Pastry Chef James Jefferies’ impressive cakes served in the Afternoon Tea Challenge at the Salon Culinaire. Creating four sweet items for an afternoon tea menu. James ‘choices were Bitter Chocolate & Peanut Brownie, Lemon Meringue Pot, Tonka Bean Choux Bun and Ginger, Apricot & Sultana Flapjack.

Sous Chef Kim Barnish, brought home the first Gold Medal for the eventing in the Grab ‘n’ Go Challenge where competitors were asked to produce a savoury hand-held snack and a dessert which must be allergen free. For the savoury snack, Kim chose a rolled flatbread filled and baked with mildly spiced coronation style chicken and for the dessert she created a typical Sicilian cannolo without any dairy products and utilising gluten free flour. At the awards dinner the pressure was on as Kim had won a similar event at last year’s competition. Always ready to deliver, Kim rose to the top of the leader board winning a Gold medal for Keele.

It was then the turn of the Cook and Serve Team Adrian Ascina, James Tudor & James Eardley to bring the second win of the evening. Creating a menu from pre selected ingredients, this was cooked and served for a table of four guests. 

Adrian, who has only competed once before this event, was asked to serve a pre-dinner drink which was Bombay Sapphire Gin with Spiced Tonic Water flavoured with Kaffir Lime Leaf. His precise and attentive front of house skills ensured the team outshone all others and he was awarded with Best Service on the day.

Attending the awards dinner, Adrian Lowe, General Manager for Keele Hall commented: “It was a fantastic evening to see our competitors win over tough competition.  Academic venues have great talent within their food and beverage teams, and this demonstrates the creativity we have with our catering services.”