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


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.


Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s coalition has pledged to continue to work together and build on the success of the last four years.

The move comes following the results of the recent local elections, which saw Conservatives and City Independents gain 27 of the 44 seats across the city. Labour won 16 seats and one Independent was also elected. The Conservatives and City Independents have agreed to form a cabinet again, to officially be announced at next week’s annual council meeting.

Conservative leader councillor Abi Brown, who was previously deputy leader of the council, is set to become the new leader. Councillor Ann James will be the new deputy leader, having previously led the council. Cllr Brown paid tribute to the successful working relationship between the two parties, and the achievements that have been made over the last four years. These include creating one of the most successful enterprise zones in the country, helping to deliver and secure nearly 2,000 jobs; the launch of the city council’s housing repairs and maintenance company, Unitas; and its private housing company Fortior Homes, which aims to create a property portfolio worth £68 million within 10 years.

She said: “The two parties have worked incredibly well together over the last four years, which is testament to the many successes we have seen. But a lot of credit must go to Ann, who became the first female leader of the council in February 2018 and has worked tirelessly to improve the city, especially in areas such as adult social care.

“As part of our Stronger Together delivery plan we have shown that both parties are committed to making the city a better place to live, work and visit, and creating jobs and growth – and this arrangement means we can carry on with the great strides we have made already.

“A lot of exciting projects are already under way, such as the redevelopment of the East West Precinct and the restoration of two historic town halls. We also have a lot of important work ahead in children’s services following the recent Ofsted inspection. Focusing on that will be our top priority once the new administration is officially in place.”

Cllr James, who took on the role of leader following former councillor Dave Conway’s decision to step down, said: “The City Independents and the Conservatives have had an excellent working relationship over the last four years, and it’s the passion between the two groups that has enabled us to achieve so much. It was Dave Conway who led us at the start, and the dedication of everyone else that has kept things going.

“The past four years was never about politics, it was about making improvements for residents – which we have proved we can do. And now we can continue what we have started, for the good of everyone who lives, works and visits here.”