About Chesterfield

North Derbyshire welcomes new children’s charity

A recent radio station acquisition has seen Chesterfield and North Derbyshire inherit a brand-new children’s charity – Cash for Kids – which will help disadvantaged children across the town and will feature its biggest fundraising campaigns on Greatest Hits Radio.

Cash for Kids are a grant giving charity and provide grants for organisations including NHS and social services, refuges, food banks, schools, sports clubs, community groups and individual families.

Whilst the pandemic has had a huge impact on local charities, the team of two at Cash for Kids launched an Emergency Appeal last Spring to help children living in poverty get access to food and basic essentials during the first lockdown, distributing over £80,000 to food banks, schools, refuge’s and other local charities.

In December, despite challenges with lockdown, the charity managed to facilitate its annual Mission Christmas appeal, which collected and distributed toys to over 19,000 children across the Sheffield City Region. The campaign was sponsored by B&M at Ravenside Retail Park and Dronfield Auto.

The pandemic resulted in Cash for Kids having to suspend its traditional granting for projects outside of the Emergency Covid-19 Appeal but the charity has just announced it is now taking applications again via the Greatest Hits Radio website.

Allan Ogle, who has managed the charity for six years and lives in Old Whittington, said: “As a resident of Chesterfield, to announce Cash for Kids becoming an integral part of Greatest Hits Radio is a huge honour for me.

“Last year we provided over £3,500 for children get support with food and basic essentials from our Emergency Appeal and over 2,000 children across Chesterfield were also supported from our Mission Christmas campaign. With the fundraising support from listeners of Greatest Hits Radio, local schools, businesses and volunteers across the Town we can really help enrich the lives of children and families who need it most.”

Alongside its biggest fundraising campaigns Cash for Kids Day, which takes place this May, and Mission Christmas, which launches in November, the charity are seeking the fundraising support of local schools and businesses to help fund grant rounds for multiple projects throughout the year.

Funds have previously been provided to help families, charities and organisations with mental health, autism, special needs, sensory rooms, kit, equipment, IT, beds, school uniform and other basic essentials amongst a long list of other causes the charity supports.

The charity also has vacancies on its Local Executive Board and would like to have a representative from a Chesterfield business. To enquire about this or details on how to support the charity, email allan.ogle@bauermedia.co.uk

Greatest Hits Radio North Derbyshrie supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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Fortem tackles youth unemployment with flexible work experience programme

Fortem have launched a virtual work experience programme, in partnership with the North Derbyshire Careers Hub (D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership), to help tackle rising youth unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-day virtual work experience (VWEX) programme prepares young people aged 14+ for the next steps of their career journey, raises aspirations and promotes inclusivity for all through the flexible delivery methods.

Fortem have developed a model which is easily adaptable and can be delivered online or offline, depending on the circumstances and needs of young people. Consisting of five modules; IT, innovation, customer care, design and planning, the programme helps young people identify transferable skills and how to put them into practice.

Since the start of COVID-19, the UK has seen a significant impact on 16-24-year-old unemployment. Comparing the latest quarter, September-November 2020, with the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020, unemployment for young people has increased by 13%, and is set to rise with the impending pressures on the economy. 2020 saw the highest level of youth unemployment since 2016.

Findings from a YouGov poll for the Sutton Trust social mobility charity state that opportunities for young people to get experience of the workplace have also been impacted considerably by the COVID-19 crisis. Many firms who previously offered internships or work experience placements have cancelled them, with just over three fifths (61%) of employers surveyed cancelling some or all of their placements.

Leigh Garbutt, Head of Customer Experience at Fortem, said “At Fortem we don’t leave anyone behind so it was important that we created a virtual work experience programme that could be easily adapted to suit individual needs. We work closely with our clients and partners in the education sector to ensure that our offer is relevant and can really benefit our communities. Delivering people-focused opportunities like this are at the heart of Fortem’s culture and we are dedicated to continuing our commitment to supporting young people.”

The work experience programme not only gives students valuable work experience and an insight into the world of work, it also helps to achieve Gatsby Benchmark 6. Gatsby Benchmarks are a set of eight benchmarks that schools and colleges can use as a framework for improving their careers provision and is widely adopted as best practice. Read more about the benchmarks here.

Emily Carter, Enterprise Coordinator at North Derbyshire Careers Hub – D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said “It has been a privilege to work in partnership with Fortem on their exciting new virtual work experience offer. The flexibility in delivery of this programme will help to reduce barriers to engagement and promote transferable skills in an interactive way for young people.”

Following a successful pilot of the programme at Career Hub school, Springwell Community College in Chesterfield, a feedback survey found that 100% of students found the programme enjoyable and would recommend it to their friends and family, while 78% feel better informed about future opportunities within the industry. Fortem are refurbishing properties across Chesterfield as part of the council’s commitment to investing in its housing stock.

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said, “Developing the skills young people have is vital to ensuring they can enter the workforce after they finish their education and is one of our key priorities as a local council. It’s brilliant to see partnerships like this forming and delivering meaningful outcomes for young people in Chesterfield.

“Our local labour clauses have helped ensure that all new development in Chesterfield has real employability benefits for the local community and this work experience programme is just one of many successful examples of this policy in action.”

For more information on the virtual work experience programme, please contact Rebecca Goodwin, Fortem’s Regional Customer and Community Manager, on Rebecca.Goodwin@fortem.co.uk.

The topic of skills and careers for young people was recently on the agenda at the Chesterfield and North Derbyshrie Employability & Skills Conference. You can find out more about the event and watch it back here.

Fortem supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s paediatric X-Ray room given space theme thanks to Fastsigns and Fujifilm

Younger patients will have an out of this world experience if they need to visit the paediatric X-Ray room at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

The room has been decked out with a space theme thanks to Fastsigns Chesterfield & Sheffield and Fujifilm who have worked with the hospital’s Imaging teams to transform it, making it feel less clinical and help to reduce the anxiety.

Steven Cullen, Clinical Specialist Radiographer, said: “It looks spectacular and gives the children, teenagers and even the adults a real lift when they come in. They’ll be coming for a diagnostic x-ray and won’t necessarily know what to expect so to be brought into this fun and uplifting environment really changes their mindset, puts them at ease and helps them to relax whilst we perform the scan.

“We’ve become a reference site for Fujifilm after they redeveloped our Radiology Department and they offered to come in and design the space for us. It was their idea to fill the walls with spaceships, aliens, planets, stars, installing some mood lighting and even put what can only be described as a mission control panel across our own scanning booth. It’s really very inventive, visual and I think some of the parents and even my colleagues get a bit of a buzz from it as well.”

Paul Allison, Director at Fastsigns Sheffield & Chesterfield said: “We have been planning this project with FujiFilm and Chesterfield Royal Hospital for almost a year and we are delighted to have played our part and finally bring this to life in a challenging year.”

Non-Clinical Environments

Using artwork and colourful surroundings to help relax patients is something that has been happening in many different areas across the hospital. The NGS Macmillan Unit has been designed with a glass front to bring the countryside view to chemotherapy patients, there are pictures of the Derbyshire landscapes and landmarks above most beds in the new and refurbished wards and the main entrance was designed in a way to make it feel less clinical.

Steven Cullen added: “We’ve done it for the adults as well. Another of our rooms has now got a huge mural of the Chesterfield town centre where a panoramic photograph has been touched up to resemble a painting. It has the same effect as the space theme in that people look at it and try to find their house, favourite pub or restaurant.

“I suppose you could call it a distraction technique to help put patients at ease and give them something else to concentrate on instead of the machinery, which can be imposing against our very high walls, and whatever it is that’s causing them to be here.

“It’s been very well received, encouraged discussion between our patients and radiographers and we’re hoping that we can do something very similar in other x-ray rooms, maybe even in other imaging modalities such as CT and MRI. Anything such as this that improves the patient experience is worth considering.”

It took less than a day to install the artwork, that can be wiped down in compliance with infection control guidelines, in each room.

FastSigns Sheffield and Chesterfield supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield College achieves ‘Great Place to Work’ status

The Chesterfield College Group has been awarded ‘Great Place to Work’ status after achieving high levels of staff satisfaction measured by an internationally renowned institute.

In a recent survey and culture audit, carried out as part of the Great Place to Work initiative, staff said they had high levels of pride for what they accomplish to deliver services to support students, apprentices and employers. The college also received high satisfaction scores for line management, corporate social responsibility and fair treatment.

The college first engaged with Great Places to Work in 2019 to assess how its diverse workforce felt about being a Chesterfield College employee and to help formulate a plan for developing the college team for the future.

The initial survey measured a wide range of categories through an in-depth survey, including values and ethics, leadership, wellbeing, career development, corporate social responsibility and culture.

After the initial survey, several initiatives were put in place to actively improve and enhance the college as a working environment, including:

• Appointing a ‘Wellbeing Champion’ in every team/department
• Asking teams to write 5 pledges to undertake together to contribute to the wider community
• A trial of flexible terms and conditions for staff.
• Investment in a wider range of staff benefits.
• Dedicated all staff training days, allowing staff the time to share best practice and develop their skills/knowledge
• A focus on individual career planning and succession planning
• Development of training for managers and staff including Mental Health First Aid and Managing Stress

Julie Richards, Principal and Chief Executive of the Chesterfield College Group said; “I was incredibly proud to hear that we had achieved the Great Places to Work status. It recognises the efforts that everyone has put in over the past 18 months to improve how we work and collaborate as one team.

“Our Wellbeing Champions and team leaders have already made some very positive changes across the college. We will build on this and continue to improve as we know there is still work to be done.

“It is particularly important for us to recognise how the world and our workplace has changed in the past year. With this in mind, we will continue to engage with our staff and let them lead us towards even greater and more positive changes in 2021.”

The Chesterfield College Group supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Derbyshire among best in England for vaccinating people over 70

Vaccination teams across Joined Up Care Derbyshire have reached a greater percentage of over-70s patients than almost any other area in the country, ahead of the national target of vaccinating everyone aged over 70 by February 15.

Official figures up to February 7 showed 92.5% of people aged over 70 had received a vaccination, which was the top performance for any system across the Midlands and the second best in England. Only Somerset, with 93.5%, performed better.

The results have been driven by the hard work by teams working across a range of different vaccination services, from those led GP practices and pharmacies to the large vaccination centre at Derby Arena.

A spokesperson for the Joined Up Care Derbyshire said it was a wonderful achievement, but remained focused on the work still to be done: “The government set an ambitious target to vaccinate patients over 70 by February 15, and today we can take a moment to reflect on some real success. Vaccination teams, as well as the hundreds of support staff and volunteers, have worked hard to reach so many people.

“These dedicated people prepared and delivered a world class vaccination programme that is delivering tangible results for people all across Derbyshire. Everyone involved should be proud of this achievement.

“We now have to continue this excellent work, ensuring we reach out to the next cohorts of patients and, most importantly, that we deliver its benefits to everyone as equally as possible.”

Letters have been sent from the National Booking System to people who are aged between 65 and 69 years old, or who are listed by their GP as being at risk. GP practices are also now contacting patients in these groups.

If you are in either of these groups, please be patient and wait for your appointment. If you are aged over 70 but have not yet been vaccinated, please contact your GP practice.


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Chesterfield businesses encouraged to check eligibility for grants

Chesterfield businesses are being urged to check if they are eligible for business grants which can help them cover costs during lockdown.

Detailed information on business grants is available on the Chesterfield Borough Council website. Some of the grant schemes, including the Additional Restrictions Support Grant have been available to apply for since early January, but there are still a number of eligible businesses that have not yet applied.

New information regarding the Taxi Driver Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant has been added to the website – eligible businesses and individuals are being urged to apply as soon as possible.

Councillor Jean Innes, cabinet member for business transformation and customers, said: “These grants are a vital lifeline for local businesses, and I would encourage every business owner to apply. This funding can be used to cover a variety of costs including rent on business premises and other bills.

“Our team are working hard to process these payments as quickly as possible but it’s vital that eligible businesses apply in order to access this funding.”

The process to apply for business grants through a secure online form and applicants will need to submit some evidence, including bank statements, when applying.

There are currently five different business grants available to apply for online:

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG-C) – for businesses that have been forced to close due to national lockdowns or local restrictions.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG-O) – for businesses linked to the hospitality and leisure sectors that have remained open but were severely affected by tier 3 restrictions between 2 December and 30 December 2020.

Additional Restrictions Grant – a discretionary scheme for businesses that are not able to claim a Local Restrictions Support Grant – Closed (LRSG-C) but have been severely impacted by national or local restrictions.

Closed Business Lockdown Payment – a one-off top up grant to support businesses that have been forced to close during national restrictions from 5 January 2021.

Taxi Driver Support Grant – a one-off payment to support local taxi, private hire and contract drivers who are licenced to trade in the borough of Chesterfield.

Find out more about these grants and apply online by visiting: www.chesterfield.gov.uk/bsg

anzacs chesterfield

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Chesterfield FC pledges support to Plastic Free Chesterfield

Chesterfield FC and Chesterfield FC Community Trust have both signed up to become Plastic Free Allies.

Joining forces with Plastic Free Chesterfield, both organisations are pledging to reduce their plastic waste and move away from single-use plastic to alternate solutions.

Greg Hewitt, the community lead at Plastic Free Chesterfield, said: “We’re incredibly delighted to have the support of Chesterfield Football Club and Chesterfield FC Community Trust.

“The work they do in schools, raising awareness of single-use plastic pollution is inspirational, and it is fantastic that they now wish to take this a step further by signing up to our campaign and look at reducing single-use plastics at the football club.

“Their support is a huge step forward in our campaign to make Chesterfield an accredited Plastic Free Community.”

“We now look forward to being able to support the club in their efforts as well as being able to work in partnership to develop the schools outreach work on plastics, and to roll this out across all Chesterfield schools. We encourage schools to get in touch to request this.”

Martin Thacker, co-vice chairman of the football club and a trustee of the Community Trust, signed the pledge on behalf of both organisations. He said: “We are very happy to support the work being done by Plastic Free Chesterfield to reduce the use of single-use plastic in order to protect the environment.”

Recently, Destination Chesterfield also pledged it’s support for Plastic Free Chesterfield.  Destination Chesterfield Manager, Dom Stevens said: “In 2021 we’re encouraging businesses across Chesterfield to see if they’re able to make changes to their plastic use. If we all work together then, collectively, we’ll make a big difference in reducing the environmental impact on the rivers and beautiful local landscape here in North Derbyshire.”

Chesterfield Football Club supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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A-Line announces launch of UK Holidays and Tours company

Chesterfield-based travel company A-line has announced the opening of a new UK Holiday & Tours company located in the heart of the town.

A-Line Travel is a local, family run business best known for providing local taxi services in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire, but has now expanded its operations to include trips to tourism and seaside destinations.

The company says its aim is to bring some joy and happiness to people in Chesterfield, giving residents something to look forward to again following a difficult 12 months during the global covid-19 pandemic.

The firm is predicting demand for UK-based holidays to soar in the wake of the pandemic, with already over 7 million people opting for UK coach travel each year. A-Line Travel will initially offer holidays and luxury coach travel to more than 25 UK destinations.

A-line was first founded as a taxi company in Chesterfield more than 20 years ago, serving a number areas of North Derbyshire including Clay Cross, Staveley and Bolsover, running from its office on Stephenson Place.

Following the company’s expansion, A-Line Travel has opened a new office on Soresby Street and has recruited Nicola Aldersley as its Managing Director. Nicola started her career in Chesterfield back in 1996, working for travel company Going Places. A-Line says her experience and knowledge of the industry means she is well-placed to meet the needs of Chesterfield customers.

Sales Manager Jo Shephard, who has over 14 years experience in the coach travel industry said: “UK coach holidays are becoming more and more popular each year with families, couples, singles and pensioners as they are such good value for money. Who doesn’t want a hassle free, package holiday from your local town at a fraction of the cost of a holiday abroad? We make holiday dreams a reality.”

You can find out more about A-Line Travel. and the holidays and tours being offered by the company at: www.a-linetravel.co.uk

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Celebrating Chesterfield’s STEM ambassadors

Educators, businesses and local authorities across Chesterfield have been working together in recent years, as part of efforts to encourage more students to consider further study of STEM subjects and progression into related careers, inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.

To help with enthusing and engaging our young people, STEM Ambassadors volunteer their time and expertise to promote STEM to young people in original, creative and practical ways. They also work to support the STEM curriculum in schools, raising awareness of careers and supporting activities in the community. Ambassadors cross all ages and backgrounds, representing a vast spectrum of different employers.

Chesterfield businesses can get involved in supporting STEM careers in a number of ways:

  • Sign up as a STEM Ambassador at https://www.stem.org.uk/
  • offering tours of your workplace for students and teachers
  • delivering talks to groups of learners in schools about your organisation and job opportunities
  • mentoring students doing projects
  • networking with students and teachers
  • setting a project related to your sector
  • doing mock interviews
  • filming a video of you at your workplace
  • and much more!

What are the benefits of being a STEM Ambassador?

  • Engage and develop your employees
  • raise your profile within the local community, whilst also expanding your regional and national media presence
  • promote your apprentice roles directly to local schools and colleges
  • support your recruitment efforts, boosting your future technical and graduate pipeline
  • offer specific and sector careers information to young people and their influencers

Meet the Ambassadors

Here are a few examples of how STEM ambassadors are helping to drive forward the future workforce here in Chesterfield:

Name – Lindsay Rowe

Company – AECOM

Position in company – Senior Mechanical Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

To me, being a STEM ambassador is an opportunity to raise awareness of alternative careers, share my knowledge about the world of work and show young people that there really is something out there for everyone and there is more than one way to achieve your goal.

What it means for your business.

STEM ambassadors not only raise awareness of our industry in general, but they show students that they don’t have to move to London and the big cities to follow an exciting and rewarding career in engineering. Our company name and brand becomes more widely known and we get recognised as a company that students want to apply to when starting on the career ladder. Ultimately this makes it much easier for us to hire the people we need to continue growing our business.

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

I’m always happy and proud when I see children being inspired to think differently about the type of work they might like to do in the future. My proudest moment though was when I finally got to attend a careers event at my son’s school, he was the reason I started volunteering in the first place.

Name – Ann Fomukong-Boden

Company – Kakou CIC

Position in company – Co-Founder/Director/Principal Electronic Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

Being a STEM Ambassador is my opportunity to give back to my community and also encourage people to see how creative the STEM subjects are. I got into engineering through my love of music. The STEM subjects play a huge part in every aspect of our lives – even the fun things! I also like to challenge people’s stereotype of what an engineer is or looks like. Most people I meet rarely guess my profession from my appearance.

What it means for your business.

We have a community engagement programme called Social Fuse. We produce and facilitate creative-arts based STEM activities for our community. Social Fuse provides us with the opportunities to meet new people, build networks and collaborate on diverse, interesting projects that we may not have been aware of through our normal engineering activities. It brings variety to the business and we get to interact with young people, teachers, parents and organisations that we may have not otherwise encountered.

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

To be honest, I feel a sense of pride whenever I volunteer, especially when you see someone who is new to an activity suddenly have that moment where it all starts to make sense and they realise that they understand something that they previously thought was difficult.

A stand-out moment was being chosen by the British Science Association to be one of their inaugural Community Leaders in recognition of my time volunteering within the community. As part of that I went to the Houses of Parliament to give expert testimony at the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. That day I also discovered that the Houses of Parliament use some equipment that I had designed – which brought a smile to my face.


Name – Julie Eley

Company – Ready4Work/School of Thought

Position in company – Co-Founder

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

It is a privilege to engage with young people, not only to give them information about different careers but also to offer hope especially in uncertain times.

What it means for your business.

We have set up a project called School of Thought so we can promote the Automotive Industry to young People. If it wasn’t for STEM we wouldn’t be able to do this, so this helps us tell everyone about the great Industry we work in, dispel myths and to build the pipeline for the next generation of Employees

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

Letting Young People know that there are different routes and that University isn’t the only choice. Personally, seeing some students tell me about their project of building a go kart, and seeing how excited and knowledgeable they were, I found it really inspiring

Name – Emma Knight-Strong

Company – Green Arch Consulting

Position in company – Owner

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

I am proud to be a STEM ambassador. I am passionate about my field and want to ensure that young learners understand what skills they need to have in order to follow their own dreams. I personally believe that a STEM ambassador is a person who can use their enthusiasm for their chosen profession to inspire young people to think about the huge range of possibilities available to them if they continue in STEM subjects. It’s less ‘teaching them a specific job type’ and more about showing them how STEM can help them be resilient and adaptive to a constantly shifting job market.

What it means for your business.

 It allows more people to understand the type of business that I am in and introduces learners to a sector that is still relatively new

 The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

Having a teacher say to me that the three young girls who had been asking lots of questions usually never said a word in class and he was amazed at how engaged they were with the activity.

Name – Tom Mowbray

Company – Rolls-Royce

Position in company – Sub-System Design Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

I find being a STEM Ambassador is a great excuse to share my excitement for Engineering with inquisitive minds. When I host STEM activities with kids it really is a two way exchange, whereby I’m sharing some insights about Engineering whilst setting challenges, and in return I get to see how young minds tackle the problem set. There’s some beautiful creativity that is quite inspiring.

What it means for your business.

“Our activities are designed to demonstrate the life-long opportunities that STEM careers can offer, helping to secure a future talent pipeline for ourselves and the wider industry. We hope that our education outreach programmes will inspire people to study the STEM subjects and show them the life-long opportunities that STEM careers can offer.”


The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

I have participated in a variety of activities with children aged 7-18; covering topics such as friction, power and motion in primary ages through to GCSE maths tutoring, careers days and A-level mentoring. The range of options to get involved and the overwhelmingly positive feedback makes me proud to be involved.

For more information about the STEM Ambassadors scheme, you can contact the Derbyshrie Education Business Partnership (DEBP) on 01246 212535 or visit their website: https://www.debp.org/

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Chesterfield-based law firm Elliot Mather LLP assists Mellors Group in purchasing of Skegness Pier

East Midlands-based law firm, Elliot Mather LLP has recently acted on behalf of attractions and entertainment company, the Mellors Group in purchasing Skegness Pier, a landmark location in the Lincolnshire seaside town.

Elliot Mather LLP is one of the largest full service law firms in the East Midlands, with its head office based directly across from Chesterfield’s iconic Crooked Spire. The firm represents a diverse range of clients, including businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals and families.

Natalia Delgado, Head of the Commercial Team at Elliot Mather has said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the Mellors Group throughout their purchase of Skegness Pier, we have worked incredibly hard to reach this point and wish them every bit of success for their latest venture.

“At Elliot Mather we are committed to a delivering accurate and efficient legal advice to our clients, tailored specifically to suit their needs. Our team at Elliot Mather are honoured to have been part of the Mellors Group’s journey to purchasing Skegness Pier and we are sure that their latest accomplishment is bound to be a roaring success.”

The Mellors Group are a Nottingham headquartered theme park, attractions and events business who operate across the UK and Middle East. Their name is highly reputable in Skegness after their purchase of Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells in 2016.

The company also brought the observation wheel to Chesterfield Town Centre, which was visible across the town’s skyline for a number of weeks and helped to generate footfall in the town.

James Mellor (Jnr), Operations Director at Mellors Group said: “It is an exciting time for us as a family. We are committed to ensuring that our attractions are of the highest standard and we look forward to implementing our new plans for Skegness Pier”

“We can’t thank Natalia and her team enough for their dedication to this project. The service we have received has been friendly and professional at all times, tailored to suit our needs – thank you Elliot Mather.”

Elliot Mather LLP supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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HS2 Phase 2b critical to business confidence, says East Midlands Chamber director

Investing in key infrastructure projects like HS2 are crucial to rebuilding the confidence of investors in the post-Covid world, an East Midlands business leader has claimed.

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at East Midlands Chamber, warned the Government that failure to back the Eastern Leg of the high-speed rail line would affect sentiment in the region – with tangible knock-on impacts that would stifle job creation and economic growth.

He was speaking at the Levelling Up webinar hosted by transport body Midlands Connect shortly after it was announced that Phase 2a – connecting the West Midlands to Crewe – had been given royal assent in Parliament.

The future of HS2 Phase 2b – which will connect Birmingham and Leeds via a new East Midlands station in Toton and Sheffield, along with a spur of the line bringing HS2 trains to Chesterfield station – is uncertain after the National Infrastructure Commission recommended a scaled-back version of this line to stop at East Midlands Parkway station.

Businesses need solid Government commitments to plan ahead

Asked by The Sunday Times’ deputy political editor Caroline Wheeler what impact transport investment had on private sector confidence, Chris said: “It has a massive impact and I’d turn it the other way around to say that a lack of investment knocks confidence.

“It’s fantastic news that HS2 Phase 2a has been granted royal assent but there’s still uncertainty in the East Midlands about what’s going to happen to Phase 2b.

“That has a knock-on impact on confidence. When I speak to particularly our larger members, when they assess their asset plans in their various estates, they’re looking over decades rather than years.

“They want to know what the future holds and it’s really important the Government and policymakers don’t underestimate the impact of continually putting off decisions or making firm commitments to projects like this.”

Confidence might not be tangible, but the impact of it is

Chris also highlighted the importance of the connections that businesses, whether they trade locally or internationally, have to physical locations.

“They feel a commitment to the place they’re situated,” he said. “When I talk to members, they’ll talk about being a ‘Mansfield business’ or a ‘Market Harborough business’ – they feel real affinity to where they are as they’re often run by local people and employ people in their communities.

“So they want to buy into an exciting vision of what the future looks like for their business, families and communities they serve. Actually having a plan for infrastructure investment and seeing it take place gives confidence and makes businesses already here want to grow and invest.

“For those companies that are looking to move out of London or the South East – or potentially bring supply chains closer to home – they want to be excited about where they’re doing that so there’s a massive link between transport investment and confidence.

“And while confidence doesn’t feel tangible, the impacts of it very much are so it’s very important to see that investment going forward.”

Chris also spoke about a lack of quality work spaces hampering the influx of inward investment enquiries received by Derby, Leicester and Nottingham during the pandemic as more companies look to leave London, as well as the importance of embracing the region’s thriving advanced logistics sector.

Other panellists at the Midlands Connect Levelling Up webinar were Jane Stevenson MP, former Bassetlaw MP Lord John Mann and Lord Ravensdale, co-chair of the Midlands Engine All-Party Parliamentary Group.

The next event to be held in the webinar series will explore decarbonisation and takes place on Thursday 18 February. For more details, click here.

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