£1m improvement scheme for Blackpool

A £1m scheme to improve the appearance of town centre properties in Blackpool has launched as part of a wider initiative designed to revitalise the area.

It is hoped the project, which is funded by Blackpool Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, residents and investors.

Grants are available for up to 95 per cent of the total cost of the works.

Councillor Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This scheme is part of a wider regeneration project which aims to encourage the economic revitalisation of Blackpool town centre through a programme of highways, public realm and building improvement works.”

More via Insider Media.

EG Group to buy NRGValue Retail

Blackburn-headquartered EG Group has entered into a definitive agreement to buy NRGValue Retail, which operates almost 100 Esso-branded sites in the Netherlands.

Through the addition of the 97 facilities, EG Group will reinforce its position in the country where it will ultimately be overseeing 595 stations.

Mohsin Issa, EG Group founder and co-chief executive, believes the takeover is a “great opportunity” for the company.

“I believe that our expertise in investing in an effective branded non-fuel retail offer provides room for significant growth across the NRGValue portfolio,” he added. “We are focussed on delivering a world-class fuel, convenience store and food-to-go offer which exceeds consumer expectations.”

More via Insider Media.

Lancashire Firms Invited To Take Up Business Support Review

Ambitious Lancashire businesses are being encouraged to make the most of a free service that identifies where they might benefit from extra business support.

The Business Support Review is offered by Boost – Lancashire’s £7.8m business growth hub – and enables growing businesses to meet with an experienced business advisor to understand their growth opportunities and challenges.

Following the review, businesses can get matched and referred to relevant Boost programmes that can help get them growing.

Since October 2016, over 1,000 Lancashire businesses have benefited from the Business Support Review, including LYPH, a Lancaster-based fashion design company which has opened up new international markets thanks to Growth Mentoring support.

Andrew Leeming, Boost programmer manager, said: “The Business Support Review service is all about making it easier for Lancashire businesses to get the support they need to get growing.

“Our message to growth-hungry businesses is that this is a great time to use the Business Support Review. It will enable you to take a step back and consider what additional support the business really needs to grow.”

“With so much support available in Lancashire, our impartial and professional advice can save your business time and ensure the support offered is relevant and valuable to your business.

“If you haven’t accessed publicly funded business support before, or haven’t had any support for a while, this service offers an excellent introduction to what’s available in Lancashire right now.”

For more information about the Business Support Review and to start your #growthconversation call Boost on 0800 488 0057.

The Business Support Review is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. To benefit from this support, you must not be a retailer or business-to-consumer focused organisation.

Via The Bay.

Regional funding gap persists


  • 11% of UK equity deals take place in the North
  • 18% of Business Angel activity takes place in the North

Research from British Business Bank, the operators of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, has revealed that Northern businesses are increasingly benefiting from improved access to equity and alternative finance, however the volume and value of funding remains concentrated in London.

British Business Bank’s 2018 Small Business Finance Markets report provides a unique, in depth picture of the small business finance market across the UK. Now in its fourth year, the report highlights the volume, value, and appetite for SME funding across the UK regions.

Equity investment remains clustered in certain cities, particularly but not exclusively London. Around 11 per cent of the total number of UK Equity Deals between Q4 2016 – Q3 2017 took place in the North, compared to 51 per cent in the capital.

The report also highlights the differences in Business Angel activity across the UK regions. Activity remains concentratedin London, with 58 per cent of Angel investment taking place in the capital, compared to 18 per cent in the North.

While London received more funding than every other UK region combined, increasing funding through new geographically-focused funds can help reduce disparities in regional growth. The British Business Bank’s £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), launched in February last year, provides finance to businesses through Microfinance, Debt and Equity Finance to boost SME growth in the North of England.

Recent equity investments made by NPIF fund managers include Hull-based Ash TV, an award-winning video advertising start-up which as recently expanded into mainland Europe and a £600,000 investment into Manchester-based Hiring Hub, an innovative online marketplace for independent recruitment agencies.

The launch of regional funds come as part of a wider diversification of the finance market for the North’s small business community. The report reveals that, while small businesses are still predominantly turning to their main bank for finance, there are encouraging signs that business owners are increasingly using alternative sources of funding, with 58 per cent of SMEs in the North now aware of venture capital as a source of equity finance from VCs and business angels.

Keith Morgan, British Business Bank CEO, said: “A core objective of the British Business Bank is to encourage greater diversity of finance, so we welcome the growth in the uptake of equity finance and other alternatives to traditional lending.

“We do, however, recognise that there is much more to be done to fully unlock the potential of the North and bridge the funding gap between the UK regions. We now have in place regional funds, such as the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, to finance businesses across the North. We need to build on that momentum and continue to diversify and expand the financial support available to SMEs.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020and the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, please visit www.npif.co.uk.

More office space comes to Preston

Newly refurbished grade A offices in Preston have been brought to market.

Located on Sceptre Point Business Park, the 3,000 sq ft site neighbours the likes of The Sunday Express Group and the Lancashire NHS Trust.

It is being marked by Eckersley and Nolan Redshaw as joint agents.

Mike Redshaw of Nolan Redshaw said: “The refurbishment was carried out to provide a very high specification of headquarters-type space to appeal to the smaller corporate which would not normally be able to find a building of this size to this HQ standard.

“It’s good news for Preston that a grade A office has been provided that is flexible enough to appeal to a wide range of companies.”

Via Insider Media.

Create Homes get Lancashire land

A 7.26-acre site in Lancashire has been sold to Create Homes.

Northern Trust is behind the sale of the Inskip site, which is split into two parcels of land to the north and south of Preston Road.

It is earmarked for a proposed scheme – which has reserved matters approval – comprising up to 55 homes; 38 houses and a village store in one area and 17 in the other.

Stephen Glenn, land executive at Northern Trust, said: “We are delighted to have secured planning consent for this site and completed the sale of the site to Create Homes.

“It is anticipated that development work will commence in February 2018, and we look forward to seeing the new housing scheme come to fruition.”

Via Insider Media.

Lancashire Business Expo 2018 in Preston

Want to be part of Lancashire’s most successful business exhibition?

This annual event provides limitless opportunities for businesses across the region that want to thrive and succeed.

Preston Guild Hall, 2nd of March 2018, 9am to 3pm

With over 2,500 professionals attending on an annual basis, the Lancashire Business Expo provides a unique platform for organisations throughout the region’s thriving business community to network, promote their business and of course generate new business.

Register Now for your FREE delegate pass

Fat Media creates new look for international apartment group

Fat Media is behind the branding for global serviced apartment company, Habicus Group.

Habicus is the new umbrella name for Silverdoor Apartments, Citybase Apartments, Central London Apartments and Orbital Platforms.

Lancaster’s Fat Media was appointed last year, following Silverdoor’s acquisition of Citybase, which in effect created the group.

The agency was tasked with coming up with a name and new identity for the parent company, as well as rebranding the existing firms.

“We have been operating as a group of companies since last May and in that time it became apparent that we need a parent company to be able to refer to all of our brands as a whole,” explained Habicus managing director, Marcus Angell.

“Habicus Group brings all of our offerings together into one place. We spent a long time making sure we got our brands just right and I’m delighted with the results. I’m confident that we are now in the perfect position to continue our growth and expand further internationally.”

David Adams, head of brand consultancy at Fat Media added:

“The project involved working closely with the client’s in-house marketing and design team, as well as its senior management team during both the research and design phases of the project. This was complemented by additional stakeholder and desktop research.

“Crucially, this close collaboration enabled us to develop the required insight and commercial intelligence required to inform the ultimate direction of the group’s branding and messaging. It proved to be a highly rewarding and effective approach for all parties”

Via Prolific North.

Job vacancy: Creative Designer at Danbro (Lytham)



Based within our Head Office, Lytham

We are looking for a Creative Designer to join our Marketing Team. The successful candidate will take the lead on design projects, delivering to tight deadlines and leading by example in exploring innovative and creative ways of conveying a message to engage our stakeholders, promoting the activities of the business in all areas of digital design. A strong knowledge of Adobe creative Suite is essential, experience of working in an agency environment is desirable.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Working cross-functionally to build recognition and customer loyalty, ensuring brand consistency across the business.
  • Managing the creation and implementation of our brand direction with new and exciting designs for customer communications (email, video, social media, website etc.) in support of the Marketing Strategy to grow the number of leads generated through digital channels.
  • Leading key brand creative projects, assuming responsibility for the creative output, ensuring deadlines are met and we do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
  • Creating website, video and email content, including production and scheduling, to ensure information is current and useful thus increasing engagement with the site and the business, evidenced by a growing number of unique visitors, resulting in new clients.

If you would like to apply for this position, please complete the application form by the 20th February 2018.

Job vacancy: Digital Developer at Freshfield (Preston)

Winckley Square, Preston, Lancashire

Dependant on experience

Additional benefits:
– 26 days holiday (plus additional holidays for long service)
– Employer contributory group pension scheme
– Personal development programme
– Family flexible working policies
– Flexible Fridays – start early, finish early

About the role
This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced and ambitious developer to be part of a forward-thinking and highly regarded firm. You will be reporting into the Head of Digital and Senior Digital Developer delivering digital solutions for a portfolio of clients.

Typical duties will include

  • Building new websites from initial setup through to go-live
  • Ongoing development of existing websites to develop features and functionality
  • Producing code, either from scratch or by adapting existing code libraries to meet project requirements
  • Code email newsletter templates and campaigns based on approved design
  • Population and issuing of email marketing campaigns
  • Providing website technical support and advice to clients as required
  • Building integrations with third party systems would be an advantage: Facebook, CRM systems, email marketing systems, etc.
  • Working within (and helping to shape) department procedures including co-development, version control and approved software
  • Working to budget and within allocated timeframes
  • Working with other Freshfield departments to offer digital advice and solutions

Core skills

  • Required technical skill set: HTML, HTML5, CSS, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, SASS, MySQL, WordPress, Cross browser compatibility, responsive web design, Version Control (SVN/GIT), HTML email, Apache & NGINX, Adobe Creative Cloud, HTTPS
  • Good existing knowledge of the digital sector and landscape and a desire to learn more
  • Adaptable and able to pick up new techniques
  • Able to work on your own or in a team
  • Strong organisational skills – ability to multi-task, manage time, meet deadlines and handle pressure situations
  • Thorough and precise in your work
  • Awareness of international web standards and protocols
  • Experience of liaising with clients and providing website technical support
  • Working knowledge of SEO an advantage
  • Minimum of 2 years’ experience of working in a similar role
  • Strong customer relations skills
  • A hard worker with a passion to do a great job
  • A good source of new ideas

About Freshfield
Freshfield is a marketing communications consultancy, employing 20 specialists. Our office is located in the heart on Winckley Square, Preston. We doubled our office size following a move in August 2016. We have a strong commitment to excellent client service and people development.

Apply for this job
To apply, send your CV and covering letter to Mark Brennan
E-mail: markb@freshfield.com
Tel: 01772 888400
No recruitment agencies.

Start date: ASAP