Tag Archives: North West

HURST blazes a trail with new Vistage Inside leadership development programme

Independent accounting and business advisory firm HURST is blazing a trail with a new leadership development programme for 12 of its rising stars.

HURST is the first accountancy firm headquartered in the north to launch a Vistage Inside programme for future leaders.

Vistage, with 45,000 members worldwide, is a global leader in personal development and advisory groups for CEOs, key executives and leadership teams, providing insight, fresh perspectives, peer advisory groups, coaching and mentoring.

The two-year Vistage Inside programme combines tailored workshops with speaker sessions, insight papers, webinars and one-to-one coaching.

HURST’s bespoke Developing Leaders initiative is being delivered by Victoria Gee, former managing partner at executive search company Warren Partners, in her role as the founder and chair of a Manchester and Cheshire Vistage CEO peer advisory group.

The programme began this month with a full-day workshop and a talk by award-winning speaker, business author and ‘corporate athlete’ Brad Waldron on the key habits of highly-effective leadership.

Chris Stewardson, the HURST partner who is leading the programme for the firm, said: “The partners firmly believe it is essential to equip our developing leaders with the commercial, client and people skills to ensure the continued success and growth of the practice.

“Several of the HURST board have benefited from Vistage membership for some time, and we are now bringing Vistage to a wider group of people in the firm who are developing into a leadership role. The group is very excited to be working with Victoria to assist with their self-development and look forward to putting their learnings into practice.”

HURST focuses on advising entrepreneurial owner-managed businesses with turnover of £10m and above across all sectors. Clients include Kinaxia Logistics, M&I Materials, Beechfield Brands, Duerr’s, Oliver Valves, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Krones UK, Creamline Dairies, Arighi Bianchi, Scapa Group and Hyde Group.

Victoria said: “HURST’s senior leaders have seen the value of developing their skills and knowledge in partnership with our organisation, and it’s great to see the firm taking an impressively proactive approach to developing its leaders of the future and investing to ensure they continue to meet the expectations of its entrepreneurial client base and team.

“The practice has a fantastic culture, a great reputation and a strong position in the market, which all set it apart, but its leaders understand they cannot be complacent as they compete to attract, retain and grow their talent.”

She added: “We provide an environment where people can learn and be challenged in an open, supportive way that’s aligned to the culture at HURST.

“Our aim is to ensure that they are not only great technical accountants but also rounded leaders who understand entrepreneurs and the challenges and opportunities they face, and who are equipped to have the right conversations at the right time.

“As the first accountancy firm headquartered in the north to have launched a VI programme of this kind, it’s extremely exciting to be working with HURST and helping to bring on its next generation of leaders.”

Andy Perkins, managing director of international operations at Vistage UK, said: “The partnership between HURST and Vistage is a great example of our mission in action.

“Through this collaboration we’ll be able to support HURST to do more of what’s important to the firm – focusing on personal and business growth, supporting its people to become better leaders who make better decisions and achieve better results, as well as placing the values of trust, challenge and care at the centre of everything they do.

“We know that better leaders have a positive impact on their companies, families and communities, and we are thrilled to be supporting HURST in its continued growth plans and developing its leadership talent of the future.”

HURST is due to move its head office to a new flagship development in Stockport in the spring to accommodate its growing team. The firm is taking 11,000sq ft at 3 Stockport Exchange, the latest phase of a £145m project by Muse Developments and Stockport Council.

HURST is taking a 10-year lease and will occupy the entire fifth floor at the building. It has been based since 1998 in Tiviot Dale in Stockport town centre, but has outgrown those premises. The new HQ will give the firm scope to expand from 120 staff to around 170, which it aims to achieve over the next three years.

Warrington Business Park continues partnership with local charity

Birchwood Park, the North West’s largest out-of-town business destination, is thrilled to announce it has raised more than £9,100 for charity in 2022, a huge increase on the previous year.

The Warrington-based business park managed to raise money for its chosen Warrington charity, Walton Lea Partnership.

Walton Lea Partnership provides a variety of activities and supported learning opportunities for adults and young people with learning disabilities living in the region, accessible at its two sites in Walton Lea Victorian Walled Garden and Walton Gardens Conservatory Range.

The charitable sum was raised through a series of challenges and events taking part across the Birchwood Park premises, including the annual DuckFest which raised a total of £2,463. Another big fundraiser for the park was the 42-mile Bike Ride completed by 15 of the Birchwood Park team, raising just under £2,000.

More recently, the Park’s occupiers joined in on wreath making and a ‘family film’ show, again to encourage donations to the Walton Lea Partnership.

Alongside the donation total, the Birchwood Park team has helped the charity with the installation of new lights and sockets at Walton Lea’s headquarters and café area.

Birchwood Park was able to donate an additional £2,500 this year in comparison to 2021, with lockdown restrictions finally easing allowing the opportunity to host more activities on-site, as opposed to virtual events.

Following a successful partnership Birchwood Park has decided to continue supporting the Warrington charity throughout 2023. The Park thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with the charity and wanted to support its great work for even longer.

A spokesperson for Walton Lea Partnership commented: “We’ve been very lucky to be supported by Birchwood Park this year and all our staff are incredibly grateful to hear that the Park will be continuing to partner with us in 2023. Birchwood Park hosts a number of fantastic fundraisers and we’re looking forward to see what the team has planned in the coming months.”

Facilities Co-ordinator at Birchwood Park, Elaine Hoult added: “We’re proud to have raised over £9,100 for the brilliant Walton Lea Partnership.

“As a result of the lockdown restrictions, footfall was significantly reduced in 2021, contributing to less events and ultimately fewer donations. However, last year we were able to get things back to normal and invite people far and wide to come along and visit the Park, as well as welcoming back our occupier staff who had previously worked from home.

Martin continued: “We’ve got a busy 2023 schedule planned for our occupiers and visitors, which will give us the chance to continue with a number of fundraising activities to encourage donations to Walton Lea Partnership, as well as offering some great activities for people to get involved in.”

Altrincham based Hip Pop expands functional drinks range in Booths

A Cheshire based drinks business has increased their product selection in renowned food and drinks grocers, Booths, less than two years after securing their first retail listing.

Originally stocking four products from Hip Pop’s range of functional kombucha, consumers can now browse up to 10 products, soon to be 12, including their recently launched Living Soda, infused with apple cider vinegar and living cultures.

Hip Pop products have also been moved from the back of the store to the front, now including multipacks consisting of four cans in each pack.

Hip Pop’s co-founders, Emma Thackray and Kenny Goodman, secured the brand’s first major retail listing with Booths in the summer of 2021, following an impressive period of online growth. Their second retail listing was secured in 2022, with London’s leading department store, Harrods.

On the expansion, Emma said: “We are always looking for new ways to grow our business and achieve more brand recognition. One of the best ways we’ve been able to do this is by working directly with leading retailers, such as Booths.

“Our product range has grown substantially over the last 12 months, and we are excited to see an increasing number of Hip Pop products on the shelves.

“With new products in the pipeline, as well as moving into a larger brewery later this year, we hope this will open doors to further discussions with other retailers as our production capacity increases, allowing us to build long lasting relationships.”

Originally founded in 1847, Booths is now a leading grocery chain with 27 stores located across Northern England. Having secured second place in the list of the World’s greatest Food Retailers, the firm prides itself on working closely with British suppliers.
Based in Altrincham, Hip Pop’s team has grown substantially, and they now employ a team of 16, including Juliet Barratt, co-founder, and previous chief marketing officer of Grenade.

In the latter half of 2022, Hip Pop permanently slashed their prices by up to 50% to support new and existing customers throughout the cost-of-living crisis, and cemented a partnership with Manchester homelessness charity, Lifeshare, with one meal donated for every 24 cans sold.

The brand has received several industry accolades, including two stars at the Great Taste Awards, and the title of ‘Independent Drinks Producer of the Year’ at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival in 2022.

For more information, visit: www.drinkhippopr.com

RECOM Solutions expands its team with seven new arrivals

Seven new roles have been created at RECOM Solutions, strengthening its team amid a period of bumper growth.

Andy Mellor has joined RECOM as finance director with a remit that includes providing strategies and implementing procedures to facilitate further growth for the business, which is based at Salford Quays.

RECOM’s finance team has also been strengthened by the appointment of Natalie Ferguson as accounts manager. Her role is to ensure the smooth running of the internal accounts department.

Jordan Wilson has joined RECOM as a construction project manager, bringing more than 10 years’ experience of delivering technical, quality and management functions across complex schemes in the UK and overseas.

Another addition is Tom Salt, who has joined as an assistant construction manager with responsibility for managing subcontractor teams to ensure the successful delivery of RECOM projects.

Luke Roscoe has been recruited to support the strategic development of the business. He is focusing on client success, project delivery and supporting the senior leadership team in developing strategies for further sustained growth.

He has nearly a decade of experience in master-planning and client-side project management across the public and private sectors.

The other newcomers are Joanna Jagla and Caroline Cherian, who have joined RECOM as a trainee project manager and trainee quantity surveyor respectively. Caroline is on a year-long placement while undertaking a master’s degree in construction project management at Sheffield Hallam University.

RECOM, which was founded in 2015 by directors Jason McKnight and Joseph Dillon, undertakes construction project management and main contracting work across sectors including healthcare, education, retail and leisure, commercial and residential. It also provides consultancy services to assist in the design and delivery of health and safety, sustainability, passive fire protection and cladding projects.

The company is an approved contractor under the UK’s Fire Accreditation Scheme (FIRAS) for its fire protection services, which include passive fire protection installation, fire door surveys and installations, repairs and upgrades, fire strategy reviews, compartmentation surveying, advice and guidance, training, development and support.

Earlier this year, RECOM acquired a three-storey building on the Waters Edge Business Park in Salford Quays as its new headquarters to accommodate its expanding team, with staff numbers now at 37.

Jason McKnight said: “As our business has grown, so have our requirements to increase our financial processes. Having Andy and Natalie on board adds extensive experience to the team.

“Tom, Luke and Jordan have joined us at a time when we have a significant pipeline of projects, and their knowledge and expertise will bolster our construction management offering.

“Caroline and Joanna have been recruited in a graduate capacity and are providing support to the wider RECOM team.

“All of the new roles are in line with our growth strategy and evolution, and strengthen our skillset to enable us to continue on this path.”

RECOM has recently upgraded its employee benefits package, with a £1,250 cost-of-living bonus for all staff, a day off for their birthday and improved private medical provision with enhanced mental health cover.

Pictured left to right are Andy Mellor, Natalie Ferguson, Tom Salt, Joanna Jagla, Jordan Wilson, Luke Roscoe and Caroline Cherian.

Taylors Solicitors advises as Keenans expands with deal for Letting Locations

A north west estate and letting agent has expanded with a swoop for a Preston-based business.

Keenans Group has acquired Letting Locations for an undisclosed sum.

Letting Locations, which trades as Guildhall Residential Lettings, operates from Blackpool Road in Ashton-on-Ribble and has 350 properties under management.

Its managing director Robert Shields is being retained by Keenans on a consultancy basis following the deal.

Keenans is an independent, family-owned group which until now has focused on Greater Manchester and East Lancashire, with 10 branches covering 115 postcodes. It deals with over 2,500 sales and 400 lettings per year and employs nearly 100 staff.

Matthew Catterall, a corporate partner at north west law firm Taylors Solicitors, advised Keenans on the acquisition. Andrew Tabernacle of Bishops Chartered Accountants in Blackburn and Blackpool provided accounting and tax advice.

Matthew said: “We are extremely pleased to have provided legal advice to Keenans and help ensure its successful acquisition of Letting Locations. This transaction will enable Keenans to continue its impressive growth and extend its reach into West Lancashire.”

Paul Keenan, managing director of Keenans, said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Letting Locations as part of our geographical expansion in the north west.

“The business is a great fit with our current branch network and it expands our lettings management portfolio.

“The staff have tremendous experience and are passionate about the lettings industry. Their commitment to excellence for landlords and tenants alike aligns perfectly with our ethos, and we extend a warm welcome to them as part of the group.”

He added: “The advice from Matthew and Andrew throughout the process has been invaluable, and we look forward to working with them on future acquisitions as we continue towards our growth target.”

Seventy Ninth Group continues expansion with three senior hires

Seventy Ninth Group, an international asset management business specialising in the residential and commercial real estate, luxury living, and resources sectors has announced three key hires into newly created roles.

As one of the fastest-growing asset management companies in the UK, Seventy Ninth Group specialises in the acquisition and redevelopment of distressed assets across its core sectors. The family owned and managed business now has a headcount of over 40, an increase of almost 200 per cent compared with a year ago.

The latest trio of appointments represents investment in the management of the business and a commitment to growth both nationally and internationally over the next five years.


Colin Smith has been appointed Chief Marketing Officer. With a track record of working at internationally recognised companies such as Disney, Warner Brothers, and HBO, as well as strategic partnerships with Apple, Amazon and Google, Colin has been brought in to scale-up the marketing operations for the Group, and has responsibility for all digital, brand, media and PR.


Glen Parker joined as Group Operations Manager and has since been promoted to Chief Operations Officer. Glen brings over 20 years’ leadership experience from the military and has significant experience in supply chain and operations within global pharmaceutical companies. Glen manages daily business operations for the company including projects, finance, HR, and compliance. Glen is also briefed to build and maintain company culture and vision.


Vince Topping is Seventy Ninth Group’s new Group Finance Manager. Vince has over 30 years’ experience across audit, tax, financial reporting, and business management. Vince will be responsible for the oversight of all financial planning, implementation and preparation of accounting records, as well as ensuring the provision of detailed and timely reporting to both the board of directors and Ernst & Young and Deloitte, Seventy Ninth Group’s external auditors.


These new appointments represent an important next step for Seventy Ninth Group’s wider growth strategy to increase head office resources with some of the best people in their field. In addition, there have been appointments made across the operations, marketing and investments teams in response to the growing demands of these departments.


Natalie Bellis, Chief Executive Officer at Seventy Ninth Group comments, “We have always embraced an entrepreneurial culture in the business, seeking new opportunities for our investors. Over the last 12 months, this has taken us into new markets and new territories.

“To deliver on these new opportunities, we are expanding our team. Growth has been rapid, but for us it’s not about being the biggest, but bringing together some of the best people in the industry. The result is a combination of new expertise with our own experienced and dedicated team.

“We are – at our roots – a family business and we take great pride in the company we have built. Now, we look forward to the next chapter.”


Dave Webster, Chairman of the Seventy Ninth Group added; “I’m extremely proud of the ongoing growth of the Seventy Ninth Group and I think that these new hires really show our ability to attract some of the best talent out there.

“Furthermore, on a personal level, we’ve not only hired people with substantial ability and experience – which can only help us to achieve our lofty ambitions to become even more of a globally renowned and individual asset management company – but we’ve also made sure that the people we’ve brought in really add to, and resonate with, the core values of honesty, integrity and loyalty.

“I firmly believe that these people will truly help our company’s continued growth and evolution both internally and externally.”



Accounting firm HURST strengthens tax advisory team with two recruits

Accounting and business advisory firm HURST has strengthened its tax advisory team with two new recruits.

Chartered tax adviser Sam Ryan has joined HURST from Crowe UK as an associate tax manager. He will be using his expertise to advise clients on a range of matters, including transactions, group restructuring and succession planning.

HURST has also welcomed Joseph Bourke to its tax team as a graduate trainee. He recently graduated with an accounting and finance degree from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Liz Gallagher, head of HURST’s tax advisory team, said: “We are really pleased to welcome these two talented individuals to the firm and in particular to our tax department.

“Due to the rapid growth in our client base, both in terms of numbers and sophistication, we are experiencing an ever-increasing demand for high-quality taxation advice, and we are constantly on the lookout for new additions to our highly-experienced team.”

Joseph is the latest graduate to join HURST’s training programme, following the arrival earlier this year of Ewan Lawson, Tirath Panesar and Miles Redgrave as trainees in the business services department.

Meanwhile, Jack Skilton has joined the HURST Digital team on a full-time basis after being seconded from the business services team. He joined HURST in 2017 as a trainee chartered accountant.

HURST created its specialist digital team in 2018 to support companies in embracing technology to drive improved performance and efficiency. It is led by Jo Gibson, a partner in the firm’s business services team.

The digital team works with owner-managed companies across the UK to review their operations and implement bespoke digital strategies, including making better use of data, new business reporting methods and the integration and automation of processes. The team also helps businesses to meet the requirements of the government’s Making Tax Digital legislation.

HURST, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, focuses on advising entrepreneurial owner-managed companies with turnover of £5m and above.

Clients including leading entrepreneurial businesses such as Kinaxia Logistics, M&I Materials, London Lash, Beechfield Brands, Duerr’s, Oliver Valves and Delamere Dairy.

Merseyside has worst liver cancer rates in the North West

Cases of liver cancer across Merseyside are 75% higher than the national average, according to data collated by North West Cancer Research. 

The charity, which is dedicated to prioritising the cancer needs of people living in the North West and North Wales, has identified a number of concerning trends among the region’s cancer rates as part of a wider report. 

The study assessed the impact of 25 key cancers across the North West and 37 cancers across North Wales. Analysts found that, of the cancers included in the project, the North West over-indexed on 16 of them. This included liver cancer, for which the region as a whole has rates 19% higher than the rest of England.  

The report illustrates how regional inequalities are putting the residents of these areas at an increased risk of developing cancer. Residents in the North West of England are 25% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than in the rest of the UK. 

North West Cancer Research found that cancer rates can vary widely between communities even in the same county. For example, Sefton records the highest cancer rate in the Merseyside area at 22% above the national average, while in Liverpool City Centre the rate is 10% below the regional average.  

After liver cancer, the top five cancers most prevalent in Merseyside are: 

  • Lung, trachea & bronchus: 59% higher than the national average 
  • Oesophagus: 39% higher than the national average 
  • Bladder: 36% higher than the national average 
  • Stomach: 35% higher than the national average
  • Head and neck: 32% higher than the national average

Cancer rates in Merseyside, which is the most deprived county in the North West, have remained largely static for several years. From 2019 to 2020 the overall rate of cancer worsened by 4% while from 2020 to 2021 the rate of total cancer deaths improved slightly by 4% – although this was still 15% higher than the national average. 

North West Cancer Research continues to investigate the connections between high levels of deprivation and correspondingly high levels of cancer in order to achieve the goal of cancer-free communities. 

Alastair Richards, North West Cancer Research CEO, said: “By assessing the cancer challenges in the North West at a granular level, we’ve been able to identify the most acute issues facing the region. Unfortunately, this has also shown that not only is the North West falling well behind the national average in many areas but the static nature of the cancer rates proves that this is an entrenched problem that requires urgent attention.  

“In order to improve the situation, it’s clear that we all need to better understand the region’s complex and multifaceted issues which are closely connected with high poverty levels. By highlighting the link between deprivation and cancer rates, we hope to shine a light on how these two factors are intertwined and how they need to be tackled together if either is going to be solved. This clear correlation further showcases the necessity for the government’s pending health inequalities whitepaper to provide the crucial support that our most disadvantaged communities require. 

“Cancer as a disease can seem broad, ubiquitous and arbitrary, but in fact many of the challenges it poses are very specific and localised. By better understanding the challenges being faced at a community level, we can spot where further research is needed and identify what evidence-led interventions each location needs.”  

The data collected by North West Cancer Research recorded certain cancers that impact women at a higher rate in the North West. This included cervical cancer, with rates 19% above the national average regionally and with Cumbria alone recording rates that are 35% higher. Similarly, ovarian cancer rates are 12% higher compared to England as a whole and rates of breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in the North West, are 4% higher.  

Alastair added: “The chance of developing cancer should have nothing to do with where a person lives. To make this statement a reality, we’re committed to supporting research projects and awareness campaigns that will break the link between location and the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis.  

“We’ve invested more than £45 million in research projects in the last two decades alone, all of which has been aimed at finding new cures and improving care for anyone in the North West coping with cancer.” 

For more information about North West Cancer Research, visit www.nwcr.org, and to read its 2022 North West Regional Report, click here.   

Clarion Wealth Planning scoops national award

Clarion Wealth Planning is celebrating after its paraplanning team won a national accolade.

Cheshire-based Clarion scooped the Paraplanner Team of the Year honour at the Professional Paraplanner Awards 2022, which were held in London.

It was the first time the awards have been held in person since the start of the pandemic. They were judged by experts from across the industry.

Alistair Cartwright, head of advice delivery at Clarion, who leads the paraplanning team, said: “I am so happy and proud of the team for winning this award. I’m delighted that the hard work and care we put in on behalf of our clients has been recognised in the industry.”

Adam Wareing, operations director at Clarion, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to be named team of the year. We have a brilliant team and this honour is external recognition of the high standards we hold.

“The way in which we operate means our paraplanners couldn’t have achieved this success without the assistance of our entire team contributing and working in harmony, so in this way it reflects the tremendous efforts of everyone at Clarion.”

Paraplanners at Alderley Edge-based Clarion work closely with the firm’s team of financial planners to help build bespoke financial strategies for clients.

Alistair said the firm’s highly-qualified and trusted paraplanners are the vanguard of Clarion’s advice process and use their technical skills to help clients achieve their objectives via lifelong cash flow planning.

“Alongside our financial planners, they build relationships with clients to find out what they really want and help them to achieve their goals,” he said.

“The pandemic has seen a sea change in terms of bringing new financial objectives to the fore, such as selling a business or helping children and grandchildren, and we have been able to help clients adapt their plans to accommodate their desires in a caring and professional way.

“Our team has grown in recent months with new staff and this award demonstrates that Clarion is a great place to be a paraplanner.”

Professional Paraplanner editor Rob Kingsbury said: “The Clarion team impressed the judges with the solidarity of the team, including their shared responsibility and accountability for the service they deliver. It was clear also that the team does not stand still but is always looking at how it can improve on the service it provides.

“What most impressed the judges was the team’s focus on ensuring the end client, the customer of the firm, receives the very best service and outcomes from the advice they are given.”

Taylors Solicitors advises North West Roofing Supplies on swoop for B&M Henderson

A £30m-turnover supplier of roofing materials has expanded with the acquisition of a long-established business based in Burnley.

North West Roofing Supplies has acquired B&M Henderson for an undisclosed sum.

Family firm B&M Henderson was founded in the 1960s as a roofing contractor and switched to become a roofing merchants in the 1990s.

The £1.2m-turnover company supplies slates, tiles, battens, fascias, soffits, rainwater products, gutters, windows and doors to local roofing and building contractors.

North West Roofing Supplies has its headquarters in Kirkham, near Preston, and depots in Greater Manchester, St Helens, Morecambe, St Annes, Carlisle and Deeside. The company employs 58 staff and is owned by chief executive Steve Phillips and his wife Teresa.

A team at Taylors Solicitors advised North West Roofing Supplies on the acquisition. The Taylors team was led by corporate partner Matthew Catterall and included partner John Lomax, the firm’s head of commercial property.

Andrew Tabernacle of Bishops Chartered Accountants in Blackburn and Blackpool provided accounting and tax advice.

Matthew Catterall said: “We are delighted for Steve and the rest of the team at North West Roofing Supplies. This acquisition will enable them to continue their expansion and bring their excellent product offering to a wider market.”

B&M Henderson will eventually be integrated into North West Roofing Supplies. Mark Henderson, managing director of B&M Henderson, is staying on for a period.

North West Roofing Supplies, founded in 2001, supplies roofing materials and plastic and timber building products to contractors operating in new-build and refurbishment markets.

Steve Phillips said the company continues to seek further acquisitions in line with an ambitious expansion strategy.

He said: “B&M Henderson is an ideal fit for the business as we continue on our growth journey. It gives us a presence in East Lancashire and strengthens our position as a leading distributor of roofing materials in the region.”