People: Be The Best Communications; Eden Planning; Slater Heelis; Yipiyap; Integrated Dental Holdings

Joshua Bell, left, and Chris Walker
X The Business Desk

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Be the Best Communications has appointed Joshua Bell as public affairs and campaigns lead after two new account wins.

The Ancoats-based agency is expanding after securing new contracts on both sides of the Pennines, including winning a competitive tender to provide PR services for Stockport Council and being retained by Harrogate-based Canvas Homes, which is delivering the largest modular housing scheme in the North in Stockton-on-Tees.

Joshua joins from the global agency SEC Newgate, where he spent the past three years managing the delivery of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) as well as delivering PR and public affairs campaigns for large infrastructure and corporate clients such as Openreach and Saica Paper, one of Europe’s largest paper producers.

He has also delivered PR and stakeholder engagement for large housing developments and town masterplans on behalf of Redrow, Galliford Try and Taylor Wimpey.

Having completed degrees in Politics and Global Justice, Joshua brings more than six years of communications experience to Be The Best having worked for the Labour Party, and Members of the Welsh Parliament prior to joining SEC Newgate.

Managing director, Chris Walker, said: “I founded Be the Best Communications to bring PR and public affairs closer together with the mission of helping people and businesses to tell compelling stories and helping them to make connections and grow.

“We are working on some nationally significant campaigns and Joshua has exactly that right blend of PR and public affairs experience that we are looking for that helps us to deliver exceptional results for clients.”

Joshua said: “I’d read about Chris’ ambitions for Be The Best Communications and am very excited to be joining the business putting my skills to good use leading some very significant and meaningful national campaigns.”


Altrincham-based Eden Planning has appointed Anna Bensky as a new director to its all-female leadership team.

With 17 years’ industry experience, Bensky is a highly skilled town planner and has previously worked in the private sector, both client-side and as a planning consultant. She joins Eden after nine years as associate director at Peel L&P.

Bensky specialises in delivering planning strategies for complex regeneration projects and strategic land promotion. She will play a vital role in leading Eden and contributing to the company’s ambitious plans for growth.

This appointment is a strategic move for Eden, following the recruitment of director, Nicole Roe, earlier in 2021. Roe brings a keen focus on town centre regeneration and development for the company’s existing client base.

Bensky joins an established all-female leadership team with a reputation for delivering planning consents to a number of high profile clients across the North West, including Ask Real Estate, Manchester City Football Club and Asda. During her time at Peel, she was instrumental in the delivery of RHS Garden Bridgewater.

She said: “It’s great to join the Eden team at such a fantastic time for the business. We are working on some stand-out developments and I can’t wait to help bring our clients’ plans to life.”

From left: Becki Hinchliffe, Anna Bensky, Donna Barber, Nicole Roe

This new appointment further highlights Eden’s ability to respond to an increased demand for planning services, as many projects resume after being delayed due to the pandemic, said the company.

Becki Hinchliffe, founding director, said: “Anna’s impressive portfolio showcases her enviable planning experience and adds serious weight to our growing offering. We’re working with our clients to bring forward a number of key schemes as we move into 2022 and are thrilled to have Anna and Nicole on board to provide invaluable expertise and client counsel at this crucial time.

“Our all-female leadership team is a happy accident – we didn’t aim to establish one but the skills that Anna and Nicole bring to our table really highlight how it’s time to shake up a very male-led industry.”

Eden currently employs 11 people and is consulting on multiple schemes for both private and public sector clients, including McGoff Construction, Together Money, Bridgewater Canal Company, Peel L&P, Flintshire County Council and Natural England. The company’s sector experience ranges from commercial to residential, as well as regeneration and aged care.


Following a series of significant client wins, Manchester-based law firm Slater Heelis is expanding its property litigation department with consultant solicitor John Gorner and associate solicitor Dan Leone.

The firm’s property litigation team was set up in 2016 and its expertise covers complex advisory work, high value disputes and all aspects of contentious property, landlord and tenant law across residential and commercial property.

Daniel Stern, partner and head of property litigation, said: “Growing our team and its remit of expertise has been a natural next step for the property litigation department after a year of onboarding some high profile clients.

“Together, Dan and John enhance our existing capabilities across both commercial and residential issues, with both marrying long and far reaching expertise in dispute resolution work with specialist knowledge of the property sector. They are real assets to the team, and their versatility will bring a unique perspective to the table for us.”

He added: “I’m sure that both Dan and John will play a key role in supporting the department’s strategic direction as the next few months reveal the true impact of COVID-19 on the property sector, ultimately helping to cement our reputation as the go-to property litigation team in the North-West.”

John Gorner, left, and Dan Leone

John, who qualified in 1984, is an accomplished practitioner with more than 37 years’ experience in civil litigation, including senior positions at Myerson Solicitors from 1984-2005, and Keoghs Nicholls Lindsell & Harris from 2005-2021.

He joins in a consultancy role, bringing with him specialist knowledge in residential property disputes, contentious probate and trusts and public and regulatory law. He will also work with the firm’s respected Court of Protection department to develop its acumen in contentious cases including safeguarding issues.

John Gorner said: “I’ve always specialised in complex, often multi-faceted civil cases that don’t fit neatly into one legal practice area.

“Slater Heelis values the experience I can bring and share with and pass on to others. The firm has the ambition to grow its teams and recruit practitioners with experience because it cares about creating an environment in which young solicitors can learn and thrive. This ethos of nurturing and investing in staff as well as clients convinced me that the cultural fit was right.”

Associate solicitor, Dan Leone, joins John to further strengthen the property litigation department. Since qualifying in 2006, Dan has gained considerable expertise in both employment law and commercial and property litigation matters, holding positions at Rowe Cohen, Lewis Hymanson Small and until July 2021, at specialist firm Markel Law.

Dan will bring his 15 years’ experience to advise on a range of residential and commercial property-related contentious issues for the department. He said: “I’m looking forward to undertaking a more focused role in property litigation and working alongside Daniel Stern to enhance my skills and expertise in this area – it’s a field of law in which I’ve always had a keen interest.

“Slater Heelis’s long history in the North West, as well as its many connections and resources there, was particularly appealing to me – the majority of my professional life has been spent in Greater Manchester, building a base of big hitting clients in the area, so I’m excited to develop these and new relationships with the firm and together continue to deliver great outcomes for clients both locally and further afield.”


A North West tutoring company has appointed six new members of staff and moved into new larger offices to manage its growth.

Yipiyap is a nine-year-old peer tutoring company based in Altrincham, training sixth form graduates to tutor pupils in schools and colleges all over the UK.

The organisation has moved into new town centre offices opposite Altrincham Town Hall, increasing its meeting room space by three times and creating a new collaboration hub for training sessions.

New team members

The company has also welcomed Snezana Rosic and Jennifer Haynes as regional directors, Conor Farrelly as project director, Archie Batra as opportunities director, Luke Brierley as operations and data analysis manager and Amy Redman as project assistant and social media manager.

Founder, Anne Morris, said: “Since its inception, Yipiyap has grown steadily and successfully, building a really close team.

“The whole education sector has gone through a very tumultuous time over the last year-and-a-half, and our tutors have been in even higher demand to help pupils catch up, create online learning sessions and deliver face-to-face teaching in schools all over the UK.

“We are delighted to welcome the new members to our team – their appointments will mean we are even more targeted in our approach, with deeper analysis and even more sophisticated methods of communication.”


Integrated Dental Holdings has announced that Kevin Beeston has been appointed as chairman of the board with immediate effect.

Kevin is currently the senior independent director of FTSE 100 utility company, Severn Trent, chairman of Elysium Healthcare, and a non-executive director of the FA Premier League.

During his extensive career, Kevin has been chairman of both public and private companies, including FTSE 100 UK developer and homebuilder Taylor Wimpey, Domestic and General, a provider of extended warranty services, and Partnerships in Care, a specialist provider of mental health services.

As chairman, Kevin will support the two constituent companies of IDH Group, based Kearsley near Bolton – {my}dentist and DD Group – in the next phase of their growth. The appointment follows the acquisition of The Carlyle Group’s majority shareholding in IDH Group by Palamon Capital Partners, in partnership with the IDH management team. This transaction completed on August 16, 2021.

Kevin Beeston

Tom Riall, IDH Group chief executive, said: “As we begin the next phase of our growth under new ownership, I am delighted to welcome Kevin Beeston to the group as our new chairman.

“Kevin’s unparalleled experience across some of the UK’s leading public and private companies will be an enormous asset as we seek to deliver on our plans for the future, helping more patients to get access to the care they need, and supporting clinicians to build the careers they want.”

Kevin Beeston said: “I am delighted to be joining IDH Group as chairman. {my}dentist and DD are outstanding businesses with strong leadership teams, proven track records, and clear plans for the future. I look forward to supporting both companies in this exciting next stage of their growth.”