North West business briefs: Sodexo; Electricity North West; RVA Surveyors; Sheet Piling; LCR Combined Authority

Simon McMaine (Sodexo), left, and Malachy Brannigan
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Sodexo has secured an 11-year partnership as the exclusive venue partner of the DW Stadium in Wigan, which covers public and hospitality catering, as well as conference and event sales and catering.

The stadium, home to both Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors, will see a number of upgrades made to it during 2022, with fans also experiencing a cashless stadium going forward. Sodexo will focus on a range of premium culinary experiences for both the matchday and non-matchday experience, ensuring that the stadium will continue to be a major conference and events centre in the heart of Wigan.

The partnership will also see a real focus on support for the local community in Wigan, with a strong commitment to source food and beverages from local suppliers and a commitment by Sodexo to hire local staff and support local charity and social impact projects.

Nick Byrom, business development director of Sodexo Sports & Leisure UK, said: “It’s an exciting time for Wigan Athletic fans under new ownership and we thank the leadership team at the club for selecting Sodexo to be their long term venue partner.

“We are confident we will deliver an outstanding guest experience for both Latics and Warriors fans on a match day. The facilities at the DW Stadium are excellent and with some additional investment from Sodexo over the next 12 months we feel that these will create some of the best event facilities in the area.”

Malachy Brannigan, chief executive of Wigan Athletic FC, said: “Following an extensive search for the stadium’s first venue partner since Phoenix 2021 Limited obtained the club, I am delighted to announce Sodexo as the successful bidder. The experience of Sodexo was a major factor in determining the decision and we look forward to a long and healthy partnership.”

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A Bright Sparks representative showing how a circuit board works

Youngsters from the North West are being given the chance to learn about all things electricity through a revamped education programme.

Bright Sparks is an in-person and online programme operated by Stockport-based Electricity North West, which manages the region’s power network. The programme, for children aged 7-11, aims to develop children’s understanding about electricity, from building electrical circuits to looking at why it’s important to save electricity, and ways to do so as well as giving the youngsters an insight STEM subjects.

Previously delivered through in-class workshops, these free curriculum materials, adapted because of the ongoing pandemic, have been designed with flexibility in mind and are now readily available to all primary schools across the region. Since 2015, the Bright Sparks team has visited more than 700 schools delivering sessions to in excess of 18,000 pupils throughout the region.

Helen Norris, Electricity North West’s stakeholder engagement manager, said: “Our Bright Sparks programme has been immensely popular with primary schools for a number of years. But during the pandemic we had to re-evaluate how the programme was delivered as our teams could no longer deliver the sessions in-person.

“We’ve worked hard and created a new Key Stage 2 curriculum linked online service which is readily available to all primary schools within the North West. The sessions are proving extremely popular and help provide youngsters with knowledge as to how electricity works.”

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Stephan Hughes

St Mary’s Church and Community Food Bank in Haughton Green is ramping up its support for local people across Tameside thanks to a new charity initiative with Denton-based independent business rates specialists, RVA Surveyors.

Naming St Mary’s Church as its nominated charity, RVA Surveyors, which was founded in 2011 and now employs more than 80 staff, has pledged to make a series of regular donations of food and everyday essentials in the run up to Christmas, supporting the food bank in its mission to reach those in need.

With dedicated drop-off points located at its offices, RVA Surveyors has also committed to making monthly donations, working with St Mary’s Church to provide high demand items including long-life food, sanitary products and treats for families.

A spokesperson from St Mary’s Church, said: “The need for local support is always high in the run up to Christmas, and this will be particularly the case this year with the pandemic still affecting our daily lives. We are very grateful to RVA Surveyors for their contributions and look forward to working with them over the coming months to serve the needs of our shared community.”

Stephan Hughes, RVA Surveyors chief executive, said: “We are very proud to be supporting St Mary’s Church and Community Food Bank in its incredible efforts to support the community in Haughton Green. We employ local people who share in our passion to make a difference to those around us and with our teams’ involvement, we are determined to ensure that our charity initiative with St Mary’s Church helps bring local people out of food poverty.”

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Phil (The Power) Taylor

Preston-based Sheet Piling (UK) has started to celebrate its 25th anniversary by announcing its prestigious sponsorship of darting legend, Phil (The Power) Taylor.

Phil Taylor is the most successful darts player to ever play the game and was the winner of an unrivalled 16 World Championships. He has been likened to Muhammed Ali, in terms of his impact on his sport. Now in his 60s, Phil has signed up for the World Seniors Darts Championships, where he will wear the Sheet Piling UK logo on his shirt as he tackles his opponents at the Circus Tavern, between February 3 and 6, 2022.

The sponsorship adds to an existing arrangement with another darts player, but one at the opposite end of his darting career. In late 2020, Sheet Piling UK also announced its sponsorship of up-and-coming teenage darting genius, Keane Barry, and will continue to support his career development, running that sponsorship alongside that of Phil Taylor.

Phil Taylor said: “Delighted to have signed a sponsorship agreement with Sheet Piling UK Limited. A big thank you for backing the return of ‘The Power’.”

Sheet Piling UK’s managing director, Andrew Cotton, said: “We are thrilled to be able to help Phil Taylor make his return to the darting stage, pursuing more glories to add to his illustrious career record. His phenomenal record of achievement will probably never be surpassed and it is an honour for us to be associated with such a legend.”

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Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and a hydrogen-powered bus

Bold plans to deliver radical improvements in bus services across the Liverpool City Region are being finalised by the region’s Combined Authority. The Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP) will be a blueprint for delivering improvements designed to encourage more people to travel by bus.

The plan is being produced with input from bus operators and local authorities in response to the Government’s National Bus Strategy, with the region bidding for a share of £3bn of national funding. Building on the existing LCR Vision for Bus, it will drive ambitious plans to provide services that are more frequent, reliable, and affordable while making it easier for passengers to understand and use. Key areas for investment include frequency improvements, fare reductions, zero emission vehicles and bus lanes.

Alongside work already taking place to reform bus services across the region, with franchising identified as the combined authority’s ‘emerging lead option’, the BSIP will help deliver big improvements to bus journeys in all parts of the region. Improving bus services is a vital part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s ambition for a London-style transport system, as 82% of public transport journeys in the region are taken by bus. Under Mayor Rotheram’s plans, getting around the region will be quick, cheap and reliable.

Steve Rotheram said: “Good public transport is vital for connecting people with each other and with opportunity, with people in our region overwhelmingly relying on the bus to get about. Thanks to the failed deregulation of the 1980s, too many bus services don’t work for the people who use them. I’m determined to fix that. Getting around our region should be quick, cheap and reliable – like it is in London. If it’s good enough for the capital, then it’s more than good enough for people in our region.”

The outline approach for the BSIP will go before the combined authority’s transport committee on Thursday, September 16, followed by the combined authority on Friday, September 24. The final BSIP will be submitted to the Department for Transport by October 31.

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