North West business briefs: University of Manchester; Anwyl Homes; St Helens Chamber; Cosalea; Eatock Design & Build

Marcus Rashford
X The Business Desk

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Manchester United and England international footballer Marcus Rashford received his honorary doctorate from The University of Manchester last week (October 7), at a special ceremony which took place at Old Trafford.

The initial award announcement was made in July last year, but due to the pandemic, an official in-person ceremony and celebration has been unable to take place until now. The prestigious award is for his ongoing charity work and well publicised campaign against child poverty off the field, as well as his outstanding sporting achievements on the pitch.

The accolade is the highest honour the University can bestow and, at just 23-years-old, Marcus is the youngest recipient of an honorary degree in the history of The University of Manchester. He joins fellow Manchester United club legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, who have also been honoured by the university in the past. Sir Alex Ferguson joined Marcus’s friends and family in attendance to see the England international receive his award from The University of Manchester’s president and vice chancellor, Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Marcus said: “To be here in the presence of a great such as Sir Alex, and those who have played a huge role in my journey to be where I am today is special. I’m here to receive my Honorary Doctorate for my work around child poverty. Yesterday, millions of families across the UK lost a lifeline and a means of staying afloat. A move that could see child poverty rise to one in three children. For that reason, today is bittersweet. It’s time that representatives got out into communities like mine. It’s time they saw first hand the true measure of struggle. COVID-19 can no longer be used as an excuse.”

Prof Rothwell said: “Marcus is an exceptional young man who continues to demonstrate a sense of community and generosity that goes well beyond his years. Our university also has social responsibility at its core, and we are extremely proud to share these values with Marcus. It really is an honour to finally present him with this well deserved award on behalf of our institution.

“His ongoing charity work and high profile campaigns not only help millions of people across the country, but inspire many more to try and make a difference themselves. Long may it continue.”

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Phil Dolan

Anwyl Homes’ Cheshire and North Wales region has reported a record number of new homes completions for 2021 and is on course for further growth over the next year. The Flintshire-based housebuilder completed 487 homes during its past financial year, which ended on September 30, an increase of 22% on the previous year.

Despite the challenges faced by the wider industry, the company now has its sights set on another record breaking year and is forecasting a further increase in the number of homes it builds of just over 10% for the current financial year.

The figures mark steady growth of Anwyl Homes’ Cheshire and North Wales region, which acquired three new sites over the past year, including the 138-home development at Victoria Mills in Holmes Chapel, a site for 142 homes at Clifton Drive, Chester, and Glyn Farm, Colwyn Bay, which has planning consent for 39 properties. The developer also began work on 130 new homes at Rossbank Road in Ellesmere Port.

Phil Dolan, managing director for Anwyl Homes Cheshire and North Wales, said: “We’ve enjoyed another successful year. Demand from home buyers has remained strong and we’ve outperformed our completion targets. It’s a terrific achievement in light of the supply issues and materials shortages the construction sector continues to experience.

“Across the region we have a substantial forward order book and a strong pipeline of future developments, with several new sites acquired subject to planning. This includes The Airfields in Deeside, where we are proposing 183 homes as part of the Summers Bridge development, 109 homes as a further phase of development at Parc Aberkinsey in Rhyl, 49 new homes at Nant-Y-Gamer Road in Llandudno and 85 new homes off Newcastle Road in Shavington, Cheshire.”

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A group of construction trainees have been putting the skills they are developing at St Helens Chamber’s Construction Training Centre into practice at a local community allotment.

St Helens Mind runs a community allotment where service users can come and take some time out, working on the allotment or just enjoying the peace and quiet. St Helens Chamber’s trainees have created a patio which will provide a place for visitors to sit and socialise.

Neil Rigby, young people’s development team leader, said: “We think it’s very important for trainees to put their skills into practice outside of the construction centre, and what better way to do this than by supporting a fantastic cause. We look forward to working closely with St Helens Mind on making improvements and additions to their allotment, and I’m really proud of the work the trainees did on the patio.”

St Helens Mind’s allotment is in Cabbage Hall Allotments and can be accessed by any of their service users. The allotment is designed to help people with mental health issues connect with nature and take some time out in a peaceful space. Visitors can work on the allotment doing maintenance and planting or can simply relax and socialise with others during their time in the gardens.

Gill Ellison, from St Helens Mind, said: “Thank you so much to the trainees for all their hard work on the allotment, you don’t know how much this means to everyone at St Helens Mind. The trainees did an amazing job, and the allotment truly is ‘A Place to Grow’ – thank you.”

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Just one year on from opening its doors, a Bury café is set to undergo a full refurbishment and reopen as a high end café bar, offering customers evening opening and an exciting menu of beers, wines and sharing platters.

In September 2020, Cosalea launched on Walshaw Road, as a new place to eat, meet and create. Its aim was to offer great quality food and drinks in a fresh, welcoming social space for the local community to enjoy and it quickly built a reputation as one of the best eateries in the area. After listening to feedback from customers after a short refurbishment, Cosalea will reopen this week with a new look as a fully licensed café bar – the first licensed premises on Walshaw Road.

Owner Lisa Moore said: “Our customers told us time and again that there was a need in the local area for somewhere that opened in the evenings that wasn’t a pub or restaurant, and wasn’t in the centre of town. In response, we’re creating a relaxed café vibe in new, contemporary surroundings with a great choice of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails and live music. We’ll be introducing an evening menu with small plate and sharing platters, great to share with friends and family.”

Despite a turbulent year which saw Cosalea forced to close its doors soon after opening due to lockdown, the business has gone from strength to strength. Lisa Moore added: “The local community is at the heart of every single thing we do – being there for our customers is what we love and what we do best. We’ve built a loyal base of regular customers who love nothing more than popping in for a coffee, something to eat and chat with our friendly team and one another.

“We’d like to reassure our customers that with our latest developments, the daytime café will remain the same. They can enjoy the same great menu, the same warm atmosphere and the team they know so well will still be serving them. It’s the Cosalea they know and love – just even better.”

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Paul Eatock

Manchester-based Eatock Design and Build has celebrated a successful first year of business, securing the appointment of CarFinance247 for the office refurbishment at its Manchester HQ.

Set up last autumn by Paul Eatock, the firm now operates nationwide, servicing the office and commercial sector, accommodating projects of all sizes including full reconfigurations to extensive refurbishments. With much of 2020 and early 2021 consisting of workplace consultancy in the face of changing COVID-19 regulations and guidelines, the company achieved a first-year turnover of £550,000. Buoyed by the appointment of several new client wins, including CarFinance247, this is predicted to reach £2m this year.

Paul said: “We worked with CarFinance247 on a consultancy basis at the start of lockdown as they wanted to make sure they were compliant with regulations. We’ve now been tasked with revamping their office space to cater to the changing needs of their large workforce post-lockdown.

“Crucially, as a client, they understand the value of their company culture and what this means for staff retention. This translates into the trust placed in us to create something truly unique and special. Their team will now be provided with a range of both quiet and collaborative spaces offering the flexibility to enable them to work how they want to. When people don’t need to be in the office all day every day and certainly not chained to a desk, it’s the importance placed on company culture that keeps them coming back.”

Much of Eatock Design and Build’s work in 2021 has been assisting clients revamp their offices to welcome back employees who have become used to working from home. The challenge has been to transform traditional spaces into workplaces that cater to the health and wellbeing of staff, enhance productivity, and retain and attract talent. Paul said: “These days, offices can’t simply resemble the same spaces that workforces left pre-pandemic. Resimmercial is the real buzzword of the moment. We’re talking offices with a more residential feel, including more soft furnishings and spaces that feel much more like coffee shops.”

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