People: Somo Bridging; EvolveODM; Gaddum; Arup; Muckle; Tritax Symmetry

From left: Nicola Hardy, Taybah Riaz, Sarah Kirk

Specialist lending firm Somo Bridging is preparing for further growth in 2023 with the appointment of two new senior business development managers and a sales support administrator.

The new senior business development managers, Nicola Hardy and Sarah Kirk, ran a specialist finance brokerage together for five years before joining Somo and bring with them decades of experience in the finance sector. These appointments take the sales team at Somo to 13 and the lender has further plans to appoint more in the new year.

Nicola and Sarah, who have almost 45 years of sector experience between them, will use their relationship-building skills to educate brokers on the benefits of working with Somo and using their flagship Valuation Only and Second Charge products.

Nicola’s role is to manage relationships with Altrincham-based Somo’s new and existing national networks and mortgage clubs of brokers. Meanwhile, Sarah has been tasked with onboarding new brokers in the North of the UK, including Scotland, and ensuring existing clients get the first class service for which Somo has become renowned.

Taybah Riaz also joins the 36-strong team at Somo as a sales support administrator, reporting to and assisting Somo’s sales director, Jade Keval. Having worked in administration and support for more than four years, Taybah will provide valuable assistance to Jade and the wider sales team as they seek to surpass their growth targets in 2023.

Somo’s senior talent acquisition partner, Lindsey O’Neill, said: “The unique relationship between Somo’s sales and underwriting teams means they work closely together to mitigate risks while getting deals through quickly and efficiently. None of this is done through portals but with the human touch that personable and passionate people like Nicola and Sarah can provide. They are fantastic assets to the team.

“We are also delighted to welcome Taybah who, with her confident and focused approach, is already making a difference in our busy sales team.”

Despite the volatile economic climate, Somo has enjoyed 20% growth over the past year and has increased its team by 58% to support business growth and ensure high levels of service are maintained.


Fast-growing end-to-end IT and managed network services provider EvolveODM, headquartered in Wigan, has appointed Neil Muttock as commercial director.

The appointment follows EvolveODM’s acquisition of IT firm GB3 from EG Group in November as part of its plans to establish an IT services powerhouse in Lancashire.

Neil’s role will include leading the company’s sales and marketing teams, as well as driving forward its growth strategy to scaleup from 7,500 locations to 15,000 and create 40 local jobs in IT by 2025. His appointment comes as EvolveODM reports it is on track to close the year at 60% organic growth.

Neil Muttock

Neil joins from TalkTalk, where he spent six years as a partner account manager, and has a track record that includes significant experience of working with large B2B connectivity providers and growing high profile customer accounts. Prior to his role at TalkTalk, Neil held numerous leadership roles at Marks & Spencer.

He said: “I’m proud to have joined a dynamic company at the forefront of the latest developments in our industry, as there is so much change currently creating opportunities for businesses which increasingly need greater agility and flexibility in terms of their managed networks. I’m looking forward to forging new relationships, growing existing ones, and maintaining the fantastic culture that has been built here within the team.”

EvolveODM serves a global customer base in the retail, hospitality, and fuel forecourt sectors, including Robinsons Brewery and Hydes Brewery, and EG Group-supported brands and franchises like KFC, Starbucks, ESSO, BP and Leon.

The company’s growth coincides with a period of transformation for the IT industry, as copper wire networks for broadband and telephone lines are retired in favour of full fibre networks, and businesses move from the traditional MPLS networks that have been in place for more than two decades to the more agile and secure SD-WAN network.

Alan Stephenson-Brown, director at Evolve Business Group, said: “Neil’s collaborative and customer-focused skillset is an ideal fit for EvolveODM as we continue to propel along our scale-up trajectory, supporting our customers to flourish within a changing landscape. We’re proud to be ambitious, as a leader in our space with global reach and considerable USPs, and we know Neil shares our aspirations. IT will always continue to evolve, and so will we.”


Marketing consultant, Adeline Bibby, has joined health and social care charity, Gaddum, to lead on its strategic direction for marketing and communications and help it to reach individuals who are struggling with their mental health or who need to access trusted support services.

The Manchester based charity was founded in the 1830s, during the height of the industrial revolution when Manchester’s cotton industry was thriving and its population was growing rapidly. This left many of the city’s industrial workers living in poor, cramped and unsanitary conditions with rampant sickness and disease.

This was where Gaddum started, founded on the principles it still operates, of providing practical help and support to empower people and enhance their lives.

Lynne Stafford, left, and Adeline Bibby

Today, Gaddum is a respected independent charity with a long history of providing quality social and health care services, including advocacy, carer support, and therapy, services, to communities across Greater Manchester.

Adeline, who specialises in working with organisations with strong ethical and social values, has joined the Gaddum team at a pivotal time in its growth as it seeks to raise greater awareness of its services and reach more people across the city.

Her background in working with ethical organisations, such as ANTZ and Co-op Legal Services, and her drive to support charities pro bono during the COVID pandemic, including Gaddum Young Carers, Brain Health Breakthrough, and the Drive Forward Foundation, was a huge draw for Gaddum when it set out to further develop its brand identity and reach out to new stakeholders.

Using the skills she has developed during her 25+ year marketing career, Adeline has joined the 100-strong team at Gaddum to strengthen its identity and implement a new marketing and communications strategy for both internal and external stakeholders.

Lynne Stafford, chief executive of Gaddum, said: “I am so pleased Adeline has joined the Gaddum team. She absolutely brings with her a breadth of experience and passion for our cause, which will result in a strong and strategic marketing direction for the charity. What also really appealed to us is her collaborative approach, working with us to take us on the journey. These are real Gaddum attributes that we look for.”

Adeline, founder and director of Addi’d Value, said: “Gaddum’s values and ethos mirror my own and so I am very excited to join the team and help to develop their marketing communications strategy and, most importantly, to make sure that people who need their help are aware of their services and can easily access them.”


Emilly Kitching Bower, a senior town planner at Arup, has been elected for the upcoming year as the new regional chair for the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) North West region.

Emilly’s main priorities as chair will be split into three themes which aim to help both current and future North West town planners with greater support for both public and private sector members, improve the accessibility of the planning profession, and tackle the climate crisis. In her role, Emilly will explore how the profession can be made more inclusive and accessible, and look to make conscious changes to support the region becoming more sustainable.

She joined Arup in 2019 and is based in the Manchester office. Additionally, she has been a volunteer for the RTPI since 2019, in which she has undertaken various roles, including North West Representative for the General Assembly, an active member of the education, careers and mentoring task group and the 2022 vice chair for the North West region. Emilly is the third Arupian to hold this position, following Mark Watterson and Kim Power in 2014 and 2020, respectively.

Emilly Kitching Bower

Throughout her career Emilly has worked on major projects across the North West, including recently being part of the team to complete the integrated assessment of the Places for Everyone strategic plan, covering nine of the 10 Greater Manchester authorities. The plan focuses on delivering sustainable and inclusive growth across the city region. She has also been part of the consultant stakeholder engagement team for National Highways’ Northern Trans Pennine project, supporting the application for their planned A66 upgrade.

Emilly said: “I am thrilled to be the new chair of RTPI North West and I can’t wait to get started. I want to use this opportunity to focus on creating a sense of belonging for both public and private sector town planners and making the profession accessible for all, improving everyone’s experience of the planning industry for today and in the future. I’m looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”

RTPI’s outgoing chair, Kieran Blades, senior planner at Kingswood Homes, said: “Taking the reins as North West regional chair for 2022 has been an exciting and rewarding journey. It really is a unique opportunity to represent and unite a thriving network of planning professionals, and there’s no better person to take this forward into 2023 than Emilly.”


Law firm for individuals and business, Muckle, has further expanded the support it provides to clients across Cumbria following a successful three-year growth strategy.

The firm has now appointed three additional private client experts to bolster the team’s offering in Cumbria. Rachael Stephenson and Tim Boardman join the team as partners, taking the number of legal specialists to 12. They will be joined in January 2023 by associate solicitor, Winter Addis. All three have previous experience working together on behalf of farmers, landed estates, trusts, charities and private clients in Cumbria.

David Towns, head of Muckle’s agriculture, estates and private client team, said: “These strategic, senior hires demonstrate our increasing commitment to Cumbria as we further strengthen our agriculture and private client team, while dealing with some of the most complex estates and succession planning legal work.

“Rachael, Tim and Winter are well known, highly respected lawyers committed to providing an exceptional client experience. I am hugely confident that our business plans will deliver continued success over the next few years, especially in Cumbria.”

Tim Boardman, David Towns, Rachael Stephenson

Rachael Stephenson, 13 years qualified, has a strong background in all non-contentious tax, trust and higher level estate planning. She often acts for clients with complex family arrangements, such as cases of vulnerable beneficiaries, second marriages, high and ultra-high net worth clients, business owners and those with cross-jurisdictional estates. Experienced in advising on charitable and private trust matters, Rachael regularly acts as a professional trustee of will trusts, lifetime settlements and personal injury award trusts. She also acts as an attorney for incapacitated clients.

She is recognised by The Legal 500 UK and Chambers and Partners for being a “breath of fresh air”, for “providing no nonsense, straightforward advice” and for having a “vast amount of experience and technical ability, combined with a good understanding of what her clients need”.

Tim Boardman, 19 years qualified, advises clients on estates and succession planning, including individuals and trustees on managing landed estates and agricultural holdings. Tim has worked with landed estates and families with significant agricultural business assets, a specialist in succession planning for families with private business interests. His expertise includes wills and trusts, estates, Power of Attorney and Court of Protection Deputyship Applications.

Rachael said: “The growth and success of the agriculture and private client team are down to the team’s specialist expertise, in-depth knowledge, and understanding of rural clients and communities.”

Tim said: “Being part of such a skilled, growing, forward looking team is exciting and I am looking forward to helping the team grow the business in Cumbria and beyond.”

David Towns said: “Cumbria is a thriving region, and we are proud of our strong relationships with its rural and business communities. Welcoming Tim, Rachael and Winter to our team will allow us to serve our existing clients better while developing new relationships with individuals, businesses, and organisations in the area.

“As we continue our investment in Cumbria, Rachael, Tim and Winter will be joining the rest of the team, servicing clients from our newly-opened Cumbria Hub, at Edenhall near Penrith.”


National logistics developer, Tritax Symmetry, has appointed Kate Howe as development director to oversee its industrial and logistics schemes in Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Howe, who was most recently working at PSP delivering industrial infrastructure and regeneration projects in partnership with local authorities, has 15 years’ property experience working across all development sectors.

Kate Howe

As of September 30, 2022, Tritax Symmetry is building more than three million sq ft of logistics and industrial space comprising 15 units across 10 schemes.

Howe said: “Tritax Symmetry delivers unrivalled quality developments which support economic growth across the North West, whilst seeking to exceed occupiers’ expectations. I am excited to join the Tritax Symmetry team as they deliver some of the most prestigious industrial and logistics schemes in the region.”

She will be based in the Manchester office.