North West business briefs: Robin Valley; Coffee Lab; Northenden Golf Club; Preston Youth Zone; Stockport County FC

From left: Wanchong Chen, Sue Chambers, Liang Zhang

Robin Valley, an eco-conscious North Liverpool jewellery business, has received a game-changing £50,000 investment from NPIF-River & GC Microfinance, which fuels the sustainable brand’s rapid expansion as demand for its nature-inspired designs soars. The firm will also take on five new staff.

River Capital manages, in partnership with GC Business Finance (GCBF), the funding as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

Robin Valley is on a mission to revolutionise jewellery with its sleek wood creations, including earrings, keychains, and accessories from natural wood materials and incorporating hand-painted motifs like flowers and animals. Its earth-friendly products have won over prestigious outlets across the UK, including National Trust Scotland, WWF-UK, Merlin Entertainments, museums, galleries, zoos and now boasts 1,200 unique designs.

Sue Chambers, Investment Manager at River Capital, said: “We are thrilled to fuel the significant rise of Robin Valley. This trail-blazing company embodies Liverpool’s flourishing spirit of creativity and innovation. Its sustainable ethos certainly sets it apart from other jewellers and our loan will help take Robin Valley to the next level as it cements itself as a beloved and renowned brand.”

Wanchong Chen, Robin Valley’s Managing Director, said: “We are ecstatic that River Capital believes in our mission to revolutionise jewellery sustainably. Their game-changing loan arrives at an ideal moment, allowing us to meet demand and spread our message and products to a global market.”

Debbie Sorby, Senior Manager, British Business Bank, said: “NPIF investment is crucial to support and enable enterprising companies like Robin Valley to scale up their ventures. With ambitious entrepreneurs like Wanchong Chen creating unique products and exciting new jobs opportunities within the local economy, we are one step closer to powering future economic growth across the region as a whole.”


Orbit Developments has welcomed internationally-acclaimed Coffee Lab to Manchester city centre, nestled within Colwyn Chambers, on the corner of York Street and Mosley Street.

Earning the prestigious title of “Best Coffee Chain in Southern Europe” at the 2023 European Coffee Awards, Coffee Lab is riding a wave of success. This new opening marks the fourth branch in the UK.

Zoe Stamataki, Director of MCR Piccadilly Coffee Lab, said “It is truly exciting to be able to offer our exceptional coffee and products from around the world. Our vision is to become a leading brand in the Third-Wave Coffee Movement and the quality of our products and services is our top priority. Colwyn Chambers is a fantastic building to host Coffee Lab, with significant history.”

Starting in Chalkida, Greece, Coffee Lab has grown and expanded throughout the world, being the first street coffee chain to implement the concept of third wave coffee. For those not familiar with the term, it’s a philosophy for true coffee enthusiasts, who appreciate the journey of their coffee, from the hands of farmers, through to the carefully-curated roasting and brewing processes.

Senior Retail Leasing Surveyor, Mark Hanna, said: “Orbit are thrilled to welcome this award winning brand to Colwyn Chambers. We consistently strive to improve the offer at our buildings and are confident that their dedication to quality and innovation will revolutionise the city’s coffee scene.”


Northenden Golf Club has been ordered to pay a significant fine for failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice against a mobile phone mast and diesel generator on the golf course. On February 28, the club was handed a £10,000 fine and ordered to pay a £2,500 contribution to the costs of court action.

A temporary mobile phone mast and generator was first erected at Northenden Golf Course in March 2018 using emergency development rights. The mast and generator should have been removed by September 2019, when the emergency rights ended. A subsequent planning application to retain the mast at the site for a further 12months was refused by the council.

A planning enforcement notice was issued to the golf club by Manchester City Council in July 2020 that ordered the club to switch off the generator and remove the mast by October 1, 2021. Council officers observed the generator still in operation and the mast still in place nearly six months after the deadline passed. At this point, the council began prosecution proceedings against the club for failing to comply with the planning enforcement notice.

The equipment itself was owned and operated by a mobile telecommunications company, which was previously handed a large fine for failing to comply with the planning notice. The mast and generator were finally removed in October 2022, three years after the emergency period expired and one year after the enforcement notice should have been complied with.

The golf club pleaded not guilty at a hearing at the Magistrates’ Court on 2 October 2023, and argued that they did not have physical control of the mast or generator and, therefore, were unable to comply with the enforcement notice. Although the judge agreed that the club did not have physical control of the mast and generator, they also had not done everything expected of them to ensure the notice was complied with. The judge found that the golf club, as landlord, did not instigate legal proceedings against the telecommunications company and found them guilty of not complying with the enforcement notice.


Sara Rajiah, Gwam Rajiah and Myles Rajiah

Greater Lancashire Hospital has pledged £100,000 to support the new Preston Youth Zone in transforming the lives and prospects of thousands of young people in the city. The Ribbleton hospital, which is based in Millennium City Park, has become a ‘Founder Patron’ of the purpose-built youth centre which is scheduled to open in 2025.

As a Founder Patron, Greater Lancashire Hospital has agreed to donate £25,000 per year towards the charity’s annual running costs from now until 2027. Gwam Rajiah, co-founder and executive chairman of Bespoke Healthcare Group, which runs Greater Lancashire Hospital, said: “We’re a Preston business run by a Lancashire family who wish to support the best future for every city resident.”

It is anticipated that Preston Youth Zone will support around 5,000 young people a year by providing them with an indoor climbing wall, four court sports hall, training kitchen, music room with a recording studio, and much more including an enterprise and employability suite.

Preston Youth Zone is being delivered by national youth charity, OnSide, in partnership with Preston City Council and Preston Town’s Fund Board and is being supported by a number of businesses and philanthropists.

Guy Topping, Preston Youth Zone chair, said: “Every penny of Greater Lancashire Hospital’s generous donation will directly benefit young people from Preston and beyond. Additionally, having the support of such a respected local business means an immense amount to us at this point in our journey.”


Stockport County FC has announced that two local, luxury Stratstone car showrooms have agreed a new sponsorship deal with the club which will run until June 2025. Porsche Centre Stockport and Porsche Centre Wilmslow will take over the naming rights of the club’s premium FK Lounge at Edgeley Park, which has now officially been rebranded as the Porsche Lounge.

Stuart Hunt, Centre Principal at Porsche Centre Stockport, said: “We are honoured to be entering into this partnership. We’re looking forward to establishing a great commercial relationship with the team and following their performance for the rest of the season.”

Samuel Mansfield, Centre Principal at Porsche Centre Wilmslow, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with fans and customers across the area on match days.”

Head of Commercial at Stockport County FC, Olivia Hanvey, said: “We are thrilled to have agreed this deal with such a reputable and influential brand, and to be able to welcome them into the County family. We feel that the values that Porsche strive for align with our own here at Stockport County, and we’re excited to see how this partnership can develop over the coming years.”