NW business briefs: Plus Dane; Connolly Scaffolding; DWF; Qumulus; Borrowdale Gates Hotel; Liverpool Pride Quarter; Sovini

Plus Dane chiefs and Dame Colette Bowe

Liverpool-based housing provider, Plus Dane, welcomed Dame Colette Bowe to the city recently to discuss the UK housing market, with particular focus on social, supported and affordable homes.

Colette Bowe is a member of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee which identifies, monitors and takes action to remove or reduce systemic risks with a view to protecting and enhancing the resilience of the UK financial system. The meeting was scheduled with Plus Dane and local partners to help provide an in-depth understanding of latest developments in the housing market.

In the meeting, Plus Dane shared intelligence covering key activity, issues and trends over the past 12 months from the perspective of Plus Dane as an employer, house builder, social housing and a service provider. The discussion also looked at the wider housing market, demand and financing conditions and other issues that impact Plus Dane’s investment plans and the direction of our recently published corporate plan.

Dame Colette Bowe said: “The Financial Policy Committee plays an important role in the protection and resilience of our economy. It is, therefore, vital that we visit and speak to businesses and communities across the country to understand exactly what is happening. We need to have in-depth knowledge of financial stability, the risks and opportunities for growth. I’d like to thank Plus Dane for their warm welcome and sharing key information that will help us gain a better understanding of developments in the housing market.”

Ian Reed, Plus Dane Housing CEO, said: “We have recently launched our three-year corporate plan with a new vision Quality Homes, Great Service and Vibrant Communities against a backdrop of a particularly challenging operating environment.

“Meeting Dame Colette Bowe to share our experiences, concerns and future risks and opportunities has come at an ideal time to provide some useful insight for the Financial Policy Committee about the sector and its ability to contribute to the country’s prosperity.”


Eccles-based Connolly Scaffolding has secured a £1m+ contract for scaffolding the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

Paul Turner, of Connolly Scaffolding, said: “We were heavily involved from the planning stage of this project due to the complexity and intricacy of the access required to complete the works. The primary concern for access on the scheme is the wind loads applied to the scaffolding used on the chains. Due to the location and height of the bridge and the open expanse surrounding the structure, it is often subjected to high winds and adverse weather.

“Because of this, a strategy had to be formulated to enable the works to be carried out safely, without increasing the surface area of the chains to a degree that would adversely affect the structure itself. This is something we thrive on and enjoy being involved with schemes that require out-of-the-box thinking and bespoke methodology to get the job done.”

With this in mind, the company introduced a series of stand-alone scaffold cells that can be interlinked with subsequent cells to provide access around the circumference of the chain. Each cell will remain in place until works are completed on that section of the chain and once completed, the cell is dismantled and relocated to the subsequent section of chain requiring access.

As the cells are dismantled, an access walkway remains in place to enable operatives to access the cells, no matter where they are located on the chain. Once completed, the walkway will span the entirety of the chain for inspection and quality control purposes. Mr Turner said the contract will last approximately 12 months.


Hilary Ross

DWF, the Manchester-based global provider of integrated legal and business services, has been reappointed to BT Group’s legal panel, marking another milestone in its partnership with the multinational telecommunications company.

The legal panel will be in place for the next three years and is comprised of 11 firms – a reduction from the previous 15. DWF and the other 10 firms will now be able to bid for all of BT Group’s external legal work moving forward.

UK & Ireland regional managing partner at DWF, Hilary Ross, said: “We’re thrilled to be reappointed to BT Group’s legal panel and to be given this opportunity to continue supporting such a valued client. Over the last five years we have worked closely with BT Group and supported them on a wide range of interesting projects.

“Most importantly, we value BT Group’s culture and desire to connect for good. We are particularly proud to have partnered with them on a unique joint traineeship programme in Northern Ireland, designed to break down barriers, promote social mobility and foster inclusivity in the legal profession.”

Sabine Chalmers, General Counsel, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Company Secretary for BT Group, said: “The firms selected for our next Legal Panel underwent a rigorous selection process, during which they provided clear evidence of best-in-class capabilities across a wide range of fields.”


Daniel Niasoff

Qumulus, a fixed cost subscription-based private cloud company, has been awarded £350,000 from the Government in Innovate UK Smart Grant funding which will enable the firm to boost its headcount and scale its offering globally.

Qumulus is based at Salford Innovation Forum and was founded by Daniel Niasoff. He said: “Gaining this funding is not easy. It’s been two years in the making to get Qumulus to this stage and we’re very pleased and excited to now be embarking on the next stage of our journey.”

The company currently has five team members made up of senior developers and DevOps engineers. Five additional hires are now expected to be made with new staff to enable further growth and scale. It comes as the private cloud services market is poised for remarkable growth, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 26.71% between 2022 and 2027, projecting a $276.36bn increase in market size.

Daniel said: “What nobody’s doing currently is creating a commodity-based private cloud that’s aimed towards the grassroots. What we have developed is typically around five times cheaper, faster and easier to use. We’re doing a low cost commodity, easy to use private cloud-based subscription model that’s aimed towards developers, and we believe it’s going to solve problems for people. It’s a public cloud experience, but on your own private cloud.”

David Levine, Principal of Manchester Angels, said: “We are here to support Qumulus and Daniel as we have full belief in the solution and quality that they are now bringing to the market. We’ve supported Qumulus for 12 months now and we are proud that Daniel and his team have reached a stage that is full of opportunity.”


The Borrowdale Gates Hotel in the Lake District has completed a seven-figure refurbishment which included refreshing all of its central areas plus all 32 rooms and suites. The transformation was undertaken by the Borrowdale Gates Hotel team alongside hotel management company, Providence Hotels.

The four silver star retreat, which also has two AA Rosettes for its restaurant, is located in the jaws of the Borrowdale Valley in the picturesque tourist area. It remained open throughout the works, which were completed in phases and managed by management company, Providence Hotels

Originally a magnificent private residence, the Borrowdale Gates opened as an hotel in 1866 and maintains the homely atmosphere of a genuine country house. Carefully modernised, it has a fresh and airy look inspired by its outdoors environment that, it says, is welcoming rather than over-designed. The country house hotel offers various rooms, including Classic, Deluxe and Superior rooms as well as Deluxe Family Rooms which feature a convenient layout for families with a twin-bedded room alongside a double-bedded room.

General manager, Sue Willan, said: “From the outset, our goal was to create a small slice of understated luxury that reflects the stunning natural backdrop of the Lake District, and complements the superb, locally sourced menu in our restaurant and the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere our team creates for guests during their stay.”

Dagmar Jungbauer, Director of Operations at Providence Hotels, said: “Maintaining operations while undergoing the refurbishment was no small feat, but we wanted to ensure guests could still enjoy the comfort and hospitality they’ve come to expect from the Borrowdale Gates Hotel.”


Liverpool’s Pride Quarter has welcomed new measures to improve safety, including a branded ‘Rainbow Taxi Rank’, improved signage and CCTV.

Merseyside Police, working with LCR Pride Foundation and Liverpool City Council, have introduced a number of new interventions in the city’s Pride Quarter to support safety during the day and night time economy. It comes after Liverpool recently secured the prestigious Purple Flag status for a 14th successive year.

The programme of work will introduce the UK’s first ever designated ‘Rainbow Taxi Rank’ to the heart of the Pride Quarter. Bespoke signage featuring LGBT+ inclusive symbols will also be displayed on bins and lampposts while additional upgrades will be made to the area’s CCTV network and lighting. The initiative is complemented by increased engagement with the community and delivery partners as well as dedicated policing presence in the night time economy.

Sergeant Craig Winstanley, from Merseyside Police, said: “We want residents and visitors to Liverpool’s vibrant Pride Quarter to feel safe at all times, so we are proud to be working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and LCR Pride Foundation to implement these new measures. Following a successful funding bid, the new taxi rank and safety measures will support the city’s day and night-time economy and play a part in making the area a safer and more welcoming place for everyone.”

Andi Herring, CEO of LCR Pride Foundation, said: “The Pride Quarter is a safe place for our region’s LGBT+ community and allies and it’s vital that people can feel that sense of security when visiting or passing through the area. Preventing serious crime, violence and, in particular, where these are motivated by hate, is something that must be prioritised in areas where people may feel vulnerable at night. Working alongside Merseyside Police this scheme is just the latest initiative that sends a clear message we take this seriously in our region.”


Sovini Trade Supplies, part of the Liverpool-based Sovini Group, has sponsored children’s football club, MSB Fire under 14s team, which is part of MSB Woolton FC.

The team is primarily based in South Liverpool, but also plays across the city. The grassroots football club currently has more than 160 teams ranging from under six, up to adult teams.

Sovini Trade Supplies is an independent North West builders’ merchants supplying goods to the repairs and maintenance, newbuild and general construction sectors. It provides bespoke managed stores and capital investment services to several key social housing clients along with a full merchant offer to support newbuild and the wider construction industry.

Alan Evans, Director of Operations for Sovini Trade Supplies, said: “We are pleased to be sponsoring the under 14’s team, allowing them to provide brand new kits for their players. Our commitment to supporting grassroots football is driven by our vision to create a better future as we continue to promote positive health and wellbeing for our colleagues, customers, and communities.”

Chris Leahy, MSB Fire Head Coach, said: “We are very grateful that Sovini Trade Supplies are supporting our club. This sponsorship will go a long way towards the cost of a new kit for the under 14’s team. At present, we have 17 children in the team, and we plan to progress them right through into the U17/18 adult team. We’re looking forward to our upcoming cup competitions with the team wearing their new kits.”