NW briefs: Carlisle Utd FC; Weightmans; Fresh Start Waste Services; Preston City Council; Airframe Designs; R&B Switchgear

Andrew Proud, centre, of Aqua Pura, and new kit

Carlisle United FC has revealed its new kit for the 2024-25 season and Cumbrian natural mineral water brand Aqua Pura as its shirt sponsor.

Produced by Manchester-based Umbro the kits went on sale this week. The home shirt was inspired by the kit worn during the 1974/75 season in the top flight, and former-players Tom Clarke, Les O’Neill, Bobby Owen and Ray Train were invited to Brunton Park to take part in the kit launch photos.

Aqua Pura, owned by Roxane UK, employs more than 100 local people at its Armathwaite bottling plant, many of whom are enthusiastic and dedicated supporters of Carlisle United. The natural mineral water brand has been the team’s short sponsor for the past three years and it will continue to be the Official Water Supplier for the team.

Aqua Pura marketing manager, Terri Cooper, said: “We’re so proud of Carlisle United that we put our name on it. We’re chuffed to extend our support of Carlisle United by becoming next season’s official shirt sponsor. Our Eden Valley colleagues and their families are passionate fans of the team and regularly attend matches to cheer them on, which they’ll now do with added enthusiasm.”

Carlisle United Chief Executive, Nigel Clibbens, said: “Aqua Pura and Roxane are investing in our region and its people and supporting us along the way which is terrific. Seeing Aqua Pura grace our shirts as the team and fans travel the UK will be superb. We can’t wait to unveil the kit.”

In addition to the shirt sponsorship, Aqua Pura will has branded signage at Brunton Park as well as supporting the sponsorship with shirt giveaways on its socials.


Simon Goacher

Liverpool-based national law firm, Weightmans, has been reappointed to the NEPO legal services framework, worth an estimated £100m over four years.

Weightmans was first appointed to the NEPO framework in 2019, and since then has worked with member authorities on various legal projects as diverse as construction projects, employment, litigation, governance and adult social care and major infrastructure and regeneration construction projects.

Weightmans’ work on the panel will be led by partner and head of local government, Simon Goacher, alongside Newcastle-based partner in construction and engineering, Alan Ross. Simon Goacher, said: “The appointment is further proof of our ability to support public authorities across a full range of legal areas on which they need support. It recognises the growing importance of our Newcastle office and strength in the North East and our position as a market leader in advising local authorities.”

Alan Ross, partner, said: “Once again, this acknowledges Weightmans’ reputation as a leading supplier of legal services to the public sector. I look forward to continuing to utilise the strength and experience of our national public sector Major Projects Team, to assist clients on a variety of regionally significant projects, such as the Sunderland Eye Hospital.”

Established in 1976, NEPO undertakes high value procurement in major strategic areas of spend in conjunction with North East local authorities and a range of associate members. The contract is due to run until June 2, 2028.


In an ambitious move towards sustainability, Manchester-based Fresh Start Waste Services is making strides to decarbonise the North West by introducing recycled bin containers, supplied by ESE World. This initiative is a part of the organisation’s ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmentally responsible waste management practices.

Following the successful appointment of Fresh Start Waste Services by Manchester-based property group Bruntwood and Bruntwood SciTech, the carbon-conscious waste management company embarked on a trial to deploy 800 recycled bin containers at Bruntwood sites across the North West, with the potential for further expansion as time goes on.

The environmental impact of this initiative is significant when comparing the carbon footprint of bins made from virgin materials to those made from recycled materials. Specifically, bins made from 100% virgin materials generate approximately 140.37 kg of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per bin manufactured and delivered. In contrast, the recycled containers, made with 80% recycled materials, produce only 108.83 kg of CO2e per bin manufactured and delivered. This results in a substantial saving of 31.54 kg of CO2e per bin, translating to a 22.5% reduction in carbon emissions.

Ben Entwistle, Head of Operations at Fresh Start Waste Services, said: “Reducing our carbon impact through every element of our operations is central to our ethos at Fresh Start. The introduction of recycled bins is a natural extension of our commitment to sustainability and reducing our environmental footprint.”

A critical factor in the success of this initiative has been the partnership with ESE World. Peter Vernon, Managing Director for ESE World, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Fresh Waste in their innovative project to deploy 800 recycled containers across Bruntwood and Bruntwood SciTech sites. This initiative reflects the growing interest in sustainable waste solutions and marks a notable step towards a circular economy. We look forward to our continued collaboration.”


CGI of potential designs

Preston City Council has given the green light for the refurbishment of the nine iconic red phone boxes on Market Street in the city.

Situated outside the former post office building, the phone boxes were acquired by the city council in 2021 and in December 2023 an application was submitted for Listed Building Consent for their refurbishment. Originally designed by British architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1932 to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Coronation of King George V in 1935, the cast iron kiosks are the longest line of red telephone boxes in the UK and are Grade II-listed.

This project forms part of the wider Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme which was awarded £20.9m from the Government’s national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021. The council will now undertake the necessary restoration works to enable the phone boxes to be utilised for creative installations to complement vibrancy of the Harris Quarter, working in partnership with local artists.

John Bridge, from Studio John Bridge Architects, has provided architectural drawings for the phone boxes which informed the application for Listed Building Consent. He said: “As a proud Prestonian myself, I am passionate about the city’s cultural heritage and it will be great to see them brought back to life and safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.”

Chris Hayward, Director of Development and Housing at Preston City Council, said: “The red telephone boxes are very special to the city and are an iconic and unique piece of the city’s history. We are in a fortunate position to finally be able to restore them sympathetically and we hope to have some wonderful new uses for them in the near future, working with local businesses and the creative arts.”


Apprentices Bailey Black, Louis Prescott, James Hodgkiss

Lancashire aerospace specialist, Airframe Designs, is working in partnership with Blackpool and Fylde College to ensure its manufacturing engineering programme is relevant to meet the demands of today’s challenging industry requirements.

The company has been awarded Platinum Partner status by the college for its work in helping to shape its current BEng (Hons) Manufacturing Engineering programme. The initiative has also helped Airframe Designs recruit apprentices for its own design, stress and manufacturing teams with five apprentices working for the company currently.

Chris Fleet, design manager at Airframe Designs, said: “Nurturing talent is one of our core values and our partnership with the college enables us to help young people learn the most relevant skills for today’s demanding marketplace. We have recently taken two apprentices ourselves from the BTEC course and then worked with them on the degree course to further their skills development.”

The partnership between Airframe Designs and the college has also resulted in the introduction of a craft appreciation course that complements the degree course and helps young apprentice designers when designing detailed engineering parts and assemblies. The course at the college covers core engineering principles including manufacturing processes, management, sustainability and business improvement techniques with specific application to today’s engineering sectors.

Michael Smith, Commercial Training Manager Blackpool and Fylde College, said: “I’d like to thank the Airframe Designs team for their continued support and engagement with us. They have added real-life scenarios and skills into our course which are invaluable for our students.”


R&B field service team

North West water giant, United Utilities, has appointed Heywood-based R&B Switchgear Group (R&B) to undertake the service and maintenance of its electrical power systems at more than 600 of its dedicated water treatment sites.

The three-year contract will see R&B charged with delivering preventative maintenance checks, routine repairs and equipment upgrades at 575 wastewater sites and 96 water treatment locations across the region.

R&B was awarded the contract following a competitive tender process where it demonstrated expansive utilities experience, achieving the highest scores against the technical submission criteria. R&B’s dedicated team will now manage the service and maintenance of United Utilities’ power distribution network, including HV & LV switchgear, transformers, protection and control systems, as well as providing any necessary cabling and equipment upgrades.

Mark Beswick R&B Switchgear Group Managing Director, said: “As a North West business, it is a privilege to know that we are supporting a critical industry which serves our broader community. We have over 20 years’ experience supporting the water industry and our team are fully adapt to thinking on their feet and responding to the ever changing requirements which come with unpredictable weather conditions and environmental factors.”

For more than 20 years R&B Switchgear Group has provided specialist maintenance and emergency support for Scottish Water’s LV and HV circuit breakers, protection relays, motor starters, batteries and transformers. This latest contract comes as the company celebrates a significant period of growth, winning projects with household names such as the NHS, Scottish Water, National Grid, and EDF Energy.