Category: Press

Tees Valley Mayor joins the region’s Water Babies to support Splashathon

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This summer around 1,000 babies from across the Tees Valley have taken to the water as part of a Splashathon fundraising campaign, organised by Water Babies Tees Valley.
 
The region’s children took to the pool to swim a ‘splashy width’ to raise an incredible £13k, and counting, for Tommy’s Charity, a national charity that funds research into premature births, still births and miscarriages, and provides pregnancy health information to parents.
 
Across the week around 1,000 babies and their parents, wearing their finest pirate outfits, took part across 150 classes.
 
Pamela Hargreaves, Managing Director of Water Babies Tees Valley, said: “It was a fantastic week, we’re over the moon and thrilled to have raised so much money in support of such a fantastic charity. We’ve still got a few more donations to come in too so I’m hoping we’ll be able to hit our £15k target by August.
 
“I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support from our parents and the amazing amount of effort they have all put into making their incredible pirate costumes, from Captain Jack Sparrow to Tinkerbell.”
 
Ben Houchen, the newly elected mayor of the Tees Valley, and wife Rachel came along to Priory Woods School to give their support to the parents and children taking part.
 
He said: “To raise such a huge amount of money is unbelievable but it is also extremely important that children and parents can come along to Water Babies classes and learn how to swim in a safe and secure environment.
 
“I got the chance to see children from only a few months old learn how to hold on to the side should they fall into water accidentally and how to move themselves along a ledge to get themselves to a place of safety. This isn’t just a fun class to take your child to on a morning – this saves lives.
 
“When I was younger I actually had quite a dangerous experience myself in the River Tees, it was before the Tees Barrage was there and we were fishing as a family. As we got up to leave, the ground just went underneath me and I fell into the water.
 
“Luckily my dad was only footsteps ahead and instantly came to my rescue, but to this day it still keeps my mum awake at night. Classes like this are invaluable and essential for all parents.”
 
With the school holidays now in full flow, scores of Tees Valley families will be looking to get out and about with their children.
 
Pamela commented: “With the hot weather children are more likely to want to go swimming, either at local pools or in open water sites. What Water Babies offers parents is peace of mind and the chance to bond with their children while they learn.”
 
Parents interested can find Water Babies in 11 pools across Tees Valley all the way from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton to Yarm, Stokesley and Redcar. They can also enrol in a summer school too.
 
Pamela said: “Every child should be able to swim and having these classes from such an early age, puts children so far ahead and gives them the vital life-saving skills from even just a few months old.
 
“Our youngest ever swimmer was only 10 days old, but the majority of babies start swimming with us at around three months until they are around four. It’s never too early or too late to start.”
 

Weschenfelder to enter German market after dramatic sales increase

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Sausage making specialist Weschenfelder’s has celebrated a 25% increase in online sales this year and has set its sights on the German sausage making market, thanks to Forrest Digital.

In a partnership that spans over 12 years, the digital marketing specialist has led to the the evolution of Weschenfelder’s web presence, undertaken ROI analysis and perfected an online marketing approach, that has helped the company sell to over 15 different countries from its base at Riverside Park in Middlesbrough.

Weschenfelder Direct sell sausage making equipment, casings and seasonings to individuals and businesses who want to make their own sausages.

Tim Weschenfelder, Director of Weschenfelder Direct said: “As our business has grown so has our partnership with Forrest Digital. When we first started working together we were selling around 30% of our products online, this has now dramatically increased to 70%.

“Countries we export to include France, Portugal and Spain with our latest target being king of the sausages, Germany.

“This would never have been within our reach without Forrest Digital, they have helped us build a professionally translated German site, complete with a strategic digital marketing campaign and incorporating data insights from the German market that will stand us in good stead next to our competitors.

“Every country is different and that’s why if you are going to export, you need to find an experienced digital consultant with knowledge of the preferences and behaviour of your target market. I never would have known that German customers are more cautious when paying online and less likely to use credit cards and that small changes like implementing a PayPal or a debit card payment system would give potential customers that extra confidence to shop with us.”

The German ecommerce market is growing rapidly and was worth over 66 billion euros in 2016, an increase of seven billion euros since 2015. Over half of internet users in Germany have bought a product from a foreign country.

Iain Forrest, Managing Director of Forrest Digital, said: “Tim came to us back in 2005 after using another digital marketing company he was not completely happy with.

“As one of our long-term clients Weschenfelder has truly reaped the benefits of a partnership that has seen us working together to build an online presence and content that is market leading. Together we’ve created one of the most trusted sites in this market and Weschenfelder is now a go-to destination for businesses and individuals seeking advice about these types of products.

A long-term relationship like this really enables clients to leverage the working partnership we have with internet-giant Google, which allows us to test and trial new services, keeping them a step ahead of their competitors.

“Achieving success in the German sausage market is ambitious but very achievable as far as we’re concerned. When we were looking at site statistics we noticed already a large number of visitors were from Germany. When we discussed this with Tim, it turns out it was something he’d been thinking about for a while and was keen to develop.

“We use a professional translator for all our German AdWords, SEO and site content, in order that the right colloquial language is used throughout, with none of the bad grammar or comical translation errors that come as part and parcel of automatic translation services and which instantly put a potential customer off.”

Tim concluded: “My grandfather Ludwig Weschenfelder emigrated from Bavaria to Middlesbrough in 1895 to work as a butcher’s apprentice and from there grew Weschenfelder. Hopefully we can now come full circle and start selling our products back to the German market.”

Total Recycling Services makes further progress towards its 2020 Vision

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Waste management firm Total Recycling Services, has celebrated a turnover of £15m, with hopes to increase its employees in the next six months.

Currently collecting over 100,000 tonnes of recyclable waste annually, Total Recycling Services is striving to double turnover to £30m as part of its 2020 vision.

The plan includes the further acquisition of a site, allowing the company to expand on its already successful areas of the business, which includes commercial recycling, hazardous waste recovery and industrial services.

Alex Foreman, Founder and Managing Director at Total Recycling Services said: “Over the past eight years Total Recycling Services has grown from strength to strength, alongside building up a large portfolio of high profile clients in the North East, including Caterpillar, TRW Systems and Aldi.

“The region is currently going through a period of growth and we are delighted to be growing with it. We have already embraced the increase in demand through our newly established industrial cleaning services division, which resulted in the creation of 3 new jobs.

“We believe the current market condition is promising and overall I feel very confident. Looking at it, we feel it’s the right time for an acquisition as the market is strong and robust.“

Total Recycling Services received further support towards achieving their 2020 turnover goals when they received backing from the Business Growth Fund in the form of a £6.7m growth capital investment in August 2015.

Ross Smith, Total Recycling Services Non-Executive Chairman said:

“In a short space of time, Total Recycling Services has developed into a profitable business with solid roots in the North East and I am confident the business will continue to move forward and achieve its ambitious target.

The Business Growth Fund was delighted to provide Total Recycling Services with financial support because of its strong management team and clear plans for the businesses future. The companies ambition and drive is admirable and they set a brilliant example to other SME’s in the region.”

Total Recycling Services currently manages a 30+ strong fleet of vehicles, operates from 2 custom-built sites both within Darlington.

Publicity Seekers scrum together with local rugby lad

Adam Ainley with Sam Lee (left) and Alice Midgley (right).

Publicity Seekers is delighted to sponsor Adam Ainley, from Hartlepool Rugby Club, for the 2017/18 season.

Adam, who is from Newcastle, has played for Hartlepool RFC for five years, previously being first team captain at Gosforth RFC and playing for Blaydon RFC in National League One.

The player made his decision to come to Hartlepool after settling down with his partner and securing a job as a PE teacher.

Adam, said: “Every year it’s tough to get sponsored and after asking round at work one of my colleagues got in touch with Samantha Lee at Publicity Seekers.

“I was delighted when they agreed, not only because it allows me to continue playing the sport I love but it strengthens the clubs’ community project of trying to create solid links between the club, the public and local businesses.”

Hartlepool RFC’s community project includes the hosting of a series of events aiming to continue building the relationship of the club with the people of Hartlepool.

A previous event saw the club play host to Neil Back, the Rugby World Cup winner who visited Hartlepool for a talk and meet and greet with rugby fans in the community.

Adam, added: “The three pillars of the project are Teamwork, Friendship and Respect. Things that everyone should hold dear whether they are part of a sports team, or in the workplace.”

Samantha Lee, Managing Director of Publicity Seekers, said: “It’s vital for local businesses to be continually giving back and at Publicity Seekers we support a selection of sports clubs and local charities every year.

“Supporting Adam was an absolute no brainer, he’s a lovely lad and is passionate about Hartlepool and the community initiatives linked with the club.

“From all of Publicity Seekers we wish Adam good luck in the new season and will be cheering him on all the way.”

Hartlepool RFC currently play in the Durham and Northumberland two league after being relegated by just one point last season. The club will begin its season against Sunderland on 2nd September.

To follow the progress of Hartlepool RFC or for more information about the club, click here.

Gaming convention at Hartlepool College raises £660 for Changing Futures

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CHANGING FUTURES NORTH EAST continued its successful partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education for the third consecutive year with the award-winning gaming event, GameCon.

GameCon has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2015, and won ‘North East Youth Project’ last year at the The PoSBOs (Positive Social Behaviour Order) awards. The 2017 installment of the event raised an amazing £662 for the Hartlepool charity, which has been the benefactor of GameCon for the past three years in recognition for its work with young people, and their families across the region.

Celebrating all things related to video games, GameCon brings together people of all ages to play a wide range of classic game releases from a variety of gaming consoles including PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo.

The event ran for three days from May 31 to June 2 in the conference centre of Hartlepool College, with activities including retro and current gaming stations, a local-area network (LAN) café for gamers to compete aganst each other and even an indoor drone racing circuit.

Jess Watson, community and volunteer organiser at Changing Futures North East, said: “The whole event has exceeded our expectations. We’re very grateful for all those at the college involved with GameCon, this has further strengthened our working relationship. It’s been really nice to see the students lead on the event.

“We’ve had such a large number of people attending the event come to our stall and express an interest in volunteering. Because of this, I’ve been able to have conversations with lots of students about the process of helping out with our services and what they need to do next.

“An event like GameCon really lets people learn about our services and what we do. It also makes them confident to approach us for help, especially if they see a member of our team ready to answer any questions that they may have.

A number of gaming competitions and tournaments were contested throughout the three days, as well as a live-streaming Twitch broadcast of the event by Twitch user Kakkakarrot94.

The event was attended by 365 people including a number of popular YouTube personalities inlcuding The Game Booth and The Kryl.

 

Healthy working relationship

Changing Futures North East has worked extensively with Hartlepool College to provide support and guidance for students and their families.

This working relationship has led to many students volunteering as mentors for the charity, providing an opportunity to develop their leadership and social skills.

Mark Lee, IAG Team Leader at Hartlepool College and GameCon Organiser, said: “The services of Changing Futures North East really stood out to our students because their mission is to help young people, which is a similar ethos shared by the Hartlepool College community.”

“Changing Futures North East has been amazing with their input for GameCon this year, their team attended our weekly meetings with college ambassadors which really gave our students an opportunity to find out more about their charity and sign up as potential volunteers.”

“The college has worked really hard with the charity to put together an event that brings together local businesses to promote strong positive messages about the Hartlepool community.”

Charity helps hospital open haven for chemo families

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A MUSIC charity has helped to open up a family room at the University Hospital of Hartlepool’s chemotherapy ward in memory of a devoted father who lost his battle with cancer last year.

Andy Brown, who was an avid supporter of Music v Cancer and who supported the numerous music events the charity organises, was cared for at University Hospital of Hartlepool.

The 51-year-old technology consultant from Hartlepool, left behind daughter Kate and partner Natalie when he passed away in July last year after a battle with bowel cancer.

But his memory will live on thanks to MvC founder and good friend Tony Larkin who has named the room in his memory.

Pam Hauxwell, former nurse on the chemotherapy ward, who helped treat Andy when he was ill, said: “He was a lovely man. I hope this room can help more people in Andy’s honour.”

Tony Larkin, founder of the charity and who was also diagnosed with bowel cancer, started the organisation after he was given the all clear in 2010.

Tony said: “We thought the best way to recognise Andy’s efforts and what he’s done for the charity was to come up with a project that could be done in his memory.

“The family room project came about when Rosie Livingston from Hartlepool Hospital got in touch, outlining that the current facilities they have for patients to sit and relax with their family was very cramped and small.

“The refurbishment took three months to complete and cost just over £8,000, all of which came directly from the Music v Cancer gig in October 2016, which was held in memory of Andy.”

Rosie Livingston, Deputy Unit Matron on the Chemotherapy Ward at the hospital said: “It’s such a brilliant project. Mainly because everything in the room itself was donated from families affected by cancer as well as from large companies such as Tesco.

“Things like this are important because more and more young people and their parents are coming into the ward and my hope is that this room can offer them the space for respite and privacy that they need.”

Steve Hall, Non-Executive Director of the Trust Board for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation, said: “What a great facility to have to celebrate the memory of Andy.

“Everyone that uses this room will be able to remember him as well, they’ll know him from the picture on the wall, and for that we thank Tony.

“Also, thanks to Rosie and her team on the chemotherapy ward in particular, we have a fantastic set of caring, passionate professionals and now we also have a great place that patients can use to make their experience here at the hospital even better.”

Michelle Holmes, Chemotherapy Unit Matron said: “The new family room is fantastic as it provides patients on the ward with a place they can go for a bit of time out.

“Treatment rooms can get very hectic and crowded and on tough days when patients need somewhere to escape to, even if it’s just for a few minutes, the room will provide a quiet place for them to sit, have a cup of tea, and relax.

“These small things make such a difference during a patient’s treatment.”

Margaret Brown, mother of Andy said: “Andy used to always say how amazing the staff were here on the ward. He had nothing but praise for Rosie and her team and would come home from the hospital uplifted.

“Seeing this room all finished is brilliant and as Andy had all of his treatment here at Hartlepool, it will be somewhere that his family can come to remember him, and as a place patients can relax with their families.

“A big thank you needs to go to Tony as well, as without him this project would never have been able to happen.”

Music v Cancer is a not-for-profit charity and has held 23 live music events to date and has raised £203,000, which goes towards cancer detection equipment for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trusts.

Music v Cancer celebrates fundraising success after music weekender

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SOME of the UK’s most exciting new live artists came together to showcase at the renowned Music v Cancer Weekender.

Exciting young four-piece Skinny Living headlined the Friday night at The Grand Hotel, while British/Trinidadian singer-songwriter Z-STAR rocked the top slot on Saturday night.

The twice annual Weekenders have become renowned on the music circuit with previous acts such as Jack Savoretti, The Magic Numbers, The Blow Monkeys and Turin Brakes lining up to play this intimate and magical gig.

And in the process of wowing Teesside audiences they have raised over £8,000 to buy cancer detection equipment for local hospitals.

Ryan Johnston, Skinny Living’s lead singer, said: “We have spent a lot of time in the studio recording lately so had not played live for a few months and I was quite nervous going on to be honest. But I could not have enjoyed myself any more than I did on that stage. For an intimate gig the crowd blows you away, they listen so intently and then the next minute they’re up dancing with you! An audience like that is quite hard to come by.”

The weekend played host to an array of musical talent including performances from Paul Liddell, Joe Dunwell and wild LA keys man Leo Napier. Both nights showcased a range of set styles.

Guitarist Robbie Cavanagh, supported by backing vocals from Lizzie Brandon and Rick Brewin, kick started the Friday night with an intimate acoustic set.

Robbie said: “From the moment we were contacted about attending the event we were treated so nicely, and on arriving everyone has been so friendly and so warm hearted. Performing on stage was amazing and we had a really lovely audience, we were given a lot of attention and it really felt like people wanted to listen.”

Alongside the musical line-up, the charity held a music memorabilia auction, offering items including an electric guitar signed by the band Kasabian and an acoustic guitar signed by David Gray, to the highest bidder.

Music v Cancer was founded in 2010 by Tony Larkin, after he received the all-clear from Bowel Cancer. The not-for-profit charity has held 25 live music events to date and, including the funds raised at the last event, have risen over £210,000.

Tony said: “These events are always hard work to organise because we always want to get them exactly right. But it is worth it when we have such amazing feedback from artists and people in the music businesses are talking about what a fantastic night they have up here.

“I can only say thanks once again to everyone from the sponsors and audience to the volunteers and artists. Music v Cancer has a brilliant reputation for a great night!”

Hartlepool College are rated good with ‘outstanding’ features

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HARTLEPOOL COLLEGE has been awarded an overall good grade with a further two ‘outstanding’ grades by OFSTED as the college continues to demonstrate its successes across all of its provision.

An ‘outstanding’ grade in apprenticeships demonstrates once again why the college is the second best performing college in the country and the top performing in the North East for apprenticeship achievement.

OFSTED has also awarded the College an ‘outstanding’ rating for the personal development, behaviour and welfare of its students stating the students at the college “demonstrate very positive attitudes to their studies, take pride in their work, and produce work of a high standard.”

Darren Hankey, Principal of Hartlepool College, said: “We’re delighted with the outcome from our recent OFSTED inspection and in particular the two ‘outstanding’ judgements. Hartlepool College has a long and well-established history of providing high quality vocational education across all levels and sectors. Our achievement rate is one of the best in the country and our employer feedback is extremely positive.”

The report goes onto comment, ‘as a result of well-planned teaching and learning activities, learners develop good practical and technical skills that prepare them very well for employment or apprenticeships.’

Darren added, “We do not achieve these successes in isolation. In particular, the ‘outstanding’ apprenticeship grade is a result of the collaboration with the many high-quality employer partnerships we are grateful to have. It is thanks to those that we continue to offer outstanding opportunities for apprentices.”

After being awarded an overall ‘good,’ the report goes onto mention the quality of teaching

and learning at the College, acknowledging the resources to support teaching as ‘outstanding’ and commending the staff as being ‘highly qualified teachers’ that use ‘’their up-to-date vocational experience well to help learners to link theory to practice.’

Darren added, “The staff at the College have quite rightly been recognised as excellent throughout the report and in particular for their dedication and passion toward developing all learners to their maximum potential.”

The OFSTED reported leadership and management as being “highly effective in creating a college that includes and supports all learners from a wide range of backgrounds; behavior is good and learners respect each other’s differences.”

To find out more and read the full report go to www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk

England footballers thank Hartlepool College of FE after international cup victory

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HARTLEPOOL College of Further Education is celebrating triple sporting success.

Two of its footballers were instrumental in leading England to victory in the Centenary Shield against the Home Nations. One captaining the team while the other scored the winning goal.

The College’s Head of Football Ian Clark was awarded his UEFA A Licence this month while hot shot golfer Cameron Wallace was named AoC National Golf Champion.

Shahban Mohammed, 17, who is studying engineering at Hartlepool College of Further Education and Connor Short, 17, who is studying a BTEC in Sport both represented England Under-18s at the competition which is organised by the Schools Association Football International Board.

Both Shahban and Connor play for the College football team in Division One of the English Colleges Football Association North East League as well as playing for Stockton Town and Marske United respectively.

In order to win the tournament, England had to beat Wales by 5 goals in their 5-2 match after a heart-breaking defeat to Northern Ireland previously.

Shahban, who was Captain of the winning England squad, said: “I’ve been playing football since I was ten years old and I’ve always wanted to be a footballer.

“My family has supported me throughout and it was my brother who sang the praises of the College. He came here before me and persuaded me that the facilities here were brilliant for someone like me.

“The staff at the College have helped me a lot. Especially Tommy Miller, Danny Maddison, and Ian Clark, who nominated me for a position in the England squad and helped me through my trials.”

Both players list Clark, former player for Hartlepool and now the Head Coach at the Colleges academy, as the greatest influence for them.

Shahban, said: “The facilities the College has such as the ice-baths, free massages and gym membership along with Ian’s coaching and mentoring really worked hard to develop me and my skills, his encouragement has definitely made me into a better player.”

Connor, who scored the goal against Wales which won England the tournament overall on goal difference, said: “Ian has helped me to develop new skills and techniques as a player. By being at the college it’s opened up opportunities as well.

“Recently we got to visit the Etihad Stadium and we had a training session at the Aon Training Complex, which is Manchester United’s training ground. It’s just been amazing”

Shahban, added: “Winning the Centenary Shield was an amazing feeling and we’ve been getting congratulations from all of the staff at the college and students too.

“None of it would have been possible without the help of the College and I definitely encourage any young people looking to do sport alongside a career to sign up. I do an engineering course but because of my involvement with the football team I’m given free access to all of the facilities and amenities available and it really does help.”

To find out more about what opportunities Hartlepool College of Further Education has to offer, head to its website at http://www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk

Award winning estate agent: ‘the housing market in Middlesbrough could soon be strongest it’s ever been.’

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AWARD-WINNING estate agency Harvey Brooks believes the housing market in Middlesbrough has the potential to be the strongest it’s ever been.

David Abrook and Harvey Abrook, father and son directors of Harvey Brooks estate agency believe that now is the time to buy and sell in Middlesbrough.

David, said: “The pipeline is the strongest it has ever been which tells us that the market is continuing to grow quite strongly and houses are being sold.

“Rather than just the spring and summer boom we are seeing houses selling all year round.

“The market in Teesside is improving a lot at the moment. This is mainly because of the change in availability of mortgages.

“Add that to the better rates people are seeing on these mortgages, meaning that most mortgage payments in the area are equal to or lower than rent.”

Harvey Brooks was recently crowned the Gold Winner for Middlesbrough at this year’s British Property Awards. Earning the opportunity to represent the town at the regional finals later this year.

Harvey said: “It’s good to be recognised for the hard work and determination we all show every day.

“We believe we won because of the consistent service we give to our customers. We’re a team who are tight knit we regularly operate outside of business hours if that’s what our customers require.

“We live within the heart of the area we cover and would often go the extra mile to visit clients at times that suited them, which were often out of office hours.

“It’s not unusual for us to receive a call on a Saturday for a viewing and within the hour we’ve set it up and are there for our customers.”

Family history

Harvey Brooks started life in 2008 when David and Harvey took on a small office and rebranded.

David previously spent 28 years as an Independent Financial Advisor while Harvey studied Business at Middlesbrough College

Harvey said: “It couldn’t have been a worse time to start up in the industry really, with the state of the housing market at the time and the recession taking hold of the country. Since then prices have been slowly creeping back alongside the retail price index.”

David said: “In our time we’ve really stuck to our traditional roots as a bespoke agent that offers a personalised service to each and every customer.

“As much as we have adapted to the advances in technology and online selling, it is always backed up by our face to face service. Which is what we believe sets us apart.”

Harvey Brooks covers the TS7, TS8, TS5 and TS6 areas and are located in Marton. For more information, head to http://www.harveybrooks.com or call 01642 506 800.