Category: Press

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.

The next level for Cibes UK

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INTERNATIONAL lift specialist Cibes UK is taking its operations to the next level making a series of key appointments and setting its national targets for 2017.

Dean Burrows, the former Director of the Cibes UK acquired business Platform Lift Solutions, has been announced as Managing Director of the UK group. Whilst Jason King, formally Access 4 All, has been announced as Operations Director and Gary Sullivan Sales and Marketing Director.

The group is working towards a turnover of £6m by the end of year, on top of recruiting a further six full-time employees, bringing the total workforce to 26, excluding external contractors.

Dean said: “This is an ambitious target, but one we’ve strategically planned for and actively working towards.

“In the first quarter of this year we are focussing our efforts on bringing the two companies, Platform Lift Solutions and Access 4 All, together to regulate our internal processes and ensure there is synergy between both offices whilst moving forward.

Cibes have actually been here in the UK for nearly 20 years as a lift manufacturer supplying its products through a handful of smaller distributors and latterly through its wholly owned subsidiary Axess 4 All. Now is the time for us to move forward, show

our combined capabilities and work towards becoming the go-to name in the UK market.”

The firm works predominantly in the construction sector and specialises in its use of hi-tech Swedish engineering and fast delivery of projects. The company is also currently implementing a customer care division to handle maintenance and customer service.

Cibes UK works across a range of different sectors, specialising in its work within the retail, transport and naturally the construction industry.

Dean added: “We have some high profile projects in store for 2017 and are really excited to implement some new processes in the coming months.

“Change for us is a good thing, whilst we’re keeping in place and streamlining the tried and tested processes that have served us over a collective 20 years in business, we’re also introducing new practices to help us move forward.

“Customer service is something that is extremely important to us and although we continually receive good feedback from customers, it’s important that we are progressing and improving which is where the customer care division comes into play.”

To learn more about Cibes UK visit its website here: http://www.uk.cibeslift.com

Students feel at home with designing the future

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Students from Hartlepool College of Further Education have teamed up with design and build firm Kingfield Developments Ltd to build 14 state-of-the-art homes at Summerhill Lane in Hartlepool.

Mike Dickinson from Kingfield Developments Ltd said: “We are delighted to be involved with the College. As a design and build company this particular housing development will showcase our house designs and offer a whole new approach. It will allow the students studying construction and those studying design the opportunity to work alongside us and experience the interaction between designing a structure and actually building it.

“Hartlepool College of Further Education bought into our vision and in working with its tutors and students we have some excellent CAD designs that give a visual to our concepts.”

Hartlepool College of Further Education offers courses in Building Design and Services for students wanting to progress in to many of the building engineering disciplines such as design, architecture and surveying.

Keith Bradley, Head of School, said “We have some really talented students and real life projects, such as this with Kingfield, provide an exciting opportunity for the students to showcase these skills. This project particularly required a high level of innovation along with an eye for detail to support the technical skills of the students.”

Andrew Steel Assistant Principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education said: “It’s brilliant for a local business to be reaching out young people in the area to help design the homes of their futures.

“The College is delighted to be working on such an innovative and pioneering project. And we’re looking forward to continuing this successful partnership.”

Mike added: “The College brings added value to our business. By working with the College and its students, we’re helping to close the skills gap that is very prevalent in this industry.

“We believe that the College students will benefit from being involved in the Summerhill housing development project from inception to completion. This is a true collaboration between local and local business for the benefit of Hartlepool.”

Changing Futures North East appoints new team to take on life-changing programme

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A North East charity has made three key appointments to spearhead its pioneering Healthy Relationships Programme.

Changing Futures North East has appointed Jayne Moules as the charity’s Strategic Development Manager, Nicola Walker as Consultant Psychotherapist/Practice Development Manager and Pauline Banks as Couple and Family Relationships Coordinator.

The appointments will support the charity’s £1.5m grant-funded programme in carrying out ground-breaking research into building healthy relationships surrounding children.

Previously Jayne worked to coordinate a variety of significant family support programmes across the region including the roll-out of SureStart Centres. Her new role will involve her engaging with key stakeholders across the spectrum to work in creating a family relationship hub within the charity’s local area of Hartlepool.

Jayne said: “I wasn’t pro-actively looking for a change, but when I heard about Changing Futures North East and came to Hartlepool to learn more about the pioneering work they were carrying out, I knew this would be an extremely exciting project for me to work on.

“For the charity to be chosen as one of only three places in the country to carry out this innovative work is an honour and the full team and I cannot wait to begin reporting our findings and looking at how we can implement change.”

The Healthy Relationships Programme aims to strengthen relationships between families therefore benefitting the community in a variety of different ways. The project will begin to shift the way services work and think, benefitting future generations and the area in which they live, whilst helping to improve parental communication and relationships.

Pauline Banks had previously worked as a head teacher before leaving education to undertake her psychotherapy training. She joins Changing Futures, taking a key role in the organisation and support of group couple sessions working to improve their own partnerships through group discussions.

Pauline said: “I left education taking with me so much experience of children, their needs and the effect of the relationships around them. I wanted to give more back so I began my psychotherapy training so that I could work with couples and help them to think together about their future and build a strategy for them to move forward together positively.

“Joining Changing Futures North East has been brilliant, we are a charity with big ambitions that really wants to make a difference by carrying out pioneering research and projects and there is such a great team in place to make this happen.”

After working as a Group Psychotherapist for the NHS Foundation Trust, Nicola Walker worked as a Mental Health Practitioner working in forensic personality disorder. She joins the team to aid in carrying out the ground-breaking research project into couples and domestic violence.

She said: “I have come into Changing Futures North East at a really exciting time, I was so impressed with the research they are undertaking in order to change general practice and the way that relationships are handled.

“Although Changing Futures is a smaller organisation, it is extremely innovative, responsive and is working hard to make a difference. The energy, life and connection within this team is incomparable and I’m confident our work into healthy relationships will make a real positive impact.”

In return the programme hopes to see less demand from the care sector, improved family relationships, positive inter-generational changes further down the line and also an improvement in school attendance and education.

Changing Futures offers support to children and families across the Tees Valley, offering access to mediation, mentoring and supporting children’s education. To learn more about the organisation or the Healthy Relationships Project, visit the website here: http://www.changingfuturesne.co.uk

750k technical investment for Top Brass

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TOP BRASS has invested a further 750k into machinery and technical equipment for its new factory opening.

The company, that provides a full in-house service manufacturing furniture, metalwork, upholstery, wall art, blinds and curtains, has invested in cutting edge machinery for its new premises, parts of which have been designed and built specifically for the company.

On top of this Top Brass has furthered its commitment to the environment investing in a brickette machine to transfer sawdust into fuel to heat the factory.

Colin Robinson, Managing Director of Top Brass, said: “The investments we’re making in the factory are key to the long term sustainability of the business and also crucial to our commitment in being environmentally-conscious in all areas of what we do.

“We’re already in the process of moving into our new premises, it’s a brilliant place to bring our customers, with its own unique showroom, comfortable reception area and boardroom that overlooks the entire factory floor.”

Top Brass expanded its operations earlier this year, with bases already in both London and Hartlepool, the business is looking forward to getting settled into its new premises.

Colin added: “This move was a strategic one, with good transport links, lower running costs and an abundance of skilled workers in the area, it made sense to join the thriving curtain and upholstery manufacturing division here in the North East.

“Because we’re one of the only companies that handles the full process from design to manufacturing and then fitting, our services are very much in demand and have a range of different sectors that we supply our products to including student accommodation, corporate, education and of course the hospitality and hotel sector.”

The diversity in the products and services that Top Brass provide meant that many of the machines were custom built by the company’s manufacturing partner Biesse UK.

Andrew Ward, Furniture Production Manager at Top Brass, said: “There really is so much demand for us to be carrying out multiple projects whilst still retaining the quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that we’re known for.

“This machinery will make a massive difference to productivity and also by investing such an amount into the world’s leading-edge technology, we’re constantly giving our customers the best possible service and products.”

To find out more about Top Brass, visit www.topbrasscontracts.com or email enquiries@topbrasscontracts.com