People INBusiness INCheshire

Going Off Grid

A Cheshire graphic design agency is taking a new look at the way we work.


With agencies taking up residency in the busy streets of Manchester and Liverpool on a weekly basis, walking in the opposite direction is somewhere ‘Off Grid’.

The agency has been founded by two ambitious joint creative directors, Kim Farrall and Sally Evans, who both cut their teeth with city agencies.

Now they have opted for a more nomadic lifestyle. Working from co-op offices, cafes and their own spaces in the countryside, they are collaborating on their latest projects and sharing ideas.

This affords them more flexibility and scalability, growing and shrinking their team with the required skill set as and when needed. It also gives the flexibility to use the landscape around them to inspire what they do.

“The outdoors has always been our main source of inspiration and allowing time to embrace it and immerse ourselves within it during a working week is already proving to be invaluable. We’re happier, more content and much less stressed.” said Kim.

“This new lifestyle gives us the freedom to actually focus on our clients. We can form relationships that help us better understand each other, and it gives us an opportunity to work with people who share our passion.” added Sally.

This design duo are walking towards a bright future … somewhere ‘off grid’.


KAT Appoints M.D. and Acquires Scottish Manufacturer

Chris Powell Chris Powell

Macclesfield-based doors and windows manufacturer, KAT, has appointed its commercial director to the position of managing director as part of its ongoing growth strategy and in recognition of the success and value generated under his management to-date.

Chris Powell, who joined the company in 2014, has implemented and overseen strategies for sales and marketing, product development and special projects. In his new role, He will spearhead further customer growth in new sectors, whilst underpinning the company’s core delivery and service offering.

Chris said: “The business is in a leading position already with plans afoot to expand our offering to our UK and Ireland customers. I’m delighted to be at the helm of the company at such a pivotal stage in its growth.”


KAT recently acquired Ayrshire Shopfronts, based in Kilmarnock, to expand its product range for its existing national customer base.

With manufacturing operations in Macclesfield and Newhaven in Sussex, KAT’s new manufacturing base in Scotland will trade as Ayrshire Aluminium and will provide additional commercial and retail products for its customers in the UK and Ireland.

Chris Powell said: “The benefits of our acquisition of Ayrshire Aluminium will transfer directly to both KAT’s and Ayrshire Aluminium’s existing customers.


Vet who helped sedate lion roars on with career

A Warrington vet who hails from South Africa, and once helped sedate a lion, has been appointed as a new divisional partner for an independent veterinary group.

Pieter de Villiers with his dog, Pippin. Pieter de Villiers with his dog, Pippin.

Pieter de Villiers, a lead vet at Beech House Veterinary Surgery, was born and raised in Potchefstroom, a town in South Africa’s North-West province.

In his latest career highlight, he has been named as a small animal divisional partner for Willows Veterinary Group.

Pieter, 50, recalled the time he was involved in a night time mission to catch a lion and said: “You do feel apprehensive when you are involved in catching a lion. The keepers play sounds of a lion eating to attract them.”

Pieter then explained how the animal is sedated with a dart gun from a distance so that game keepers can assess the animal’s health safely; taking samples for further analysis and if necessary tagging them for future identification.

“You need to be absolutely sure that that lion is deep asleep before you make any approach!

They are phenomenally powerful creatures. My vet friend was attacked by a cub once and he was left with some nasty injuries to his arms.”

Pieter is more used to looking after and treating smaller, more domesticated creatures now at the busy Warrington surgery and sees almost 100 animal patients a day.


MP lends support for ‘No Fault Divorce’

Linda Hunter, a family lawyer with Frodsham-based Rowlinsons Solicitors, has secured the support of Graham Evans, MP for Weaver Vale in the call to promote no fault divorce.


The meeting follows the very successful lobby day which took place in November last year, and was organised by family law organisation Resolution, which represents 6500 family justice professionals committed to supporting couples to reach non-confrontational resolutions to family disputes.

150 family justice professionals from all over the country took part in the event which saw them hold meetings with MP’s to discuss the need for divorce law to be changed to allow couples to break up without having to cite blame.

Linda said “Current divorce law is sadly not fit for today’s modern society. Many couples break up because they simply fall out of love with each other, but the law fails to recognise this as a legitimate reason for separation.

Instead, couples are often forced to cite blame on their divorce forms, and from my personal experience as a family lawyer and mediator, this often leads to argument and conflict.

It was fantastic to attend the lobby day last year in Parliament to support Resolution’s call for a no fault divorce. It is important to keep the momentum going, and I am grateful to Graham Evans for agreeing to lend his support.”

Graham Evans said of the meeting: “I was delighted to meet with Linda and I am happy to lend my support to the call for a no fault divorce. I will be tabling a Parliamentary question and will keep in contact with Linda to feedback the response.”


Runway Pilates Opens Second Studio

Runway Pilates is expanding its portfolio and launched its second studio in Alderley Edge Medical Centre recently.

Coleen Rooney, Lucy and Amy Bruce, Magali Gore Coleen Rooney, Lucy and Amy Bruce, Magali Gore

Guests included Coleen Rooney, Lucy and Amy Bruce, Magali Gore and Living Ventures’ Jeremy & Jane Roberts. Many of the guests chose to sign up for membership at the event.

Established in 2015 by Catherine Hebb, a fully qualified sports rehabilitation specialist and STOTT Pilates instructor, Runway Pilates will offer a range of classes to its members.

Catherine told us: “I’m very excited to have launched our second studio in Alderley Edge after the incredible success of our Altrincham studios.

We are offering a range of Reformer Pilates classes to target different body areas, as well as one-to-one personal tuition.”

The Alderley Edge studios is home to 12 state of the art SPX MAX STOTT Reformer machines, which have been shipped directly from Canada.


Awards for Cheshire ‘Innovation Scouts’

Two Cheshire health professionals have been presented with silver awards for their work as Innovation Scouts, part of a network working together across the North-West Coast region.

Claire James Mike Gibney Juliette Kumar Claire James Mike Gibney Juliette Kumar

The Innovation Scouts are senior clinicians, academics and managers who actively promote and support innovation among their colleagues, from ward to Board level.

Silver awards were presented to Claire James, associate director effective services of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) NHS Foundation Trust; and Steve Bridge, of Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Claire has supported a culture of innovation in the Trust, leading to new approaches to commercialise products developed in-house; the launch of an innovation competition for staff; and enhanced partnership working with the third sector and other public sector agencies on new pathways of care.

Steve achieved an Innovation Scout Silver Award, for his work sharing and spreading innovation in his role as director of the Centre for Integrated Healthcare Science, a joint venture between the Countess of Chester Hospital and the University of Chester.

Innovation Agency director of research and innovation, Lisa Butland said: “Our Innovation Scouts are a fabulous asset to their own organisations and to the wider health system, spreading knowledge and introducing innovative new kit and approaches which they see working well elsewhere.”


Web Foundry eyes business growth with new Wilmslow base

Web design and development agency, Web Foundry, is marking a new chapter in business growth with a move to a new office in Wilmslow.

James Bishop, business development manager, Phil Holt, managing director and Mitesh Patel, business development manager. James Bishop, business development manager, Phil Holt, managing director and Mitesh Patel, business development manager.

The agency, which has offices in Manchester’s Media City, Edinburgh and Warsaw and employs 20 people, has moved into its new base at the Colony in Wilmslow.

The move comes after a successful year which has seen a 20% increase in turnover thanks to a raft of new client wins including ARMSA Consulting in Warrington and Thorn Grove Primary School in Cheadle.

Managing director, Phil Holt, is local to Wilmslow and hopes to strengthen his relationships with the town’s thriving business community. “It’s been a really strong year for the business since we opened our Manchester office last July and we’re proud to have found our place in the North West’s thriving digital scene.

Our new office gives us space to grow and we’re well placed to serve businesses across Greater Manchester and beyond. I’m privileged to work with several local businesses in Wilmslow already and am looking forward to cementing Web Foundry as part of this vibrant community.”


Photographer awarded “Best of Houzz” for second year running 

John Gauld Photography from Poynton has won “Best of Photography” for the second year running on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design.

John Gauld John Gauld

The specialist architectural and interiors photographer was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, home improvement and design industry professionals.

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including John, said Andrew Small, MD of Houzz UK and Ireland. “It is more important than ever for home design and construction professionals to hire professional photographers to make their work stand out, and tell a story about the kind of work they do to our community of homeowners, design enthusiasts and home building, home improvement and design professionals.”

John is a Houzz network photographer. He specialises in photography of buildings and interiors and describes the process as a mixture of creative photography and technical editing where the result is a combination of having the right equipment, finding the best angles to show the subject and detailed editing to bring out every bit of detail in his shots. Apart from this specialism,


Fantastic Five

The sales team at Volkswagen Van Centre, Liverpool, celebrate being shortlisted for the AM Award 2017 ‘Best Sales Team of the Year’. The sales team at Volkswagen Van Centre, Liverpool, celebrate being shortlisted for the AM Award 2017 ‘Best Sales Team of the Year’.

Family owned and run Swansway Motor Group has been shortlisted for a fabulous five awards at the motor industry Oscars, the AM Awards. Some of the awards are for individual sites; Best Sales Team for the company’s Volkswagen Van Centre in Liverpool; Best Dealership for the Stafford Land Rover Centre and Best Fleet Operation for the Crewe based Swansway Group Fleet department.

The whole group, which has sites from Birmingham in the South to Carlisle in the North is up for Best Website, for their new web offering and Excellence in Aftersales covering the group’s twenty-two centres.

Swansway director, John Smyth commented, “These awards genuinely mean something, the submissions are rigorous and these are followed up by judges visiting you and going over your business in detail. To be shortlisted is a real achievement, so, to be shortlisted in every category we entered is something of which we’re truly proud”.

This is a reflection of how committed and passionate our staff are and I have fingers and toes crossed for some wins on February 9th, the night of the awards ceremony.”



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