Welcome from Monica Fogarty

Monica FogartyHello and welcome to the May edition of Warwickshire Means Business.

There aren't many editions of WMB that contains news from Chelsea Flower Show. This edition does with the lovely story of Leamington-based Sarah Horne’s award of a prestigious silver gilt at the Show last week. The award was earned by Sarah’s creativity, hard work and talent, of course, but let’s hear it too for the Small Capital Grant which enabled her to develop the stylish workshop in which she created her prize-winning exhibit.

Sarah says the grant was an “absolute game-changer” and I am so pleased that her business has joined more than 100 others to benefit from our Small Capital Grants scheme. 

Other very good news is the development of two major new industrial parks supported by the first loan (£9.7 million) from Warwickshire County Council’s Property Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF is the property strand of our Warwickshire Investment Fund which supports the provision of sites and premises designed to help grow the County economy.

In this edition we also hear how an ERDF Innovation Grant has spectacularly enhanced Lime’s excellent work with local authorities and the Police Service to support young people, and how award-winning small business Smallfry is benefiting from the “brilliant” impact of an apprentice.

Sustainability features heavily this month including news of Energy Efficiency Grants of up to £100,000 which are available to SMEs.

We look back on a very successful Coventry & Warwickshire presence at UKREiiF where many important connections were made. We also look forward to an exciting business and skills event coming up in Coleshill. There is our regular round up of upcoming events and news-in-brief and, as always, all the articles in WMB have all the relevant links to get you straight to where you need to go for business and skills support. Please do get in touch if we can help you.


Featured News

Coventry and Warwickshire shine together at UKREiiF

“UKREiiF provided an excellent opportunity for a range of partners and teams to come together to promote the strong investment environment in the county of Warwickshire, and the excellent support available here for those wanting to invest in commercial or residential development."  

Developers and local authority partners came together with Invest Coventry & Warwickshire to showcase a range of opportunities and a full programme of activity at a leading UK property and development conference and exhibition.
The event attracted a record 13,000 delegates to the UK Real Estate Infrastructure and Investment Forum (UKREiiF) in Leeds. UKREiiF brought together the public and private sectors, including national, regional and local Government, commercial and residential developers, investors and a range of agents and intermediaries.
The event coincided with the announcement of the first loan agreement from Warwickshire County Council’s Property & Infrastructure Fund (PIF), of £9.7million to Stockton-based developer Wigley for their Warwickshire Connect light industrial schemes. 
The showpiece of the event for Warwickshire was the ‘Warwickshire Creating Places’ panel session, hosted in the Midlands Engine Pavilion. Warwickshire County Council, arms-length property company Warwickshire Property & Development Group (WPDG) and private sector partners discussed key sectors driving commercial development in the county and examples of partnerships making these developments successful.
Speakers included Ian Harrabin from Complex Development Projects who are working with Warwick District Council to bring forward grade A office and workshop space in central Leamington Spa, most recently helping redevelop the former United Reform Church into the new ‘The Fold’ base for digital marketing company Cogent. 
HORIBA-MIRA Future Mobility Cluster Development Lead Sarah Windrum spoke about recent investment into MIRA Technology Park from WMCA, the Japanese parent company, and investment company Evans Randall to create new test facilities, space for SMEs and the new 2.3m sqft MIRA South Site for larger scale manufacturing. 
Joe Skinner, Development Director at Tritax Symmetry presented on their work to develop Symmetry Park Rugby over the last 10 years, including a brand new 1m sq ft Campus for US company Iron Mountain, and a further 1m sqft of spec build in development.
George Richards, Senior Director at global property advisors CBRE, shared his experiences of delivering the Property Infrastructure Fund (PIF) on behalf of Warwickshire County Council. This included insights into some exciting projects coming through and the recent deal made with developer Wigley which will deliver two schemes for SMEs, starting with Warwickshire Connect Endemere, 20 units for sale ranging in size from 1,000 to 3,000 sq ft to help meet growing demand for commercial space.
The second panel ‘Partnerships in Development’ included: Phil McHugh for Countryside Partnerships, who is working with WPDG to deliver some of the 2,000 new homes promised around the county, including affordable and rental homes; Jo Russell, Planning Director from Stoford, developers of Leamington’s Spa Park and Redditch Gateway near Studley; Ian Romano, Vice President and Head of Land and Development at Prologis; and Stuart Buckley, Managing Director of WPDG. 
The panels revealed that 14m sqft of big box units (of 100,000 sq ft or more) had been delivered from 60 units and 14 developments since 2010, major schemes delivering 15-20,000 jobs, with a likely split of 50:50 between logistics and manufacturing. 
The county also took part in some partner and main stage panel events, including ‘The Battle for Talent’ on the main Bury Theatre stage, looking at a range of factors affecting sourcing and retaining talent. WCC chief executive Monica Fogarty, speaking on the panel, explained that tech talent is drawn not only to city centres like London and Birmingham, but also to market towns like Leamington Spa with its thriving video games and digital creative cluster, and tech parks like MIRA Technology Park, near Nuneaton, and University of Warwick Innovation Campus in Wellesbourne. 
Monica Fogarty also took part in the West Midlands Investment Zone panel in the West Midlands Pavilion, the first opportunity to talk detail at a major property show event about the advanced manufacturing-led IZ for the region. Coventry & Warwick Gigapark, formed of four sites including the battery cell gigafactory site Greenpower Park, forms the Coventry & Warwickshire part of the IZ. 
Warwickshire sites feature heavily in the relaunched West Midlands Combined Authority Investment Prospectus and Midlands Engine Investment Prospectus. Those sites are MIRA Technology Park South Site, Transforming Nuneaton, Coventry & Warwick Giga Park, Greenpower Park, Rugby Town, Creative Quarter Royal Leamington Spa, University of Warwick Innovation Campus and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Invest Coventry & Warwickshire also launched an updated Investment Prospectus featuring the larger sites above, together with 28 other sites from across the city and county, with 3m sq ft of industrial space on the market, 390,000sqft of grade A office and 175ha of allocated employment land.
Warwickshire Property Development Group, Warwickshire County Council’s arms-length property company, exhibited together with Invest in the West Midlands Pavilion. The property company, formed in 2021, was there to promote its award-winning joint venture with Countryside Partnerships which is a unique 30-year partnership which in the first few years will commence the delivery of nearly 2,000 new homes across the County, together with other residential and commercial developments, including its nine-unit 42,000sq ft Sucham Park in Southam which is now almost fully let.  
UKREiiF was also an excellent opportunity to promote the Property & Infrastructure Fund (PIF) which supports the provision of sites and premises designed to help drive the growth of the local Warwickshire economy. The fund from Warwickshire County Council which can loan between £500,000 and £10m for the development of new or commercial property and infrastructure. The fund is being administered by CBRE on behalf of Warwickshire County Council and is the property strand of the Warwickshire Investment Fund (WIF).  
The city and county are a leading area for foreign direct investment (FDI) - the area welcomed 55 investment projects for 2022-3. The Coventry market, which includes the county of Warwickshire, has seen record lettings for industrial in recent years, with over 5m sq ft of industrial and warehouse space let in 2022, according to according to property intelligence company CoStar. Meanwhile, the office market in Warwickshire has seen record rents achieved at major redevelopments like The Woods in Warwick and Bedford Street Studios in Royal Leamington Spa. 
Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy at Warwickshire County Council, said: “UKREiiF provided an excellent opportunity for a range of partners and teams to come together to promote the strong investment environment in the county of Warwickshire, and the excellent support available here for those wanting to invest in commercial or residential development.  
"Our offer at UKREiiF included the new £40m Property Infrastructure Fund, and we were delighted to work alongside CBRE to promote it to the property community at this major show in Leeds. The property and infrastructure fund is a flexible investment scheme that can be deployed to help the development of new land or commercial space to support employment and the growth of the economy in Warwickshire." 
Jo Russell, Planning Director at Stoford, said: "I was delighted to share with the audience the details of Stoford's partnership working with Coventry and Warwickshire Local Planning Authorities, stakeholders and the community. Our delivery of new commercial floorspace is enhanced through the meeting of shared objectives, and we continue to enjoy investing and creating jobs in this local area."
Sarah Windrum, Future Mobility Cluster Lead at MIRA Technology Park, said: “We were excited to attend UKREiiF in partnership with Warwickshire County Council to showcase MIRA Tech Park: our past success attracting global tenants as an Enterprise Zone since 2012 and our future ambition to deliver new advanced manufacturing South of the A5. Our property solution has had to evolve as our tenants have developed and commercialised their new technologies and we are thrilled to announce our latest pre-let to existing tenant Warwick Acoustics which will be our first manufacturing onsite. We are proud to be a leading global cluster for sustainable mobility and that wouldn’t happen without the support of key partners like Warwickshire.”
Joe Skinner, Development Director at Tritax Symmetry, said: “It was fantastic to join Warwickshire County Council for their panel ‘Creating Places for Growing Sectors’ at UKREiiF. We have been working with Warwickshire for over 10 years and were delighted to be given the opportunity to talk about our exciting new logistics park, Symmetry Park Rugby. We look forward to continue working with the county and to keep investing in the local area, supporting the economy and supporting the creation of a variety of new jobs.” 
Ian Harrabin, Managing Director of Creative Development Projects (CDP), said: "This year’s UKREiiF was a busy event. There are ambitious plans and across the West Midlands and an eagerness to get on with it.  Construction cost increases, high interest rates and new regulations have been difficult for the industry but with inflation hopefully down the longer-range forecast is looking brighter.  As ever the close partnerships with local authorities remain vital, and we look forward to building on those."

Small Capital Grant helps towards Silver Gilt at Chelsea

“The Small Capital Grant has been an absolute game-changer."

A Leamington floral artist is celebrating success at the Chelsea Flower Show – and also a big step forward for her business after growing her premises with support from Warwickshire County Council.

Sarah Horne Botanicals, Flowers and Academy is a longstanding pillar of Leamington’s business community, having first opened in 1980. As well as a proud history, the business now has an exciting future after a Small Capital Grant from the County Council enabled refurbishment of its premises in Warwick Street in a way which not only gives Sarah’s business scope for growth but will benefit others in the locality.

An elegant new workspace at the rear of the shop, which Sarah uses for taking classes and designing her work, has already attracted requests from other SMEs to use. And that space is where much of the work was done to create the gorgeous exhibit which was awarded a prestigious silver gilt at Chelsea last week.

“The Small Capital Grant has been an absolute game-changer,” said Sarah. “The business is much more than a florist, we hold a lot of classes too, and we desperately needed more space but wanted to stay in this location in the heart of town as it is perfect for us.

“So many florists have had to move out of town or work from home, but the refurb thanks to the grant means we now have a perfect place to operate right where we want to be. Teaching is a big part of the business and now, rather than hire a space like a village hall, I’ve got a really stylish workshop which is great for holding classes and also gives us so much more space on a day to day basis.

“It is brilliant for us and I’m really keen for other creative businesses to use it. I’ve already had enquiries from a photographer and a milliner!”

The business, which has been at the heart of Leamington for almost half a century, has much more still to give…as visitors to Chelsea discovered last week.

“I was thrilled to be awarded a silver gilt,” said Sarah. “It was really exciting even to have an entry accepted at Chelsea, and even more so to be recognised with a silver gilt. It was a success that is totally shared by my wonderful team at the shop and all the amazing people that have supported me recently and over the years.

“There are so many things I would still like to do and now, with the lovely new workshop, I’m really looking forward to doing more and more with our customers and students. I’m so grateful to the county council for their support.”

Warwickshire County Council's Head of Economy & Skills, Isobel Woods, said: "The county council is proud to have supported this well-established local business in Leamington to achieve their success. The council recognises the huge value of local businesses on our town's high streets and supporting them is one of the key objectives in our Growth Strategy. We are working hard to support sustainable, viable businesses across Warwickshire and to work alongside business owners to help them realise their ambitions for growth."  

* Please find out what other support is available to your business by calling Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747 or visiting https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk

"Brilliant" impact of Evie shows value of apprenticeships

"I was wary about how effective an apprentice could be and wondered whether one could really meet our needs. But Evie has been fantastic from day one."

Steve May-Russell, founder and chief executive of award-winning Wolston-based company Smallfry, had never seriously considered taking on an apprentice.

He felt the work of his strategic design consultancy business was too specialist and niche for an apprentice to be able to make a valuable contribution. He needed someone who could come in and hit the ground running.

But then a chat with Steve Convery, Business Skills Support Officer at Warwickshire Skills Hub, changed his mind. He thought he’d give it a go…and is so glad he did.

Evie Baker has joined the Smallfry team on a Level Three Apprenticeship as a digital marketing executive - and been “brilliant” from the word go. Having taken responsibility for the business’s multi-channel marketing, Evie has had a big impact, while learning all the time herself.

“The thought of taking on an apprentice had never really crossed my mind because we need people to come in at a certain level,” said Steve. “I was a little bit cynical about the concept and wary about how effective an apprentice could be and wondered whether one could really meet our needs. But Evie has been fantastic from day one.

“She went in at the deep end and has been brilliant at getting our messages out there, tracking analytics and getting people engaged with our business. Evie has been great for us and she is also learning all the time. I had wondered whether a degree course might be too rigid to accommodate our needs but in fact it is more than flexible enough."

Evie applied for the apprenticeship through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service website. Now on the first year of her Level Three apprenticeship, she has found her career direction and vocation after bailing out of a biology degree which was “not for me.”

“I had never really considered apprenticeships because they seemed under-valued by school,” Evie admitted. “Also I always associated them more with trades like bricklaying and electricians. But in fact you can have an apprenticeship in almost anything. I had never heard of degree-led apprenticeships and this one works perfectly. I am loving it at Smallfry. I feel I am making a real contribution to the business while also I am learning every day.”

Steven Convery, Business Skills Support Officer at Warwickshire Skills Hub, said: "Smallfry is a very unique business, and it has been a pleasure to support them on the journey of employing an apprentice via utilising the Future Skills Grants Programme that Warwickshire County Council facilitates.

"The Future Skills Grants Programme has been a fantastic success since its inception and that success is a testament to Warwickshire County Council’s commitment to the business community and its local workforce."

 * For more information about how an apprenticeship could help your business, please visit https://skillshub.warwickshire.gov.uk/schools/apprenticeships-1 or email steven.convery@warwickshire.gov.uk

Two industrial parks on way thanks to £9.7million PIF loan

"Making these kinds of units available will create opportunities for smaller enterprises to have premises that they can afford so that businesses of all sizes can benefit from, and contribute towards, the region's growth."

The development of two major new industrial parks in Coventry and Warwickshire has begun with the help of a £9.7 million loan from Warwickshire County Council’s enterprising Property Investment Fund (PIF), managed by global real estate advisor, CBRE.

Warwickshire Connect Ltd, a subsidiary of The Wigley Group, has begun construction to transform a 1.88-acre brownfield site on Endemere Road, Coventry.

The project will deliver a purpose-built commercial hub after receiving full planning permission in 2023. Warwickshire Connect Endemere will provide 20 units for sale ranging in size from 1,000 to 3,000 sq ft to help meet growing demand for commercial space and benefit local small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

Construction is expected to take 12 months, with the first units available for occupation by the summer of 2025.

This is the first loan from the PIF, the property strand of the Warwickshire Investment Fund (WIF) which supports the provision of sites and premises designed to help drive the growth of the local Warwickshire economy. The PIF is managed by CBRE’s Lending team.

The loan will also support a second development on the boundary with Warwickshire on Rowley Drive, close to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre and the new Coventry & Warwick Giga Park.

James Davies, Chief Executive Officer at Wigley, said: “We’re incredibly excited to begin construction and get this development off the ground. This well-connected location will service a stark demand for commercial space, in turn supporting the fast-growing economy of Coventry and Warwickshire. We have already taken a healthy number of enquiries from prospective tenants when the plans were first approved, and that interest has remained constant.”

Wigley, based in Stockton, near Southam, has collaborated with Warwickshire County Council and global property advisors CBRE in funding the project.

Councillor Martin Watson, WCC Portfolio Holder for Economy, said: “I'm delighted to see the PIF being used to really support our businesses to grow. The lack of availability of smaller light industrial space is a real barrier for some smaller businesses' growth. Making these kinds of units available will create opportunities for smaller enterprises to have premises that they can afford so that businesses of all sizes can benefit from, and contribute towards, the region's growth.

“The economy in Coventry & Warwickshire has performed well in recent years, and this has often meant that there has been a lack of smaller, affordable light industrial units of the type used by SMEs. The economies of the city and county are closely linked, particularly around manufacturing supply chains, so the new units will benefit the business base across the wider area.”

Tom Bromwich, Founding Partner of Bromwich Hardy, which has been instructed to market the units, said: “We are delighted to be once again working with our clients at the Wigley Group. The fact these new commercial units will be available to purchase makes them particularly attractive to small and medium business owners as there is a real shortage of any quality commercial premises available to purchase.”

George Richards, Senior Director at CBRE said: “Warwickshire County Council’s Property and Infrastructure Fund has been set up to support much needed local development, driving the local economy and creating employment opportunities. We are delighted to have advised Warwickshire County Council on this first loan to launch the PIF and are now hugely excited to see Warwickshire Connect’s progress on the development over the coming year.”

Targeted at small businesses, the Warwickshire Connect Endemere scheme will provide sustainable and modern industrial units with office and storage space along with 72 car parking spaces. It is close to the A444 with easy access to the M6 and M69.

The Property Investment Fund is part of a wide range of County Council business support services and programmes. To find out more on this and other programmes, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/businesssupport.

New business centre in Nuneaton will help grown town's economy

"The new business centre will bring a host of small, dynamic and innovative businesses into the heart of the town centre, helping grow the economy and, along with a new and welcoming library, will help increase footfall and activity within the town.”

A brand new business centre and library in Nuneaton will move a step closer this summer when work begins to redevelop the site of the former Royal Mail Delivery Office in Vicarage Street.

Royal Mail will relocate their sorting and collection office to a new facility on Bermuda Road, providing them with a fit for purpose, state of the art facility serving the Nuneaton area.

Demolition of existing buildings will pave the way for the new business centre and library which will act as a long-term economic and civic anchor in a prominent position in the town centre. The work is part of the Transforming Nuneaton programme, a joint initiative between Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, and will drive footfall through the town and deliver key services to Nuneaton’s residents and businesses. 

It is a significant investment in the town which will bring significant changes; the arrival of new, high-quality office space is seen as a great opportunity to support growth and provide collaborative workspace for local businesses in the heart of the town centre.

Its fantastic location, in easy reach of road and rail to the West Midlands, Birmingham, London and beyond, will allow Nuneaton enterprises to reach new clients, and the range of spaces available will suit a variety of small and medium businesses. The design is currently being developed, taking lessons from the County Council’s other business parks to ensure that it is tailored to the needs of Nuneaton and will offer a service which will help its businesses grow. 

The existing library will remain open until the new one opens its doors in 2026. At no point will Nuneaton town centre be without a library service. The major redevelopment has attracted concern from residents for the loss of the existing library building and its particular architecture, but the project will deliver a new statement library building, and together with the new business centre all under one roof will have considerable long-term social and economic and benefits for the town and its residents.

Warwickshire County Council’s Director for Economy & Place, Dave Ayton Hill, said: “It is exciting news that this phase of the Transforming Nuneaton programme is about to move forward. The new business centre will bring a host of small, dynamic and innovative businesses into the heart of the town centre, helping grow the economy and, along with a new and welcoming library, will help increase footfall and activity within the town.”

Business support safeguards jobs at country pub

Antelope“The support we’ve received has, undoubtedly, helped us to survive and look at new ways to increase revenue.”

A Warwickshire pub is growing its customer base after receiving business support to broaden its offer and its appeal.

The Antelope, in Lighthorne, has added to its regular clientele by introducing a whole host of initiatives – from cocktails to pizza nights – to bring in more trade from the surrounding area. The plan is working and has helped to safeguard ten jobs at the country pub.

Its most recent help came via the Project Warwickshire - Visitor Economy and Hospitality Support Programme delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Warwickshire County Council the District and Borough Councils.

Erika Lilley, who runs the pub with her husband, Tom, attended online masterclasses on search engine optimisation to help drive more traffic to the pub’s website and on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

They also received one-to-one support from Chamber Business Advisor Marie Stephenson, who spent time working with Erika conducting a detailed target market exercise to ensure a marketing plan that would appeal to all of their different types of customers, and which included plans to attract new ones too.

The practical support helped the pub to identify ways of increasing takings and turnover to remain profitable at a time when closures have been on the rise across the country.

The couple, who met on a cruise in Southeast Asia and were married 12 years ago after Erika moved to the UK from Peru, have previously received support from Warwickshire County Council’s Survive, Sustain and Grow Programme which saw them awarded a £10,000 grant to develop a new pizza oven and preparation area. Both agreed that the support has proved invaluable.

Tom said: “There is no doubt that pubs across the whole country are having a tough time for a variety of reasons – costs have risen, Covid changed habits and people have less money in their pocket to spend.

“The support we’ve received has, undoubtedly, helped us to survive and look at new ways to increase revenue.”

Erika added: “Working with Marie helped us to see the bigger picture. When it is two of you running a business, it’s easy to keep doing the same thing but Marie gave us new ideas and new ways to think about how we could attract more customers.

“We’re also making sure our staff feel included and are asking them for ideas of how we can grow and that has helped create a really nice spirit within the team.”

Tom, who is a trained chef, works with the pub’s head chef to regularly refresh the menu while the venue also holds regular special events to commemorate everything from St. Patrick’s Day through to Star Wars Day on May 4.

Erika said: “We feel very positive about the future but we also know it is important to keep our feet on the ground and to build on the support we’ve had by thinking about how to work on the business and not always in it. Also, we know it’s important to be creative about what we offer so that our customers want to come back again and again.”

Marie said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Erika and Tom. They’ve taken on board everything we have talked about in our one-to-one sessions and have put it into practice, with amazing results.

“Every small business owner knows that they get sucked into day-to-day tasks and don’t always get chance to look at the bigger picture. Erika and Tom have managed to take a step back, plan and target new customers and it’s having a positive impact on the business.”

The Project Warwickshire Programme forms part of Business Growth Warwickshire which is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Warwickshire County Council. It has been developed and commissioned jointly by Warwickshire County Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwick District Council.

* To find out what other support is available to your business, please call CW Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747

Innovators have until June 19 to compete for Launchpad grant funding

Innovate UK has opened a Launchpad competition to offer up to £1.5 million in grant funding for ‘New Innovators.’

This competition opened on 7th May and will close at 11am on 19th June.

Innovate UK, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, and the West Midlands Combined Authority are working in partnership on a Launchpad to grow innovation in Coventry and Warwickshire’s immersive and creative technology cluster.

Business growth is at the heart of the Launchpad that aims to significantly advance innovation in developing and applying technologies in immersive and creative industries in priority markets.

The Coventry and Warwickshire region is renowned for its cluster in video game development, which creates highly skilled, productive jobs and opportunities. Over 1,000 high-quality games with internationally recognised intellectual property have been created in the West Midlands.

The area includes a globally significant cluster of video game developers known in Warwick, Leamington Spa and Southam which employs 15% of the UK’s games development talent and is recognised by trade body UKIE as the largest cluster outside Greater London.

Micro and small companies that haven’t received Innovate UK grants before can now apply through the New Innovators competition for funding and business support. The funding is a Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) grant of between £25,000 and £50,000. The grant is to cover 100% of the project costs. Innovate UK will aim to pay 70% within a month of project start.

Under the immersive and creative industries Launchpad, new innovators can seek funding for projects developing and applying technologies including one or more of the following themes: Media technologies, including digital and mixed media; immersive technologies, including augmented and virtual reality; game engine and virtual production, including 3D environments, simulations and data visualisations;  motion capture, including performance capture and gesture, and facial recognition

Projects can be targeted at one or more of these sectors: creative industries, video game development, screen sector. Healthcare, education, future mobility, manufacturing, retail and tourism, leisure and sport

The competition comes from Innovate UK's Launchpad that has a total budget of up to £7.5 million. The partners recently awarded the first £1.8 million of this budget. After this New Innovators competition, additional funding opportunities are planned for the Autumn.

For more information and competition links: please visit https://iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/launchpads/

Warwickshire ready to host Rail Live 2024

Warwickshire will be the final stop for thousands of delegates, exhibitors and businesses attending the UK’s largest outdoor rail exhibition next month.

Businesses in the rail industry and its supply chain from across Warwickshire, Coventry and the wider region are being urged to register to attend the free Rail Live 2024 exhibition which is organised by Bauer Media, publisher of RAIL Magazine, and held at Porterbrook’s Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre, on Wednesday June 19 and Thursday June 20.

This is the 10th time that Rail Live has been held at the site, which has been operated since 2021 by the UK’s leading rolling stock financier and asset management company Porterbrook which permanently acquired the site in March this year.

The company recently announced plans to renew and electrify the centre’s 3.5km track, so that it can support the introduction of new electric train fleets to the railway network to help the UK meet net-zero targets.

Porterbrook has overseen a transformation of the site since 2021, investing over £13m so far to upgrade and enhance facilities across the centre. Once the track electrification is completed at the end of 2025, the major development will take the company’s total investment in the site to over £75 million.

The Long Marston Rail Innovation site is one of a few UK sites for rail test and development with mainline linked rail infrastructure, and features a unique 3.5km test loop. Other UK test sites include Network Rail’s Rail Innovation & Development Centres in Tuxford (Nottinghamshire) and Melton (in Leicestershire); and the Very light Rail Centre in Dudley.

Rail Live 2024 is expected to be another record-breaking year with over 280 exhibitors attending and over 6,000 visitors due to see the latest rail innovations and displays of rolling stock, attend demonstrations and hear from industry speakers during panels and presentations.
The event, which is the UK’s largest outdoor railway exhibition, will include speeches from leaders from across the railway industry, including Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines.

Children from primary schools in the Warwickshire area will also be joining forces with senior representatives from the railway to compete in a live engineering challenge on stage, as part of their involvement in the Primary Engineer rail project. Primary Engineer is a not-for-profit organisation whose vision is to ensure all children achieve their full potential through engagement with engineering.

The celebration event at the completion of the project, delivered in partnership with Porterbrook, was held at Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre earlier this year. This is the first time that the live engineering challenge event will take place at Rail Live.

Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook, said: “It’s a pleasure for Porterbrook to welcome thousands of visitors from across the industry to our Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre again this year. Rail Live is always a spectacular show highlighting skill, innovation and progress across the railway with millions of pounds of impressive technology and equipment, captivating displays and engaging speakers taking to the stage.”
Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire will be exhibiting attending at the event to engage with and promote profile the region’s rail and transport technology supply chain.

The team will also provide information to businesses looking to find out more about setting up in Warwickshire and the wider Midlands and offer information on business support for exporting, skills, rail networks and programmes as well as access to finance.

Warwickshire County Council Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy, said the show offered a great showcase for the county’s strengths as a location for rail supply, technology and inward investment. “There are a great deal of opportunities for small and medium sized businesses in the rail supply chain in Warwickshire and the wider area, and Rail Live 2024 is an ideal opportunity on our doorstep to engage with and understand the industry and meet leading organisations and businesses and network with people within a growing industry,” he said.

“Porterbrook provides testing, training, maintenance and storage facilities for the railway industry and its ambitious plans for Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre confirms their commitment to the county and the sector which is fantastic news.”

Workplace Wellbeing Forum at Eliot Park Innovation Centre on June 18

The Workplace Wellbeing Forum returns to support healthy workplaces across Coventry & Warwickshire.

The Wellbeing for Life Workplace Wellbeing Forum is returning in June for a fourth event to help local businesses improve health and wellbeing support for employees.

The Forum will take place on Tuesday 18th June (9.30am-1pm) at Eliot Park Innovation Centre, Nuneaton, and is being offered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Wellbeing for Life programme, where representatives from businesses across the region are invited to attend the free varied programme. Booking is now available via Eventbrite.

At the upcoming event, employers can expect to hear from experts in Public Health, Occupational Health, HR, Business in the Community, Aquarius, CIPD and Economy and Skills talking about the diverse range of social, economic and environmental factors which impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Attendees will be offered the chance to choose two sessions to attend from an option of four covering mental, physical, financial, and social wellbeing.

There will be an opportunity to pick up more information and talk to attending organisations including Fairchance, Thrive at Work, Everyone Active, CitySave and Healthy Lifestyle Service. Attendees will also be able to enjoy a complimentary buffet lunch.

The Workplace Wellbeing Forum was launched by Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council in 2022 and is working to encourage people to take a more proactive approach to looking after their own wellbeing and to raise the profile of local prevention opportunities. It is also helping to provide a place for local employers to network and access resources that will support them in developing improved wellbeing practices. We recognise there are many challenges different organisations will face when trying to implement changes to health and wellbeing policies, so the Forum will also provide an opportunity to share best practice, as well as challenges, hopefully finding ways to overcome these.

For more information about the event, guest speakers and to book your place, please visit the Eventbrite page. For any queries please contact josouthan@warwickshire.gov.uk

Southam business expands at WPDG development

“Sucham Park is a brilliant example of a high-quality development that provides expansion potential for companies and employment opportunities for local people.”

A global supplier of fasteners and metal engineered components to the automotive sector has expanded its presence in Southam by taking up 15,000 sq ft of space at a new industrial scheme.

Auto Fasteners Ltd, which already has five units in Southam, has signed a 10-year lease on a trio of units at Sucham Park to support its continued expansion.

It will provide warehouse, assembly, quality inspection and office space for the business which supplies parts to Volvo Group, Scania, Daimler Group, Ford, Stellantis, VW Group, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover to name but a few.

Sucham Park is a 42,200 sq ft scheme from Warwickshire Property & Development Group (WPDG). WPDG has created nine new commercial units on the site at Holywell Business Park, which forms part of the Kineton Road Industrial Estate.

The business, which has 14 staff, was formed by Scott Simpson in 2007 and moved to Southam in 2011. It is a major exporter with 90 per cent of its business exporting around the world, supplying OEMs with engineered fasteners and metal components of the highest quality.

Mr Simpson said: “We’re growing with our long-term customers and gaining new customers too, which has contributed to year-on-year turnover growth and a need for more space to support our expansion. It gives us the option to keep expanding and explore new opportunities. We have business in North America, Brazil, India, Japan and all over Europe.

“We are currently going through the process of opening a facility in North America, but our Headquarters will always remain here in Southam, Warwickshire.

“The location of Sucham Park is perfect for us, it’s a stone’s throw from our existing space in Southam and the units are a good size for what we are looking to do.”

Auto Fasteners is the second business to lease space at the development in Southam, which features units ranging from 1,900 to 15,000 sq ft in size.

Stuart Buckley, Managing Director of WPDG, said: “Sucham Park has been built to provide high-quality space to enable businesses to continue to grow and thrive in Warwickshire.

“Auto Fasteners are a perfect example of this and it is fantastic that they have expanded their presence in Southam with this new deal. We are continuing to see significant interest in space at Sucham Park as it continues to develop into a hub for business in Southam.”

70,000 on the first day, 300,000 in the first week...

Almost 300,000 Self Assessment customers filed their tax return in the first week of the new tax year, almost 10 months ahead of the deadline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed.

Customers can file their Self Assessment returns for the 2023 to 2024 tax year between 6 April 2024 and 31 January 2025. Almost 70,000 people filed their return on the opening day this year and HMRC is encouraging people to do it early and not to leave it until January.

By filing tax returns early, people can take their time to complete their returns, making sure the information is accurate and avoiding the stress of last-minute filing. It can also help with budgeting and helping spread the cost of their tax bill. Customers can set up a budget payment plan to make weekly or monthly direct debit payments towards their next Self Assessment tax bill.

Refunds of overpaid tax will be paid as soon as the return has been processed. Customers can also check if they are due a refund in the HMRC app.

In recent years, HMRC has seen more and more customers file their tax returns early. Last year, more than 246,000 people submitted their Self Assessment between 6 and 12 April 2023.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: "Filing your Self Assessment early means people can spend more time growing their business and doing the things they love, rather than worrying about their tax return."

HMRC has updated guidance on filing tax returns early and help around paying tax bills on GOV.UK. Anyone who is new to Self Assessment and thinks they might need to complete a tax return for the 2023 to 2024 tax year can use the Self Assessment online tool to check whether they need to register for Self Assessment and submit a return.

People may need to complete a tax return for the 2023 to 2024 tax year and pay any tax owed if:

  • they are a self-employed individual with an income over £1,000
  • they have received any untaxed income over £2,500
  • they are renting out one or more properties
  • they claim Child Benefit and they or their partner have an income above £50,000
  • they are a partner in a partnership
  • their taxable income earned from savings and investments is more than the £10,000 personal savings allowance
  • their taxable income earned from dividends is more than £10,000
  • they have paid Capital Gains Tax on assets that were sold for a profit above the Capital Gains threshold

A full list of who needs to complete a tax return is available on GOV.UK.

Pensioners are required to pay Income Tax on any taxable income, including their pension income, above their Personal Allowance threshold. There are different ways to pay any tax owed, depending on the individual’s circumstances, including:

  • if they already complete a Self Assessment tax return, they will need to report and pay via this route
  • if they have a PAYE tax code, HMRC will automatically collect any tax through their tax code

Alternatively, if a pensioner does not already pay tax via Self Assessment or PAYE, HMRC will send them a Simple Assessment summary. The Simple Assessment will tell them how much Income Tax they need to pay and the deadline – usually by 31 January following the end of the tax year. HMRC produces the Simple Assessment from the information it already holds so people do not need to do anything - there is no form to complete. More information about Simple Assessment is available on GOV.UK.

It is important that customers let HMRC know if there are any changes in details or circumstances such as a new address or name, or if they are no longer self-employed or their business has closed. They should not assume someone else will update HMRC on their behalf. If customers no longer need to do Self Assessment, they will need to tell HMRC. There are videos on YouTube that explains how to stop Self Assessment.

Criminals use emails, phone calls and texts to try to steal information and money from taxpayers. Before sharing their personal or financial details, people should search ‘HMRC phishing and scams’ on GOV.UK to check the sender or caller is genuine.

Customers should never share their HMRC sign-in details. Someone could use them to steal from them or claim benefits or a refund in their name.

Recognition of UWSP adds to legacy of its far-sighted founders

The University of Warwick Science Park (UWSP) has received international acclaim for its role in supporting innovative start-up businesses.

The park, which is home to dozens of companies, was named as one of Europe’s leading start-up hubs in the inaugural edition of The Financial Times’ ‘Europe’s Leading Start-Up Hubs Special Report.’

UWSP is the only Science Park in the UK to be included in the list, reflecting the superb environment and support services created there to enable emerging companies to set-up, grow and thrive.

The UWSP has proved an enduring success story since it was established in 1982 as a joint venture company owned by Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the University of Warwick and the West Midlands Enterprise Board. In 2012 the University of Warwick acquired sole ownership of the Science Park, but it continues to work very closely with the councils. UWSP delivers the highly successful Business Ready programme for Warwickshire County Council while Warwick Innovation Centre, designed to meet the specific needs of innovative businesses, is a joint venture between UWSP and the County Council.

The Europe’s Leading Start-Up Hubs Special Report is based on research undertaken by the Financial Times and global data and business intelligence specialists Statista. They interviewed thousands of companies to find the best accelerator and incubator programmes in Europe. It’s recognition of UWSP coincides with the 40th anniversary of the park, its first site at the Venture Centre off Sir William Lyons Road having been opened Margaret Thatcher in 1984.

UWSP Chief Operating Officer, Mark Tock, believes the report will encourage even more ambitious start-ups to join the vibrant business community at UWSP and take space across the Science Park’s sites.

“Being named as one of the best start-up hubs in Europe is wonderful news for UWSP,” he said. “It is clear recognition of the strength of the support we give to all sorts of start-ups, which helps entrepreneurs de-risk their businesses and build towards consistent growth.

“The fact that the report is based on independent research and peer surveys means our inclusion has been fully earned. It’s a wonderful way to mark our 40th anniversary this year, and we’re looking forward to helping even more start-ups grow their ideas into successful businesses on the back of the report.”

UWSP Support for young businesses includes the Ignite Incubator programme which has seen over 700 companies access affordable office and lab space, high-growth and innovation programmes such as Business Ready, and the Minerva Business Angel Network which helps start-ups attract investment.

UWSP’s link with the University of Warwick allows start-ups to benefit from access to world class talent and research facilities and expertise.

One such start-up which has grown dramatically during its time at UWSP is pioneering health company Rightangled, which offers many different health tests for a range of conditions, such as heart disease and Covid-19, while also using patients’ DNA to help clinicians make more informed choices about treatments.

Founder Abdullah Sabyah moved into the Science Park through its Ignite programme and is now based in London after rapid growth.

He said: “The Ignite programme was fantastic for us – I had such little knowledge of how to put together a business plan and NHS procurement when starting out. The programme gave us the expertise we needed to achieve CQC accreditation, which really allowed the business to take off.”

Mark Tock added: “Rightangled is a fantastic example of how we can help a company grow from an idea to an incredible business. We’re looking forward to welcoming even more cutting-edge companies to UWSP in the coming years and helping them flourish.”

Engineering company eyes further growth after King's Award

Warwickshire-based Arrowsmith Engineering, manufacturer of precision aerospace components and part of the ASG Group, has received The King's Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2024.

The recognition is testament to the company's commitment to excellence and innovation, particularly during challenging times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the pandemic, the aviation industry was significantly turbulent. Civil aviation experienced a 40% reduction in activity and the company had to navigate through uncertain times. However, through innovation and resilience, Arrowsmith Engineering not only weathered the storm but emerged stronger than ever. 

The King's Award for Enterprise in International Trade acknowledges Arrowsmith Engineering's achievements in expanding its global footprint and driving export growth. This accolade recognises the company's commitment to delivering high-quality products and services, while also marking a significant milestone in its journey as a leader in the aerospace manufacturing sector. The King's Award for Enterprise will serve as a catalyst for further growth and expansion with plans to surpass £25 million in annual sales over the next two years and create additional job opportunities, including getting more women into engineering. 

Jason Aldridge, Managing Director of Arrowsmith Engineering, said: “The King’s Award is fantastic news for our business and is testimony to how our staff have gone above and beyond to help us overcome the troubles of the pandemic and emerge even stronger. It will help us with recruitment, especially when you consider we are competing with some major carmakers and aerospace primes locally."

“The process is one of the most stringent in business and I’m delighted for our wonderful staff. Yes, we have invested heavily in the best technology, but our people are still our greatest asset and selling point. This Award is for them.” 

To find out more about Arrowsmith Engineering, please visit www.asg-group.co/arrowsmith  

For companies interested in applying for an award and would like more information, please email the Warwickshire Lieutenancy at lieutenancy@warwickshire.gov.uk.  The Warwickshire Lieutenancy team has also prepared a locally focused brochure on the benefits of these awards and the appropriate steps that can be followed to apply. The brochure is available online at https://api.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/WCCC-1980322935-2072  

To find out more about The King’s Awards for Enterprise, please visit www.gov.uk/kings-awards-for-enterprise

Businesses benefit from Gallows Hill improvements

Work to improve Gallows Hill near Warwick has recently been completed with huge benefits and opportunities for local business.

Highways infrastructure is foremost among the county council’s areas of focus and is a key component in the economic development of the region.

The Gallows Hill project is expected to produce a range of benefits alongside reduced congestion, including improved journey times; increased business and retail activity in the area through improved links to Warwick and Leamington town centres

Works to connect the developments of Vistry and L&Q comprised a four-way, signalised junction, road widening and access points to the proposed residential developments, a new shared footway and cycleway facility and street lighting.

The scheme is part of a wider, £3.2 million improvement programme to the A452 Europa Way corridor - a key route between the M40, Leamington Spa and Warwick and provide future proofing for homes identified in the Warwick District Local Plan.

The Warwick District Local Plan has identified that approximately 4,500 homes will be built within the area by 2029, with an additional 3,000 homes in Stratford district, which will have a significant impact on the highways network. Opportunities for increased employment and job creation are also predicted within this period. For more information please visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/major-transport-construction-projects/a452-europa-way-corridor

Confidence returning to small business owners

"Small businesses contribute an enormous amount to the regional economy. A sustainable recovery is reliant upon on their success and growth”

Small business confidence in the West Midlands made a welcome return to positive territory at the beginning of 2024, according to the Federation of Small Businesses’ West Midlands Small Business Index (SBI) for Q1 2024.

The headline confidence measure rose from -20 for the final quarter of 2023 to reach +3 points in the first three months of 2024. This is the first positive outturn since Q1 2023, when the index stood at +7 points.

Despite tough trading conditions for the first three months of 2024, which saw a slight worsening of revenue generation and net employment levels, plus increases to staff costs, regional small business owners expressed a new-found confidence for the future.

Rob Harrison, West Midlands Policy Representative for FSB commented and partner in local branding consultancy Glued commented: “Having small business confidence back in positive territory in the opening months of 2024 is a relief, after 12 months of persistently negative results. The rebound in confidence levels in most sectors is a good indicator that the shallow recession recorded at the end of 2023 is firmly in the past, with small businesses keen to look ahead to expansion and better trading conditions."

Along with more positive news recently on inflation and interest rates, the Autumn Statement of 2023 and the more recent Spring Budget 2024 responded to key ‘asks’ from FSB. They provided tangible help for small businesses - notably the raising of the VAT threshold from £85,000 to £90,000 and the cut to National Insurance contributions.

“These steps towards creating better conditions for small business formation and growth must be built upon," added Rob. "Small businesses contribute an enormous amount to the regional economy. A sustainable recovery is reliant upon on their success and growth.”

Record number of Warwickshire winners of King's Awards for Enterprise 2024

A record eight King's Awards for Enterprise have been awarded to Warwickshire businesses this year. 

The King's Awards for Enterprise recognise business excellence across four different categories - Innovation, International Trade, Promoting Opportunity and Sustainable Development - with recipients permitted to fly the King's Awards flag at their main office and use the emblem on their marketing material for five years.

His Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for Warwickshire, Tim Cox, who will present the awards to each business during the year, said: "Warwickshire is renowned for its entrepreneurial achievements and there is no greater showcase for it than The King's Awards for Enterprise. Eight awards within the same year is a record number for Warwickshire - the County's average over the last ten years has been two per year, so this is a huge achievement. 

"These Awards are a great boost to the local economy and show our ability to attract and sustain successful companies which in turn support  our local communities. I congratulate each business for their hard work and commitment over the last year and I wish them every success for the future.

"As we look towards the next year of The King’s Awards for Enterprise, I encourage as many Warwickshire businesses as possible to consider applying. These awards are the highest accolade available to UK businesses and offer unparalleled prestige, exposure and credibility to successful companies.”

The Warwickshire recipients of The King's Awards for Enterprise 2024 are:


International Trade 

Promoting Opportunity 

Sustainable Development 

The Warwickshire Lieutenancy team also worked extensively with Horiba Mira based on the Leicestershire border, and the company won an Award in the Sustainable Development category. The team has prepared a locally focused brochure on the benefits of these awards and the appropriate steps that can be followed to apply. The brochure is available online at https://api.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/WCCC-1980322935-2072

For companies interested in applying for an award and would like more information, please email the Warwickshire Lieutenancy at lieutenancy@warwickshire.gov.uk.

To find out more about The King’s Awards for Enterprise, visit www.gov.uk/kings-awards-for-enterprise

Special Feature

Innovation Grant leads to multiple benefits for Lime's mission to help young people

"It’s been quite a journey and Robert and everyone I have dealt with at Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council has been incredibly helpful."

A small business on a mission to empower young people to build a better future has experienced “phenomenal” momentum shift triggered by an ERDF Innovation Grant accessed through Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council.

Lime works with local authorities and the police service to engage with young people through the creative and immersive technologies that are so central to their lives.

Founded in 2010 by Mark Ashfield, the business, based at the University of Warwick, is now reaching out to more young people than ever before thanks to an online platform launched with the ERDF Innovation Grant, accessed through the Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme.

That grant, managed by Coventry City Council, following guidance from Warwickshire County Council Business Growth Advisor, Robert Dyer, has led to growth and progress that Mark never envisaged. Lime is now reaching out to more young people in more communities, locally and even internationally.

“We exist around a mission to help young people choose their own better futures,” said Mark. “We bring together researchers, tech developers and engagement specialists to design programmes and interventions using the creative and immersive technologies that young people love to use.

“Our work is quite wide-ranging, but our new online platform brings it together, combining a disparate group of apps and technology all in one place. The ERDF grant funded the platform and has triggered a whole new phase for the business.

“I was always quite confident that the business could succeed, but was not just sure how to scale. That is now happening as the grant has enabled us to amplify our impact without having to over-resource the business. The momentum shift since acquiring the ERDF funding has been phenomenal.

“It has in turn attracted more interest and funding and led to a partnership with the University of Warwick which has been very supportive and offered us an office and research lab. Having a base at the University is brilliant because we can draw on expertise as and when needed. It is a great asset to have such immediate access to academic expertise and students.

“I’m working with the psychology department which led to me being invited to be part of the first ever Social Economy Growth Programme in the Midlands, through Aston University. That has led to Lime acquiring more funding from Innovate UK, which resulted from Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council securing funding for Immersive and Creative Industries. Robert made me aware of this new Launchpad grant and we were delighted to have been successful with our bid to secure funding from this competitive application process. This Launchpad funding will bolt on gamified learning and artificial intelligence to enable us to provide an even more personalised delivery to each young person using the platform.

“As a result of all of this, I was approached by the London School of Economics which invited me to join their Global Social Entrepreneurship programme and to see how we might scale this internationally. We are talking to schools in Australia, Sri Lanka and southern Africa. It’s been incredible how it has built and continues to build.

“It’s been quite a journey and Robert and everyone I have dealt with at Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council has been incredibly helpful. Our business is all about making a difference to the lives of young people and the support we have received from the councils is hugely helping us to do that.”

The impact of Lime, with a core staff of just four, is growing all the time to vindicate Mark’s decision, back in 2007, to jettison his career as a sales director for a media company.

“I had a reasonable career in corporate life but wanted to do something different, something that had public benefit,” he said. “One day when I was working in London with the Metropolitan Police, I overheard a conversation where they said they couldn’t break the cycle of violence among young people. They wanted a new approach. That’s where I got involved very much with the approach of ‘action research’ – talking to the people you are having an impact on.

“We worked with young people in Waltham Forest to make a film about life on the streets. It was more of a project than a business but everything just grew from there. We showed the film in schools and wrapped some education around it and West Midlands Police heard about it and got in touch…and it’s been evolving ever since. It started the whole research process where we started to understand that the reason these things were happening was that something profound had changed in society. There was a pattern of growing vulnerability among young people because they struggled to form an identity and were being influenced by all kinds of things online and offline.

“I am thrilled with the progress we are making and the impact we’re having, and so grateful for the support we have received. Without the grant it would have taken perhaps five years longer to reach this point because we would have to develop the technology piecemeal, whenever that money was available within the business. The grant funding has accelerated the process and perhaps even saved it. Will the issues be the same in five years time? Would we have missed the window of opportunity to make a difference? The grant has been critical.”

For more information on Lime Engage please visit https://www.engagelime.com/

Lime looking to grow in Warwickshire

Lime works predominantly across the West Midlands, Thames Valley and London but, with its new base at the University of Warwick, would love to grow its impact on the young people of Warwickshire.

Mark Ashfield’s message to the schools and businesses of the county is simple: “Let’s get working together.”

“I would love to do more in Warwickshire,” he said. “We are really keen to engage with Warwickshire businesses to support schools so that we can all work together with young people to develop the skills for the future. It is to everybody’s benefit because the skills that employers want are largely the same ones that keep young people safe.

“We do a lot of work in cities, but so many of the issues facing young people in 2024 emanate from online behaviour, so all young people are vulnerable whether they are in inner cities or rural communities. In the digital age, there are skills that we are losing, skills that children previously acquired naturally, so we have to find a way to continue to help them develop these skills. That means working with every school if we can.

“I am really interested in talking to other businesses which share the ethos of civic pride and helping the community. There are probably thousands of businesses out there that want to do more good but don’t know how. This is one way they could really help the young people in their community.”

For more information on Lime please visit https://www.engagelime.com/ or email mark.ashfield@engagelime.com

Guest column

Pedestrian Zone and more lighting would help transform Leamington

The Transforming Leamington project has recently carried out a thorough public engagement process to harvest views from residents about the future of their town. Part of this process was a meeting with the Warwickshire Youth Council who imparted a valuable perspective of their generation. Warwickshire Youth Council member Amelie Barker reports. 
Recently, I was invited to take part in a planning event for improvements to Leamington Town Centre, alongside other members of Warwickshire Youth Council.
We first looked at plans from other towns and cities and discussed what would be achievable in Leamington. We also talked about what we currently liked about the Leamington town centre, and features that we liked from other towns, before annotating maps with our ideas for how Leamington could be improved.
One issue that we raised was the environmental effect that traffic was having in Leamington Town Centre and how this would be improved if we could divert traffic away from the main street of the parade. We would love to see a pedestrian zone on the parade to reduce pollution and also reduce crowding on the pavement.
Something else that I'd like to see would be more lighting at the bottom of town, as this is an area that young people often don't feel safe in. Furthermore, we discussed having local art in different positions around the town to create more of a community feel.
Overall it was a great experience, and it was so interesting to find out what goes into planning improvements for towns. Our ideas were definitely listened to and have helped to form the new vision for Leamington Town Centre.


Upcoming events

Date Event Host Timings Venue Link
2024.06.04 Talk Property Warwickshire - Afternoon Tea - Studley Castle
Our Talk Property Brunch is back, and it's better than ever! Join us for an exclusive networking opportunity where you can meet, greet, and share insights with fellow Property Professionals. This is your chance to engage in one-on-one conversations, all centred around the exciting world of property in Warwickshire.
Talk Business UK 1530-1700 Studley Castle Weblink here
2024.06.04 Introduction to due diligence - Protecting your Reputation
This one hour introductory reputational damage presentation will include: 
An introduction to due diligence, giving you the comfort you need when trading overseas.
A look at why we should care and bother about conducting in depth due diligence?
Why 3rd parties can be risky?
What are the red flags and how can you identify them?
How you can assess and manage your 3rd party risks?
Your questions and answer session.

Who should attend
Business owners currently engaged in international trade as well as those looking to step into the export world for the first time.
Supply chain and purchasing professionals.
Finance Directors and legal professionals wanting to understand how to protect their businesses reputations and that of their clients.
Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber 1030-1130 Zoom Weblink here
2024.06.04 Road Transport Expo (4-6 June)
RTX is the tradeshow exclusively dedicated to the world of trucks and is ideal for anyone involved with the running of an HGV fleet or associated businesses.
It provides the opportunity to meet more than 200 suppliers, including all the major truck-makers, in one vast venue. You can check out the latest trucks, trailers, tippers, tankers, tyres, safety equipment, workshop kit manufacturers and much, much more. To make the most of your day browse our exhibitor list here.
Road Transport Expo 4-6 June NAEC Stoneleigh Weblink here
2024.06.04 Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Business Breakfast Networking
As part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Business Support programmes, we are excited to announce a face-to-face business breakfast networking event.
Join us at the Weston Hall Hotel in Bulkington in the borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth. This event is open to all businesses in the area. Come along for an informal networking meeting to build connections and potential collaborations.
Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council 0800-1100 Weston Hall Hotel, Bulkington Weblink here
2024.06.05 Warwick UNO - Talk Business networking
LIVE NETWORKING Twice a month - face 2 face.
Come along and help create the Talk Business Warwick UNO group!
A 'single seat' business networking group - WHAT SEAT WILL YOU WANT?
Everyone has the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.
Meeting for breakfast at the Delta Marriott Hotel Warwick
This group will meet for breakfast on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday EVERY MONTH 7:30-9:00 am
Talk Business UK 0730-0900 Delta Marriott Warwick Weblink here
2024.06.05 Stratford upon Avon Business Networking Brunch
We meet every Wednesday morning and our members benefit from new business, business advice and a support network for when times are challenging. Our members hold one business category each, (one solicitor, one accountant, etc.) – if you book and the slot is already taken, we’ll try point you in the direction of a local group with the seat available!
Network B2B 0930-1030 Online Weblink here
2024.06.05 Creating Calm out of Chaos for your Cash flow Catastrophes
This 90-minute session will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to take control of your finances.
Business Ready 1000-1130 Nuneaton Town Hall, Coton Road, Nuneaton, CV11 5AA Weblink here
2024.06.06 Talk Property Brunch - Kenilworth -Talk Business Members
Our Talk Property Brunch is back, and it's better than ever! Join us for an exclusive networking opportunity where you can meet, greet, and share insights with fellow Property Professionals. This is your chance to engage in one-on-one conversations, all centred around the exciting world of property in Warwickshire.
Talk Business UK 1000-1130 The Almanack Weblink here
2024.06.06 Mill Street Exchange
In partnership with Warwickshire County Council, the Mill Street Exchange is a free drop-in service offering no-nonsense business advice.
Warwickshire County Council 1000-1400 1 Mill Street, Leamington Spa Weblink here
2024.06.07 Unlocking Funding for Entrepreneurs: Coventry & Warwickshire Edition
Are you an entrepreneur or SME in the Coventry and Warwickshire region looking to secure funding for your business? Join us for an exclusive event designed to provide invaluable insights into various funding options available and how to navigate the funding landscape successfully.
Warwick Enterprises 1030-1600 The Climb, Mezzanine, Junction Building
University Road Coventry CV4 7EQ
Weblink here
2024.06.07 Business Buzz Leamington Spa
Business Buzz Leamington Spa is a fresh vibe in business networking. This Face to Face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire. First Friday of the month.
Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 Bar+Block Steakhouse Leamington Spa Weblink here
2024.06.07 Studley UNO Networking -Studley Castle
Join us and be part of the inception of the Talk Business STUDLEY UNO, a brand-new 'single seat' business networking group.
Talk Business UK 0730-0900 Warner Hotels - Studley Castle, Hardwick Lane Studley B80 7AJ Weblink here
2024.06.07 First Friday Networking at Royal Leamington Spa Bowling Club
Royal Leamington Spa Bowling Club was one of the locations chosen to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Club also hosts the annual Bowls England National Championships held each August and its five greens are used for a wide range of matches from County through to national and international competitions. We will hear from Club Chairman David Wigman before being able to have a try at bowling ourselves, supported by the Club’s coaches.
CW First Professionals 1230-1400 Royal Leamington Spa Bowling Club Weblink here
2024.06.10 FindaBiz Networking Nuneaton
FaB Networking with FindaBiz is a local business networking and business support organisation. Serious about helping you grow your business, in a positive and friendly setting with no scary rules. Help for business owners to make connections, build business relationships and find opportunities to do business. 2nd Monday of the month.
FaB Networking 1800-2000 Coton Sports and Social Club Weblink here
2024.06.11 How to build your business in the EU
Join us to look at how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) can help you increase your profits and customer base in the EU.
The UK-EU TCA means an agreement on reduced tariffs for UK businesses selling their goods and services moving from the UK to European customers.
Find out what the TCA means for you, along with any necessary regulations and controls you need to consider when trading with the EU, and the principle of rules of origin (ROO) may apply to your goods.
Department for Business & Trade 1400-1500 Online Weblink Here
2024.06.11 The Fold - Creative Mixer Event
If you're a freelancer or creative, this event is for you!
We're excited to announce that we are hosting a creative community mixer at The Fold, Leamington Guest speakers, drinks and networking.
The Fold is more than a workspace - it's a place to inspire, create, and learn.
We will be operating a cashless bar selling a variety of soft and alcoholic beverages.
The Fold 1800-2100 The Fold, Leamington Spa Weblink Here
2024.06.13 Leamington Networking Breakfast (2nd and 4th Thursday)
 independent group, run by members. Everyone who attends our breakfast meetings has a chance to talk about what their business can offer
Leamington Business Network 0700-0900 Whittles at Binswood Weblink here
2024.06.13 Business Buzz Rugby
Business Buzz Rugby is a fresh vibe in business networking. This face-to-face drop-in session which takres places on the 2nd Thursday of each month and is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire. 
Buzz Networks 1000-1200 The Windmill Inn, Rugby Weblink here
2024.06.14 Talk Property Warwickshire - Studley Castle
Join us at this Talk Property Day - a new event bringing together the Talk Property community for networking, knowledge sharing.
Talk Business UK 1030-1530 Studley Castle Weblink here
2024.06.16 Banbury Run
This is the world’s biggest gathering of motorcycles and three-wheelers produced before 1931, with up to 500 entrants starting their run from the Museum. 
Vintage Motorcycle Club 10am-4pm British Motor Musuem, Gaydon Weblink here
2024.06.17 Unleashing Potential: Understanding Psychological Change
Dr Suzanne Brown is pioneering a new approach to helping people invest in their ability to perform under pressure. By bridging Clinical and Performance psychology, she offers a unique opportunity to achieve a successful work-life harmony, boost productivity, improve self-awareness and have thriving relationships with yourself and others.
Suzanne is returning to Mill Street for a series of mental health workshops taking place in our vibrant coworking space.
1 Mill Street 1100-1200 1 Mill Street, Leamington Spa Weblink here
2024.06.18 Business Buzz Stratford-upon-Avon
Business Buzz Stratford-upon-Avon is a fresh vibe in business networking. This Face to Face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire.

There’s no membership, no pre-booking required, just £10 + VAT payable on our app in advance, or at the event.

Meeting every 3rd Tuesday of each month between 10am-12pm
Buzz Networks 1000-1200 All Bar One, Bell Court Weblink here
2024.06.19 Rail Live (19-20 June)
The only rail exhibition in the UK that takes place in a real rail environment.
Immerse yourself in hundreds of live demonstrations and industry announcements across rail plant, machinery and the surrounding rail supply chain.
Bauer Media 19-20 June Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre Weblink here
2024.06.20 Business Buzz Warwick
Business Buzz Warwick is a fresh vibe in business networking. This face-to-face drop-in session which takes place on the 3rd Thursday of each month and is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire.
Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 The Globe Weblink here
2024.06.21 Coventry Motofest - 2 Days
Weekend event celebrating all things automotive - see cars at venues around the city, outside on display and running on the ring road. Family friendly event and anyone interested in the car. 
Coventry Motofest 1-2 June Coventry City Centre Weblink here
2024.06.27 Leamington Networking Breakfast (2nd and 4th Thursday)
 independent group, run by members. Everyone who attends our breakfast meetings has a chance to talk about what their business can offer
Leamington Business Network 0700-0900 Whittles at Binswood Weblink here
2024.06.27 Employee Ownership Trust Seminar
Join us for an exciting morning of insights and discussions at Coventry & Warwickshire's Local Labour Market Symposium! This in-person event will be held at Warwick Trident College (part of WCG), located at Poseidon Way, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick, UK. Discover the latest trends, opportunities, and challenges in our local labour market. Network with industry experts, employers, and fellow professionals. Gain valuable knowledge to help you navigate the ever-changing job landscape. 
CW Chamber 0830-1030 Radcliffe, Warwick Conferences Weblink here
2024.06.28 BIG Breakfast - Let's Talk Business Networking at the Farm
Join us at Let's Talk Business BIG Breakfast, a monthly open networking event where local businesses come together to connect and collaborate. We believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful business, and this event is all about fostering those relationships.
Talk Business UK 0730-0900 The Farm, Snitterfield Weblink here
2024.07.03 CW Champions - July Event 2024
Join us for our summer Champions event! We are hosting our event at Butts Park Arena, Coventry. We are expecting high numbers for this event so get in early and reserve your space!
CW Champions 0730-0930 Butts Park Arena, Butts Road, Coventry. CV1 3GE Weblink here
2024.07.05 Business Buzz Leamington Spa
Business Buzz Leamington Spa is a fresh vibe in business networking. This Face to Face drop-in session is a great way to catch up with the local business community in Warwickshire. First Friday of the month.
Buzz Networks 10:00-12:00 Bar+Block Steakhouse Leamington Spa Weblink here
2024.07.14 BMC & Leyland Show supported by Peter James Insurance
Celebrate the best of the British motor industry and see hundreds of vehicles produced by BMC, British Leyland and Rover Group at the British Motor Museum.
BMC & Leyland Show 10am-4pm British Motor Museum, Gaydon Weblink here
2024.07.19 Engineering Futures Webinar Series
What is possible with 3D printing: Now and in the future?
On 20th July, Ruaridh Mitchinson from the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at the MTC will give a detailed overview of the art of the possible in 3D Printing, today and in the future. Running through current applications of technology, what the state of the art in AM is and highlighting clear areas of opportunity. Finally, Ruaridh will detail ways for companies to begin their AM journey.
MTC 900 Online Weblink here
2024.07.21 Rootes Heritage Day
All kinds of Classic Rootes Group vehicles come together and celebrate at the British Motor Museum. Whether that's pre 70’s cars like the Hillman’s, Humbers, Singers or Sunbeams or the later Chrysler, Simca and Talbot products or commercial vehicles such as Commer, Karrier, and Kew Dodge. 
Rootes Trust 10am-4pm British Motor Museum, Gaydon Weblink here
2024.07.28 Jaguar Summer Festival
The Summer Jaguar Festival celebrating 40 years of the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club with presenting partners AFWM and SNG Barratt.
The largest Jaguar Club in the world, the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2024, so join them at the British Motor Museum as they pull out all the stops to bring you the best festival of all things Jaguar whilst looking back at the Club’s achievements over the last 40 years.
Jaguar Enthusiasts Club 10am-4pm British Motor Museum, Gaydon Weblink here
2024.08.31 The Aston Martin Heritage Festival
The Aston Martin Heritage Trust will be returning to The British Motor Museum, Gaydon to celebrate the fourth Aston Martin Heritage Festival. This year, the Aston Martin Heritage Trust will be celebrating 30 years of the DB7. If you’ve got a DB7 at home, there’s no better time to bring it to the event! 
Aston Martin Heritage Trust 9am-4pm British Motor Museum, Gaydon Weblink here
2024.09.04 CENEX Expo - 2 Days
Building on the legacy of Cenex-LCV & CAM, Cenex Expo will stimulate ideas and showcase technology, bringing together the people who will deliver the net zero and connected automated mobility future.
CENEX 4-5 September Millbrook Weblink here
2024.09.18 Micromobility UK 2024
Motorcycle Live in association with Bikesure Insurance welcomed thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts across the weekend as the doors swung open to the UK’s biggest motorcycle show. 
WMG All day WMG Campus Weblink here
2024.10.30 Advanced Engineering 2024 (30th-31st October)
The 14th edition of Advanced Engineering will celebrate innovation, collaboration and sustainability within the engineering and manufacturing industries. Engineering professionals from all sectors come together to network, learn and discover innovative new solutions and suppliers from the engineering supply chain across two action-packed days.
Easyfairs 30th and 31st October NEC, Birmingham Weblink here
2024.10-09 Engineering Design Show
EDS has been showcasing the very best of mechanical, electronics and embedded design for over a decade. It is THE show for design engineers who are looking for direct access to the latest products, services and innovations available to the sector.
Mark Allen Group 9-10 October CBS Arena, Coventry Weblink here
2024.11.08 Classic Motor Show (3 Days)
The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, which brings together a great array of classic car and motorcycle clubs along with their iconic classic and vintage cars and motorbikes, is an event not to be missed. No matter what you’re looking for, this is the ultimate season finale for any classic car/bike owner, collector, enthusiast, club member, or simply anyone with a passion for classic vehicles! 
Clarion Events 3 Day Event NEC, Birmingham Weblink here
2024.11.12 Euro Bus Expo
Euro Bus Expo is the single industry showcase, taking place every other year at the NEC, Birmingham.
Diversified Communications UK All day x2 days NEC, Birmingham Weblink here
2024.11.16 Motorcycle Live - November
Motorcycle Live in association with Bikesure Insurance welcomed thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts across the weekend as the doors swung open to the UK’s biggest motorcycle show. 
MCIA 16-24 November NEC, Birmingham Weblink here
2024.16.11 Leamington Speakers Club
Leamington Spa Speakers Club is here to help you conquer your fears of public speaking and achieve your goals. Whether you want to make a better business presentation, give a speech at a wedding or birthday, chair a meeting, propose a toast, or say what you mean at work.
You can expect -
A mix of speaking activities on a wide range of subjects. The content is never the same, but without fail, the evenings are thought-provoking and amusing in equal measure.
1 Mill Street 1930-2130 1 Mill Street, Leamington Spa Weblink here

Talk Up Our Towns

Skills event will tap into Coleshill resurgence

"“It is great to see so much positivity around Coleshill and we are proud to hold be hosting an event which brings our communities and local businesses together under one roof to create the conditions for connections and growth to take place."

Local workers and businesses will be brought together at a business and skills event in Coleshill in June.

Warwickshire Skills Hub and partners will host a drop-in public event at Coleshill Town Hall on Tuesday 11 June between 10am and 1pm.

The in-person event will act as a space for local businesses to connect with others in their fields of interest, discover new ideas to expand their business offer and find out about support or funding potentially available to them.

A full range of personal and business support organisations will be there to showcase their offers, covering training, recruitment, funding, and much more. Partners include the Coleshill Partnership, Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Department of Work and Pensions, Federation of Small Businesses, North Warwickshire Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council. Everyone is welcome to attend from Coleshill, the rest of North Warwickshire and beyond.

The event will tap into a growing sense of positivity and confidence among Coleshill’s business community as the town welcomes several new businesses in the town centre. The proactive approach of businesses through the Coleshill Partnership, supported by local authorities, has resulted in an eight per cent increase in footfall in the town centre in the first quarter of this year.

A big factor in this has been the return of the town’s historic Farmer’s Market which is back up and running on St Peter’s Walk and The Croft on the first Friday of every month.

The recent St George’s Parade and inaugural Teenage Market were hugely successful and contributed to the increased footfall while the long-awaited arrival of traffic lights at the Birmingham Road/High Street crossroads has materially helped traffic flows.

Heartflood, expert consultants in place management and development, has been commissioned by North Warwickshire Borough Council to support the town and identify potential funding streams for further improvements.

John Whitehead, from Heartflood, said: “It is a real pleasure to be working with the Coleshill Partnership and other stakeholders in the town because there is such an ethos of togetherness. It is really refreshing to see so such a proactive approach and so many people pulling for the collective good.

“We are working hard towards applying for funding towards some exciting capital projects, so watch this space!”

Donna Bilson, of the Coleshill Partnership, said: “There is a real buzz around Coleshill right now and it’s wonderful to see people choosing to set up new businesses in the town, each one bringing something new and different. The traffic flows and parking in the town centre are much improved and that is reflected in the increased footfall.

“We are really pleased that the Coleshill Partnership is proving to be an effective catalyst for the town’s businesses coming together. The Partnership is exactly what it says, a way for our businesses to talk to each other and recommend each other. We are just a means of bringing people together and it’s great that so many businesses have responded. It would be lovely to have every business in Coleshill involved…you don’t need to sign up to anything – just join the conversation!”  

Warwickshire County Council is delighted to be joining the collective effort in Coleshill by hosting the Skills Hub drop in event at the Town Hall next month.

Warwickshire County Council’s Executive Director for Communities, Mark Ryder, said: “It is great to see so much positivity around Coleshill and we are proud to hold be hosting an event which brings our communities and local businesses together under one roof to create the conditions for connections and growth to take place.

“These events create opportunities for our residents to further develop their skills to meet the business needs of the future, and for businesses to develop their offer to attract the best workforce - which promotes sustainable growth, investment and a diverse economy.

“It is really encouraging that new businesses are arriving in Coleshill. I would urge those new businesses and all businesses in the town to have a good look at the wide range of business support offered by the County Council and our partners in the region to see how it may benefit them.”

Those interested in attending the skills drop in event can pre-book their place for free via Eventbrite here  Those navigating to the event can input the following address: Coleshill Town Hall, Birmingham, B46 3BG.

To find out what other support is available, please visit or https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/businesssupport, call Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747 or visit https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk

News in Brief

Latest news in brief...

Volklec to manufacture electric vehicle batteries in Warwickshire 

Volklec, a new UK manufacturing business making batteries for electric vehicles, has launched at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Baginton to manufacture sustainable batteries for on-road, off-highway and track vehicles. 


Hansgrohe’s New UK HQ Officially Opens its Doors 

Hansgrohe, the leading manufacturer in the bathroom industry, has recently officially unveiled its new Warwick-based UK headquarters to key stakeholders and customers. The HQ move is part of an overall £5m investment and a key landmark in the company’s strategic growth plans. The new head office provides 40,000 sq. ft of capacity, more than doubling the size of Hansgrohe’s previous UK HQ footprint in Surrey. 


Sertec Group wins prestigious national manufacturing award 

Sertec Group, which employs more than 1,200 people across six international locations including Coleshill, has been named the Confederation of British Metalforming’s (CBM) 2024 Company of the Year, with its employee engagement and improvement strategy proving particularly impressive to the judging team.    


Warwickshire's aerospace manufacturer ANT Industries celebrates record growth 

Precision engineering firm ANT Industries is celebrating a year of unprecedented growth, announcing orders in excess of £30m won over the next 3 years. The firm, headquartered in Atherstone, Warwickshire, specialises in the manufacturing of components for aerospace and gas turbine engines, 


Auto Fasteners takes another three units in Southam 

A leading global supplier of fasteners and metal engineered components to the automotive has taken 15,000 sq ft of extra space at the new Sucham Park development in Southam.  

They’ll provide warehouse, assembly, quality inspection and office space for the business, which supplies parts to Volvo Group, Scania, Daimler Group, Ford, Stellantis, VW Group, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover. 


King’s Award winner Arrowsmith secures multimillion-pound contracts 

Arrowsmith Engineering, the Exhall-based manufacturer of precision aerospace components, has secured a string of new multimillion-pound contracts. They come just days after the firm was announced to have won a King’s Award for Enterprise in the international trade category. 


LoudLocal Moves into Leamington Spa Creative Quarter 

A digital marketing agency previously based in Kenilworth is moving to Leamington Creative Quarter. LoudLocal is relocating to a larger space in Leamington Spa’s Spencer Yard to house its growing team of digital creatives. 


Tevva prepares to call in administrators while seeking rescue deal 

British electric truck manufacturer Tevva has confirmed that it’s preparing to call in administrators while seeking a rescue deal. The Essex-based business has a base at MIRA Technology Park where it tests and develops vehicles. 


techUK and TechWM sign strategic agreement to accelerate region's digital economy 

techUK, the technology trade association, has signed an agreement to work more closely with TechWM. By formalising their partnership, techUK and TechWM will together raise the profile of the West Midlands' tech sector while trying to raise funding, improve skills and encourage companies to adopt digital technologies to improve productivity. 


UK needs quarter of a million extra construction workers by 2028 

More than a quarter of a million extra construction workers are needed in the UK over the next five years to meet demand. The latest annual Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) construction skills network (CSN) report lays bare the persistent gap between what the UK needs and the workforce available. 


New chair for North Warks chamber is familiar face 

The new chair of a business group that serves the north of Warwickshire has vowed to showcase the region’s strengths at every opportunity. Sarah Windrum, the future mobility cluster lead at HORIBA MIRA is the new chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s North Warwickshire Local Business Forum. 


Warwickshire College Group appoints new chief executive 

The WCG group of colleges in Warwickshire and Worcestershire with with more than 10,000 students has appointed a new chief executive. The group is made up of six colleges in the two counties, offering courses across engineering, horticulture and land-based specialities. It is also the largest college provider of apprenticeship training in Coventry and Warwickshire, with up to 1,700 apprentices. 


Sustainable Warwickshire

Climate Hubs to open in Rugby and Stratford

"The launch of these climate hubs shows the spirit of collaboration and empowerment that defines Warwickshire communities."

Warwickshire businesses and residents can discover the power of local action in the latest episode of Sustainable Warwickshire, the podcast that focuses on all things climate change and sustainability in the county. 

The new episode - “Climate Hubs” - showcases the remarkable efforts of volunteers from two community groups who will shortly be opening a physical space, called a climate or eco-hub, in the vibrant town centres of Rugby and Stratford.

These hubs are poised to become dynamic spaces for community engagement, information sharing and collaborative climate action. Both are opening in town centre locations to capitalise on and contribute to the local economy, and also have plans to co-locate with local businesses such as zero waste retailers.

The latest episode of the Sustainable Warwickshire podcast can be heard here: https://sustainablewarwickshire.podbean.com/  In it, Alex Becker from Transition Town Rugby and Stephen Norrie from Net Zero Stratford explain the origins and purposes of these two groups and the tangible benefits that these hubs offer to our communities.

From raising awareness of climate change, to providing practical advice on sustainable living, the episode demonstrates how grassroots initiatives can drive positive change from the ground up. The two guests share their visions for the hubs as inclusive spaces where residents and businesses can come together to exchange ideas, access resources, and participate in community events.

Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The launch of these climate hubs shows the spirit of collaboration and empowerment that defines Warwickshire communities and the dedication of volunteers like Alex and Stephen is inspiring. Their efforts demonstrate the power of community-driven solutions to address environmental challenges and raising awareness of practical, everyday things that we can all do to make a difference. We were delighted to hear all about their progress as part of the latest Sustainable Warwickshire podcast, and proud to share their stories." 

The Sustainable Warwickshire podcast series is for those people living and working in Warwickshire who care about climate change. It features conversations with people from across the county who are taking action to reduce carbon emissions and support biodiversity. It covers subjects such as energy, waste and recycling, transport, infrastructure and the green economy, whilst also giving Warwickshire residents ideas on how to get involved and play their part.  

You can find the Sustainable Warwickshire podcast on Spotify or Apple by searching for “Sustainable Warwickshire”. All episodes are also available at: https://sustainablewarwickshire.podbean.com/  

For more information on climate change, please visit https://www.sustainablewarwickshire.co.uk    

To sign-up to the Warwickshire County Council climate change and sustainability newsletter, [lease visit: http://eepurl.com/hrk-zf   

Energy Efficiency Grants of up to £100,000 available to SMEs

Coventry and Warwickshire businesses could be eligible for grants up to £100K

  • Free energy audits to help businesses reduce the cost of energy bills
  • Energy efficiency grants available for SMEs based in West Midlands and Warwickshire
  • £1,000 to £100,000 grants at up to 50% intervention rate (for example a project costing £10,000 you could receive a £5,000 grant)
  • The project could cover energy efficiency improvements such as a new boiler, lighting upgrade, new windows and more.

Small or medium-sized businesses based in Coventry or Warwickshire could qualify for energy efficiency grants ranging from £1,000 to £100,000.

These grants are offered by Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council and can be used for various purposes such as installing a new boiler, replacing old machinery, lighting upgrades and more.

Over the last nine years, over 800 SMEs have accessed similar grants, reporting annual savings of thousands of pounds on energy bills. All SMEs are encouraged to join the hundreds of SMEs who have already benefited from these grants and start their journey towards a more sustainable and cost-effective future.

To take the first step, please filling out the interest form today and see how you can start saving thousands of pounds on your energy bills annually. Don't delay - the future of your business's energy efficiency could start today. Please start the process now at https://bit.ly/LeadGenY2

Groundbreaking warehouse development opens in Nuneaton

A major new sustainable warehousing development known as the Rhenus Campus has opened in Nuneaton.

Third-party logistics provider Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK has delivered the campus which reaches high levels of sustainability and is certified ‘BREEAM Outstanding.’

A great boost for the local economy in and around Nuneaton, the Rhenus Campus, built by Baytree Logistics Properties, is home to two warehouses measuring a total of one million square feet across 64 acres. The first warehouse is 210,000 square feet, whereas the second warehouse totals 771,000.

Significant reductions in whole life carbon are being achieved, such as the CLT timber floors being 64 per cent lower embodied carbon than a standard floor and three air source heat pumps (enough to heat and ventilate the campus’ offices and provide frost protection for the warehouses). Eighty electric car charging points have been installed.

Renewable energy is being generated on-site via 2,288 415-watt solar panels, which give a total system size of over 949 kWp (kilowatt peak). The system will feed an estimated 870,000 kWh per annum into the campus – the equivalent power consumption of approximately 250 homes for a year.

The site features extensive green spaces, homes for local wildlife and between 700 and 900 native trees. Employees can utilise on-site allotments, sports pitches, a walking/cycling trail and outdoor gym. Rhenus is also running a Community Outreach Programme, in which it has partnered with Nuneaton Borough Ladies and Girls FC, Attleborough Sports JFC, the Nuneaton branch of the British Gurkha Veterans Association and Dare2Dream Foundation, allowing them to use the company’s facilities.

Mike Gamble, Managing Director at Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK, said: “This is a hugely significant milestone for us. A lot of work has gone into making the Rhenus Campus reach such impressive sustainability goals, and we are proud to have officially opened the development. We are looking forward to providing our customers with innovative solutions from this environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art facility.”

Amit Babbar, UK Development Director at Baytree, said: “We are proud to have delivered the ‘Rhenus Campus’ project at Baytree, Nuneaton. The project incorporates numerous industry firsts on a development of this scale, notable among which is the office building that comprises of offices on three floors and an atrium at lower ground level for Unit 2, whose structure is made entirely from timber.”

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