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Archive for March, 2017

Hunter Hall pupils ditch the pitch for ballet

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Year six pupils at Hunter Hall School in Penrith have been introduced to the world of ballet this term as a way of improving and developing their fitness and core body strength.

Bishop Yard School of Dance teacher Miss. Booth (parent of Grace Addison) has been asked to deliver ballet lessons to the year six group, who are working towards producing a contemporary dance routine of their own.

The lessons have come about after Mr Andrew Hetherington; Director of Sport at Hunter Hall was inspired by sports clubs using dance to improve their fitness.  Members of Carlisle United and the youth team at Wigan Warriors have been participating in ballet sessions to develop their flexibility and strength and to assist in injury prevention.

Mr Hetherington said,

 “I was keen for the children to develop their sporting talents to the full and was inspired after researching and reading about Wigan Warriors rugby players who were on a mission to break down ballet stereotypes – the team take weekly classes in ballet to improve posture, and reduce injury particularly to ankles and knees.”

Whilst there is much press coverage of ‘couch potato’ children and studies showing that approximately half of children are overweight by the age of 7, Hunter Hall School takes sport and fitness very seriously, believing that physical well-being goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing.  A fit and healthy body leads to a fit and healthy mind, which is ripe for learning.

The children of Hunter Hall School, both girls and boys have embraced the lessons, are up for the challenge and look forward to learning a new dimension of their games curriculum.

Yellowbus Solutions to bring High Speed Internet to Westlakes

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Warrington based Yellowbus Solutions have recently expanded their operation into Cumbria and have begun work improving the network infrastructure in and around Westlakes Science and Technology Park.

Since opening the new office at the start of the year, Yellowbus Solutions have been making significant efforts to improve the Westlakes internet infrastructure with the aim of bringing super-fast broadband speeds to the area.

The company, which has been operating out of their Warrington HQ since 2000, moved into the Innovation Centre in December and is already providing IT services to many Westlakes based firms.  Yellowbus Solutions are specialists in managed IT support, cloud solutions, hosted telephony and internet services.  The move to Cumbria came following an acquisition of Furness Internet’s connectivity infrastructure at the site.

Michael Pemberton, CEO of Britain’s Energy Coast, the owners and operators of Westlakes Science & Technology Park, welcomed Yellowbus Solutions;

“Not only does the arrival of Yellowbus signify a great investment into Cumbria by a firm committed to local growth and employment, but it also brings a strengthen relationship with BEC and a key Westlakes infrastructure partner. We have been actively reviewing services at Westlakes to ensure the site is a top choice for businesses in the area, and connectivity is a critical upgrade area for us. We are pleased to see Yellowbus get to work quickly the region and make positive steps towards upgrading the capacity and quality of the broadband connections at our site.”

Yellowbus Solutions have a strong track record providing internet and other IT services to the nuclear industry and will put its experiences of running the connectivity network at Birchwood Park in Warrington, where they are based, to good use as it expands at Westlakes.

Connectivity has long been a pressure point for Cumbrian businesses and both BEC and Yellowbus believe the upgrades to the infrastructure at Westlakes will be of significant benefit to tenants at Westlakes.

Commenting on the expansion and upgrade, Michael Ruck, Director of Yellowbus said;

“The expansion into Westlakes Science & Technology Park was a natural decision for Yellowbus.  We have worked on several projects in Cumbria within the nuclear and engineering industries. These are a growing and important part of the UK’s economy and companies operating in these sectors require an IT infrastructure that is reliable, secure, efficient and flexible. Yellowbus has secured its reputation in those areas and we are confident we can deliver for Cumbrian businesses.”

Moving into Cumbria will allow Yellowbus to offer innovative products and services to an ever expanding client base throughout the North West Science Corridor and beyond.

Anyone wishing for further information regarding the new connectivity options around Westlakes are encouraged to contact Jacob Glover on 01946 552 633

A first for Cumbria – virtual reality tours at Carleton Manor Park, Penrith

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Cumbrian Homes have launched the next phase of their housing development at Carleton Manor Park in Penrith, with an innovative new Virtual Reality tour of the site and 13 new apartments.

 The 360o computer generated virtual tour allows the buyer to actually see what the site is going to look like once complete and takes away the guess work for buyers.  When customers visit the site and stand in one of the several hotspots, the smart technology allows the user to view a 360o Augmented Reality (AR) virtual representation of the development on Smartphones or Tablets.  The tour gives a real sense of how the development is going to look and you can ‘virtually’ walk around.

The tour was created by James Bullimore at Jabster Ltd, who is based in Skirwith, near Penrith.  James has over 20 years of experience working in 3D design.  The Carleton Manor development has been expertly 3D modelled and textured by James to Architects drawings and specifications.  These 3D house models have then been positioned within a 3D landscape of Carleton Manor Park with accurate contouring based on Ordnance Survey Benchmark (OSBM) topographic survey maps.

Cumbrian Homes use high-quality products and features in their homes, which add to the customers buying experience.  Having a virtual tour of Carleton Manor Park is a modern sales tool that can inform customers and help them to make important decisions when buying a new home.

Scott Edwards, Commercial Manager at Cumbrian Homes said,

“Technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in all aspects of our lives, and we’re continually developing as a company to ensure we’re at the forefront of this. 

Not only do we use innovative building materials and technology in our homes, but we are now leading the way in how we sell our homes too.  Many other developers use 360o videos of houses they have already built.  However, where our tour is unique is that it is based on computer generated designs taken from architect’s drawings and site plans.  This provides a really powerful tool for our homebuyers, giving increased confidence and allowing them to visualise their new home and its environment before construction even starts – we believe we’re one of the first in the UK, and certainly  Cumbria, to offer this!”

At the launch of The Manor apartment block at Carleton Manor Park, visitors can view the tour with Virtual Reality (VR) goggles making for immersive viewing.  They can also experience firsthand what the interior of the apartment block will look like, which will also be available for VR viewing for the first time.  The Virtual Reality experience delivers a sense of realism allowing the viewer to feel like they are actually walking around Carleton Manor Park and inside the Manor building and apartments, with the aid of virtual reality goggles.

Scott added,

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience and while physical viewings will always be important to get a sense of scale, virtual reality can really bring the space to life before it exists and help our buyers make informed decisions. We actively encourage earlier buyer involvement so they can truly personalise their new home with us – so we feel the VR and AR technologies are an exciting and logical fit for us. ”

 Customers will be able to make use of the virtual reality technology on-site using smartphones and tablets, or off-site via a smartphone with a virtual reality cardboard viewer, or by visiting where the tour can be viewed on screen.

 The Manor apartment block and its flanking buildings contain 13 luxury apartments, including 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, from £228,000.


International Women’s Day

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017


8th March is International Women’s Day.  This is a day to celebrate women in the workplace and to encourage every person – both women and men to play a part in helping drive better outcomes for women and helping to create a more gender inclusive world.

I have never personally felt that my gender has stopped me from doing what I wanted in life or in my career.  I guess I grew up in a changing world where there were more opportunities.  For my grandmother, this would have been so much different.  At that time they would traditionally have done domestic jobs or stayed at home with the children; not having the opportunities in education as I did.  I think we’ve moved on even more since I was at school and see lots of gender inclusive opportunities for children; including my step daughter playing football or the opportunities (or acceptance) she has to pursue careers that may have traditionally been associated with males.

Being a business owner I understand the challenges faced by those who run a business regardless of being a man or a woman.  And being a Mum now too, the additional challenges I face trying to juggle both.  I’m not sure there are as many Dad’s who stay at home to raise the children and run a business?

Running a business never really occurred to me as being an option when I was at school.  However, I recently read that women account for under a third of those in self-employment, but over half the increase in self-employment since the recession started in 2008. Between 2008 and 2011 women accounted for an unprecedented 80% of the newly self-employed.

There are now almost 1.5 million women self-employed which represent an increase of around 300,000 since before the economic downturn

Women account for 17% of business owners, ie. owners/ managers/ employers.  However, there is still a long way to go.

I feel passionate about being a woman in business, inspiring young girls and encouraging them to think about running a business as a future career.  I feel proud of what I have achieved and keep achieving (despite often sending emails with a baby on my knee or catching up on work at 10 pm).

I have always been inspired by other women in business and looked up to them.  People such as Jacqueline Gold and Karen Brady are my icons.  Closer to home my old boss, Liz Pugh at Walk the Plank was such an inspiration to me.

For the past 2 years, I have won the award for Sole Trader of the year at the North West Enterprise Vision awards.  These awards celebrate women and all we do in business.  I feel this award really recognises what I have achieved and the battles I face running my own business.  There are so many fantastic women in business that ought to be recognised and by having events like International Women’s Day and the EVA awards really highlights the power and influence women can have.

I hope that when my daughter enters the working world things have moved on even further – with more opportunities, equal pay and support for women’s advancement.