Cotton Court Business Centre


Spotlight On Success: UCLan

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Our ‘Spotlight On Success’ series takes a look at the accomplishments of the people we work with, and the factors that make them successful.


As the saying goes… “You are the average of the company you keep”, and we’re big believers that one of the keys to your own success, is by surrounding yourself with successful & positive people.


This week we have the privilege of covering one of the biggest local success stories and an organisation we’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

View of St.Peters Church & the University Library from the Adelphi roundabout

Alongside working with UCLan over the years, we’re also host to many of its alumni at Cotton Court Business Centre. Many of the business owners, their employees and our own staff are past students. Starting their journey to success on their Preston city centre campus, or one of the many off campus facilities around the northwest.


2018 see’s UCLan’s 190th birthday, with a series of events and celebrations being run by the university and the local community to mark the occasion. In honour of our relationship with UCLan, and the impact it’s had upon our own organisation and those we work with, we’re running a special Spotlight On Success series throughout the month of February.


Each week we’re going to look at the successful UCLan alumni we work with, and find out how their time there influenced and shaped their future success.


Who are they?


The University of Central Lancashire are a higher education establishment based in Preston city centre, but with a presence in towns such as Burnley, Moor Row and even a campus in Cyprus.


They can trace their history back to 1828, 23 years before Cotton Court opened its doors, when Prestonian businessman Joseph Livesey inspired a group of locals to form the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge. Over the years as it expanded, the name of the organisation changed, before finally being granted university status in 1992, becoming the University of Central Lancashire.


The university has a community of over 38,000 students and staff, and is an important part of the economy in the areas that it operates.

On Campus

What do they do?


UCLan is a public university, providing a range of higher education courses & research, and playing an important role in supporting local enterprise. It is ranked as the leading UK university for incubated start-up businesses still active after three years of trading, is ranked second in the UK for the number of graduate start-ups still active overall, and ranked third in the UK for estimate turnover for active firms.


It’s clear to see from those facts that the university has a strong focus on the application of its courses to the world of business, enterprise and entrepreneurship.


Who do they work with?


UCLan accepts students from across the UK, and has a strong contingent of international students. They offer a range of courses including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study. They’re also actively engaged in research in a variety of topics, with the standard being considered world class.


In addition to working with students, the university actively engages and supports local business, public sector and non-profit organisations, playing an important part in the local community and economy.


They’ve also recently supported The American University of the Caribbean (AUC), taking on over 700 medical students after being displaced from their Caribbean island campus as a result of Hurricane Irma.

The university library

What makes them successful?


UCLan’s diverse course offering, its solid reputation and ability to move with the times has proven popular amongst students from around the world. Preston’s good transport links and central location within Lancashire, mean that it is within easy reach of many major cities for students travelling home for the weekend, or those that live within the northwest and commute to study.


Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court and UCLan alumni says:


“For me, UCLan’s ability to move with the times and adapt to societal and market changes has been one of its main strengths and key to success. They offer a wide range of courses that appeal to many different audiences, but they don’t suffer from over-extending; they grow organically and ensure they do everything well. Their teaching staff and lecturers are world class, the campus is a good mix of historical and modern, and the location is ideal.


The universities involvement with local businesses and the connections they’ve made has been equally important and mutually beneficial. Many students go on to work within local SME’s and larger organisations, and there is a strong effort to support entrepreneurialism. Student placements within local businesses are common, and provide benefits to both the business and the student, and solidify the symbiotic relationship the university has with local stakeholders.


I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLan, and it positively impacted upon my future career. They’re valued partners and clients of Cotton Court, and we wish them a happy 190th birthday!”


Sana Iqbal, President of UCLan Students’ Union says:

“UCLan students succeed because they are given many opportunities to make the most of their student experience and develop skills to improve their employability.

At the Students’ Union, we provide a range of volunteering opportunities for students in a number of areas including: Sports, Societies, Democracy, Student Media, Inspiring projects and Academic representation. These roles allow students to explore interests, express their passions and enjoy their time at UCLan to the best of their ability – all which leads to a happy and successful future!”



How can you find them?


You can get in touch with UCLan course enquiries by email at:


Visit their website at:

Or call general enquiries on: 01772 201 201


If you’d like to find out more about the UCLan 190th birthday celebrations, visit the site at:

Preston wins back talent from Manchester to support growth 

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Preston based group of companies hires new Interim Marketing Director to support local growth  


The Preston based group that operates Cotton Court Business Centre and operates a number of leisure, tech and property businesses, has appointed an Interim Marketing Director on a 6-month agreement to support a period of growth & development.  

Jack Barron, who is originally from Preston, joins the group after a number of years living and working in Manchester. The 30-year-old initially moved to Manchester to pursue a career within a city centre media agency, working his way to becoming a director in the company, and achieving his Masters from Manchester Metropolitan University.  He broke away last year to set up his own consultancy business, specialising in helping small to medium sized businesses, a business he still operates across Lancashire & Greater Manchester. 

“I couldn’t be happier taking on this role with the Cotton Court Group. There are a wide variety of businesses within the portfolio for me to get stuck into and do good work for, but I’m especially looking forward to working on the Cotton Court Business Centre side of things. My passion is helping SME’s, which aligns perfectly with what Cotton Court have been doing for many years.” The former UCLan student said. 


“There’s loads going on at Cotton Court in the very near future with the pods being built, expansion of our service offering, the free events and resources we’re running for small businesses and a number of things that haven’t been announced yet. It’s not just a period of growth for Cotton Court, it’s a period of growth for Preston. You only have to look at the recent investment in the City Centre and Queens retail park. I’m glad to be back and to be a part of it.” He continued. 



The Cotton Pods are a new development at the Church Street site, announced in September of this year. Utilising specially adapted shipping containers to increase the overall capacity of the site, they’re expected to be in operation early in the new year.  

Managing Director Robert Binns comments “Since the conversion of Cotton Court into a business centre, we’ve been the catalyst for a significant number of start-up businesses. We don’t intend to stop doing that any time soon, but in order for us to help more businesses we need more capacity. That’s what these pods will offer. As well as being responsible for helping us with our growth, one of Jack’s responsibilities will be to help steer the growth of our customers and other local businesses. Having worked with him before over the years, I’m confident we’ve got the right man for that job.” 


Big Plans: How the Cotton Pods will look at the Church Street site

Cotton Pods: Another angle

Big media hubs such as Manchester and London have historically been responsible for taking much of the young talent out of the smaller towns and cities such as Preston. The recent development and investment into Preston could prove to be a turning point for retaining & attracting that talent. The Cotton Court Group aims to build on that more by funneling new Manchester based talent through its new Media City office on Salford Quays, and back towards its other businesses in Preston. 

“It’s very positive news to learn about Cotton Court’s expansion plans.  As a city we’ve already seen the business centre grow and develop to support many fledgling businesses and the wider city community.  The organisation has actively embraced city life and are exemplary in their corporate social responsibility strategy.  2018 will be an exciting year for the city and it’s great that businesses like Cotton Court are pushing from the front to add value to Preston’s city centre” said Mark Whittle, Manager at Preston Business Improvement District. 

Already in post, Jack has started work on a number of important projects. “I’ve really hit the ground running thanks to the support of Robert and the team. I think it’s especially nice and certainly reflective of the group ethos, that my first project was working on the Barnardo’s Christmas Toy Appeal and the next one was involvement in a free event for local entrepreneurs and business owners. I’m looking forward to working across the group portfolio but especially working with local small businesses to help them develop & grow alongside the rest of the City”. 



19th Century Mill: Still home to hard working Lancastrian’s


Cotton Court is an old 19th Century Mill, providing incubation for start-ups and services for small to medium sized businesses. It provides physical office space, hot desks and conference space, as well as virtual & administrative services. It acts as the flagship business and headquarters for the Cotton Court Services group, which boasts a portfolio of leisure, property, tech and social enterprise operations.  









Grace joins the Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassador network!

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Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassador network is a country-wide drive to increase training and employment opportunities for young people and improve their skills. It was also established to allow businesses and employees a chance to see how beneficial it can be for a company to have an apprentice in the workplace. Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassadors are all either current or former apprentice who was to talk about the highlights and benefits of taking part in the apprenticeship programme and help them find out more information. The ambassadors visit schools and careers fairs to speak to teachers, parents and children to encourage them to either take on or become apprentices.

I have chosen to become a Lancashire Apprentice Ambassador because then I can advise young people to consider an apprenticeship after school instead of college. Also, that apprenticeship’s are for anyone. I believe this network will allow me to meet a wide range of people, whether that be fellow ambassadors or people when out and about visiting schools and career fairs. Also, benefit me on how other businesses work and what each individual business entails

I decided to do an
apprenticeship so I can expand my skills in the workplace whilst still learn and stay in education. My role is varied and a typical workday involves me answering calls for either customer’s within the building when they’re otherwise engaged; answering calls for virtual offices which I then email to inform them so they can get back in touch. It also involves setting up and organising conferences which are held within the building on a daily basis; whether that be groups of 4 or 104.

On a daily basis, I also handle all the mail for our virtual office customers, office and desk clients. As well as, making sure all conference rooms are presentable and clean throughout the day and making sure our clients’ needs are met.

In the future, I would like to be in a job which I enjoy also one which will broaden my horizon for the forthcoming years. I would also like to say that I manage all virtual office customers and enquiries and that I would like to build my way up to a managerial role.

September News

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This is what some of our customers are up to during the past month…

Firstly, Tienda Digital have rebranded their website. Here is an overview of why they thought a change would be good…  “As experts in digital solutions we need a brand that would not only look digital but up to date with current trends and this is exactly what the new logo does. Our old one was more focused on the software side and was professional and corporate but we wanted something more creative.” Also, Well done to Tienda Digital for becoming a finalist in the Sub 36 awards!

Get Staffed

Secondly, Tom Craig and Tom Havlin from Get Staffed UK organised an event at Baluga to celebrate all there staffs hard work and to thank them for being on hand to help out at an array of events. A huge well done is in order for Tom Craig being nominated as employee of the year, and also Tom Havlin for entrepreneur of the year. Both are in the finals of the Sub 36 award! These awards allow small companies to be acknowledged by the public and boost their overall audience.

UK Media & Events

UK Media and Events helped organise the Lancashire Encounters Brief Encounter experience last weekend in Preston town center. This ‘brief encounter’ involved a giant walked through the streets, illuminated with other parts of the procession, starting at Winckley Square, Heading up Cannon Street, Fishergate and down Cheapside into the Flag Market. Danny from UK Media and Events LTD added: “ We’re extremely happy with the way Brief Encounter 2017 ran. So proud of all the exhibitors, suppliers and volunteers and really pleased so many attendees got to enjoy the wide variety of cultural entertainment all in one evening! Lancashire Encounter 2018 will be truly amazing as the full weekend festival returns next year!! We can’t wait!”

Vibe Tickets

We would like to say congrats to Luke Massie from Vibe Tickets for being nominated for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the year’ at the 2017 Nat-West awards. This year the Young Entrepreneurs category contains people who are aged 30 or under, their stories should be “rich in anecdotes of seized opportunity and dynamic response to the many pitfalls that lie in wait for those who are passionate for progress.” The winning entrepreneur will be a beacon of inspiration to business people irrespective of age and industry.

Downtown In Business

Finally, we are sad to see Roger Jonas leaving Downtown. Roger joined downtown in 2008 to support the development of our ambitious events programmed throughout the North. He is passionate about working for a business that makes a difference and is recognized for that. After 9 years working with Downtown he has met many people all of which will miss him dearly.

The BIBAs 2017

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Around 1,000 business people including our clients, UK Media and Events who were nominated for Lesuire Business of the Year, packed the Blackpool Tower Ballroom for the Be Inspired Business Awards.

Nigel Havers hosted the evening, which saw Fylde-based businessman and Preston Guild Hall owner Simon Rigby given a lifetime achievement award, and Preston-based Sunshine Events take two trophies.

BIBAs organisers The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce handed out a crop of awards after a rigorous judging process.

All the winners will now enter the BIBAs Academy, a package of workshops, masterclasses, and networking run by the awards and the University of Central Lancashire, aimed at further boosting the growth of some of the county’s leading lights.

The other winners on the night include Chelsey-Marie Baldwin, the Blackpool-based former gymnast who was forced to retire from the sport aged just 17, and has gone on to set up her own academy teaching young people in South Shore.

She was supported in getting her business underway by a grant from the BIBAs Foundation, a charity set up by the awards which provides grants in support of enterprising initiatives by young people in the county.

Ashley Hackett, CEO of the Blackpool FC Community Trust, was the other individual winner picking up the Business Person of the Year award.

Chorley-based Scorpion Automotive was named Exporter of the Year, Lancaster’s Hotfoot Design picked up the Creative Business of the Year prize and Chorley lightning firm Fourth Wall Solutions was the winner of the New Business of the Year category.


Most Inspiring Young Person of the Year: Chelsey Marie Baldwin
Creative Business of the Year: Hotfoot Design
Employer of the Year: Sunshine Events
Best Use of IT: Connect Childcare
Business Person of the Year: Ashley Hackett, Blackpool FC Community Trust
Exporter of the Year: Scorpion Automotive
Family Business of the Year: The Wayfarer
Professional Service Business of the Year: Thomas Consulting
Manufacturer of the Year: CoolKit
Excellence in CSR: Sunshine Events
Construction Business of the Year: Fox Brothers
Leisure Business of the Year: Winter Gardens Blackpool
Third Sector Business of the Year: CB Partners
Service Business of the Year: Fairbanks Environmental
New Business of the Year: Fourth Wall Solutions
Micro Business of the Year: 8th Sign
Small Business of the Year: Bespoke Healthcare
Medium Business of the Year: Hippo Motor Group
Business of the Year: CoolKit
Lancastrian of the Year: Simon Rigby

Introducing The Cotton Pods…

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Shipping containers could be installed in the car park of a Preston city centre business centre.

The innovative way of expanding Cotton Court in Church Street has been lodged with planners.

Branded as The Cotton Pods the containers would be kitted out to be home to start-up businesses.

Owner of the business centre Robert Binns said: “Since Cotton Court’s conversion to a business centre, we have been the catalyst for a significant number of start-up businesses and more than 50 new jobs have been created as a direct spin off from Cotton Court.

“One particular success story involves a business which began renting a single desk at £25 per week and is now worth more than £6 million with offices nationwide.

“Our aim is to continue to act as an incubator for hungry, bright young entrepreneurs and give them the space and support to realise their ambitions in business.


“Cotton Court is a Preston success story and growing demand means we need to expand to supply the space demanded by the city’s emerging creative talent.

“If we can keep them here and help them grow their business they will employ more people, live locally and spend money in the city.”

The proposals would see 16 of the containers set up, each being 20ft long and stacked over two levels in two locations on the site.

Partner and architect at Frank Whittle Partnership Neil Ainsworth said: “The concept of using industrial containers as office space is an appropriate one and has become a model of success around the world.

“The Cotton Pods look good and are easily adaptable to each occupier’s requirements. We are keeping the industrial theme of the site and these shipping containers will look great alongside the original, restored 1851 mill building.”

Special thanks for Neil from Thornton Media for his great write up!


Email us at to register your interest today!


Get Staffed UK Smash Lytham Festival!

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Cotton Court Clients Get Staffed UK have just finished a jam packed 5 days at supplying nearly 100 hospitality and bar staff daily to Lytham Festival. Over the week their staff worked tirelessly in the V.I.P, Champagne Terrace and public bars. Even though the weather wasn’t on their side the team successfully smashed targets every single night!

Lytham Festival 2017 has proven the biggest yet as music fans provided a major boost to the town’s economy. Around 60,000 people attended the five-day festival, with around a quarter of those coming for the full programme of headline shows.

The arena on Lytham Green was packed for concerts by Olly Murs, Hacienda Classical, 80s Vs 90s, Madness and the West End Proms. Before the festival, director Peter Taylor said that ‘by a mile’ they’d had the biggest weekend bookings ever seen – quadrupled from 2016 – with 25 per cent of the crowd having weekend passes, while 20 per cent of tickets sold before acts were announced. “People have trust in us now, and that’s proven by how much we can sell before we event announce the acts,” he said. In a statement on Sunday he hailed the 2017 event as ‘tremendous’, adding: “We are already well into the planning of Lytham Festival 2018 and look forward to revealing the full line-up.”

Tom Craig from Get Staffed UK said “I’m incredibly proud of our staff that worked so hard this week, it’s been such a good event of an already great first season for Get Staffed!”

Clients Holker IT Recruit Two New Members of Staff!

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Our client Holker IT, that are also based in Colne, has enrolled new recruits Nina Akrigg and Timon Holden onto a new Government initiative.

The duo will attend a Level 4 Apprenticeship for Cyber Security Technology and Risk Analysis to be run by Training 2000 in Blackburn.

“We have earned a reputation as a regional specialist in cyber security and these appointments will help to re-inforce that position,” said Matthew Metcalfe, managing director Holker IT, a Cyber Essentials Plus accredited company.

“The threat posed by hacking cannot be over-stated and every business is vulnerable to attack. It is absolutely imperative that all firms – small, medium or large – take the necessary steps to ensure their computer systems are protected from theft and damage to both hardware and software.

“At Holker IT, we have created a dedicated cyber security department to tackle the issues and this new course is a chance for Nina and Tim to increase their knowledge.”

Padiham-born Nina, who lives in Brierfield, is a former student at Mansfield High School and Burnley College, where she gained a national diploma in performing arts.

“My working life has included administration and sales positions, but I have a strong background in IT and I am relishing the opportunity to develop a career in cyber security,” said the 33-year-old mother-of-two.

Timon, 22, lives in Blackburn and formerly attended St Mary’s College and Edge Hill University where he achieved a degree in film and media studies.

“Cyber security is so important these days and it is very clear that Holker IT is determined to be at the forefront. I want to be a part of that.”

Upcoming UCLan Business Events

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As part of the Lancashire Arts Festival, the University of Central Lancashire has three free business events, which may be of interest to you.  Please find details and online booking links below.


Friday 9 June, 12noon-3.00pm

Venue 53, UCLan, Preston

Are you looking to develop your workforce, recruit graduates or access expertise? This event is open to professionals from all organisations, inside and outside of the creative industries, who are keen to engage with the University of Central Lancashire’s creative talent. You will get to meet like-minded business people, students, course tutors and key colleagues from the University’s careers, placement and partnership development teams.

The event includes:

The networking lunch is just three hours long, but you can stay for longer if you have time. Immediately following, at 3.00pm, is the Lancashire Arts Festival Awards Ceremony with guest speaker Charles Hadcock, sculptor, businessman and Chairman of Creative Lancashire. Then at 4.00pm, we have the Private View of our architecture, design, fashion, fine art and media degree shows. Last year around 1,500 people attended the Private View and we can guarantee that there will be a huge buzz and celebratory feel in all of the buildings with lots of opportunities to network.

Advance booking is essential:



Thursday 15 June, 6.30pm – 9.00pm

Venue 53, UCLan, Preston

If you are a decision maker in a fashion, textile or lifestyle related business you may be interested in attending the University of Central Lancashire’s fashion show as previewed at Graduate Fashion Week, London. This event is perfect for those scouting for talented students to work in their company.

Advance booking is essential:



Wednesday 21 June, 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston

An exhibition of architecture, design, fashion, fine art, media and performance. The expert curatorial team, led by 2017 Turner Prize nominee Professor Lubaina Himid, will showcase the work of final year students from UCLan who have been shortlisted for the Lancashire Arts Festival Awards, sponsored by Creative Lancashire.  The Official Opening includes drinks and canapés on arrival, performances and a special guest speaker Patrick Grant, Creative Director of Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and menswear line, E. Tautz and resident judge on the BBC’s ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’.

Advance booking is essential: 

If you have any questions regarding any of these events please contact Tania at the University on 01772 894106

Clients UK Media & Events Organise CBeebies Performance!

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An Easter Holiday treat greeted dozens of children as a TV favourite came to entertain them.

CBeebies duo Rebecca Keatley and Sid Sloane performed in the St George’s Shopping Centre.

Hits from their Let’s Play show were performed as families lined an Easter garden.

The audience were invited to sing and dance along during the energetic show from Rebecca and Sid.

A meet and greet allowed children to have their chance to meet the stars of kids TV.



General manager of the shopping centre Andrew Stringer said: “During the Easter holidays we wanted to bring a host of quality events to Preston families, making sure they had some free fun on us.

“Sid and Rebecca proved to be a huge hit with families from across Preston and beyond. The showcase was great for the whole family, with a fun atmosphere to match and it kept the children entertained and parents happy.”

Crowds watch on during the CBeebies show

Original post and photos via Blog Preston