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Love Food Love Preston 2016 with Gregg Wallace & Emmerdale’s Danny Miller

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The annual Love Food Love Preston promotion from Preston BID was launched on Saturday 30th July.

The month-long campaign, to highlight Preston’s food and restaurant offer, began with the Lancashire Market taking place on Friargate, followed later that evening by a ‘Dine with the Stars’ event.

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Firms trading at the event included, Beechs Chocolates, a company with almost 100 year’s heritage in Preston.

The Lancashire Cookbook, a new publication showcasing the best recipes and places to eat in the county, was launched by BBC Radio Lancashire’s John Gillmore at the Market; featuring a section focussing on Preston’s growing and vibrant restaurant offer.

Friargate came alive with the sights, smells, colours and sounds of a street-market as families from across the county made Preston their ‘go to’ destination.

Later that evening, MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace and Emmerdale Actor Danny Miller visited eight Preston restaurants to enjoy meeting their customers and sampling the city’s tasty food offering, guests were ‘delighted’ to have the opportunity to meet and talk to the television personalities.   Alison Hedges from Lytham travelled to Preston specifically in the hope she’d meet one of the special guests; saying ‘I think it’s a great idea to do this, it’s brilliant.  I love eating out and it’s been a while since I’ve eaten out in Preston, it’s changed so much and I would safely say I’ll be back very soon’.

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Gregg, a firm favourite on our TV screens said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the food and company in Preston, there are some great restaurants here; it’s one of the friendliest places I have ever visited and the people are just lovely’.

Cotton Studios was once again on hand to capture the ‘Dine with the Stars’ event on behalf of Preston BID. You can see the full gallery here

Mark Whittle from Preston BID said: “The Lancashire Market has been a great event for the city, since it began back in 2010; it has attracted hundreds of thousands of people, many from outside of the locality.  The events are organised to attract additional customers to the city centre.  Whilst providing a great day for visitors, events such as these are vital to building relationships with customers who will support city centre businesses; it’s their investment that funds our work’.

Until 31st August people are being encouraged to try eating out in Preston city centre more often by taking advantage of specially created ‘Love Food Love Preston’ offers.

Simply visit www.LoveFoodLovePreston.co.uk and choose your special offer!

Downtown in Business Crowns Lancashire’s Elite!

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On Thursday 16th June 2016, Downtown Lancashire in Business celebrated the best in the business at the annual Lancashire Business Awards.

Rob presented Forbes solicitors with best legal practice of the year award at glittering Downtown in Business awards. The awards were a great excuse for many hard working individuals and businesses to let their hair down and enjoy a night of celebration.

Rob represented the Cotton Court team and said “Once again a great awards night put together by Downtown in Business at the Dungenhalgh hotel”

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Awards given away on the night ranged from ‘Networker of the year’ to ‘Business Personality of the Year’.

Frank McKenna, chief executive at Downtown in Business, said: “Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for this year’s awards. It is always fantastic to celebrate the hard working companies in Lancashire each year and see the level of support they are able to gain from their peers and their customers.”

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The winners were:

Male Networker of the Year – Daniel Rich, Barton Grange
Female Networker of the Year – Katie Beckham, The Write Angle
Best Employer of the Year – Denwa
Best Employee of the Year – Rebecca Kay
Best Newcomer of the Year – Eat My Logo
Best PR & Marketing Agency of the Year – The Write Angle
Best Digital Agency of the Year – Blush Digital
Best Social Media Presence of the Year – Marketing Lancashire
Best Legal Company of the Year – Forbes
Best Accountancy Firm of the Year – Beever and Struthers
Best Business Bank of the Year – NatWest
Best Property Business of the Year – Barnfield Construction
Best Recruitment Company of the Year – Laura Hartley Recruitment
Best Customer Focussed Business of the Year – Burnley FC
Best Hospitality Venue of the Year – The Emporium
Best Hotel of the Year – Tickled Trout
Best Business Enabler – Choose Chorley
Best Business of the Year – Magma Digital
Chief Executive Award – Marmalade Toast
Business Personality of the Year – Michael Conlon
Contribution to Lancashire – Tony Attard OBE

Vibe Tickets to pitch to Branson for slice of £1m prize!

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After an extensive nationwide search, 3,000 entries, half a million votes and one Guinness World Record title, Lancaster start-up, Vibe Tickets, has made it through to the finale of the Virgin Media Business ‘VOOM 2016’ competition.

Vibe Tickets is an ethical marketplace that connects fans so they can buy and sell tickets at face value. It allows users to transact on their own terms, cuts out the middle man and ensures ticket prices aren’t over inflated. The tech company was founded by 23 year old Luke Massie who saw that fans were being exploited by secondary ticket sellers increasing the ticket value, so built a platform that would challenge the industry giants and provide users with fair prices.

Luke will be pitching to Richard Branson and a panel of business heavyweights including Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely Marcus Butler and Virgin Media Business Managing Director, Peter Kelly, at the live finale on the 28th of June. Vibe Tickets will go head to head with two other businesses in the Start-up category for a slice of the £1million prize fund.

Luke Massie, founder of Vibe Tickets said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have made it this far in the competition and can’t wait to pitch my idea to Richard Branson. I’ve worked extremely hard to get here and it’s been such an incredible experience so far, I’m really excited for the finale and the future opportunities this will bring.”

Richard Branson, Virgin Founder said: “Congratulations to Vibe Tickets for making it through to the finale of the Virgin Media Business ‘VOOM’ competition. They’ve shown they’ve got the determination and innovative flair we’re looking for in a winner and I can’t wait to meet them at the final on the 28th.”

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‘VOOM 2016’ – run by the ultrafast business broadband company – is hunting for the UK and Ireland’s most exciting and innovative businesses. A winner will be chosen from each of the two categories, ‘Start-up’ and ‘Grow’.

Guest Blog: Bird Help Fellow Clients DieCut UK Rebrand!

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Diecut UK are are global company supplying specialist machinery to the print industry, a real forward thinking company who are constantly looking for ways to improve the machines they supply making the industry safer, and the machines faster, and as a result their clients more productive.

Diecut’s brand had lost it’s way over the year, and no longer reflected the dynamic, energetic and passionate company they’d become today. As leaders in their field, they needed a brand that reflected this.

We wanted to create something which was as dynamic as they are, something which reflected their passion for change and improvements, something that linked with what they do, and showed their pride at being a UK based company.

The brand was then rolled out across their website, internal comms and marketing literature.

www.diecutuk.com

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They Did It!! Vibe Tickets Made It Through To The Semi Finals

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Well the results are in, and we are SO pleased to announce the news that Vibe Tickets made it through to the SEMI-FINALS of the Virgin Business #VOOM campaign! They took part in the pitchathon the other week where we were part of a Guiness World Record which took place, and they were so pleased our pitch impressed the judges.

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A Guinness World Record was reached after the pitchathon after 28 hours and 51 minutes worth of pitching! Some people were pitching at 2am in the morning, and the valiant judges stayed for the whole duration of it! On the Virgin Business website, this statement was made- “We smashed it. Virgin Media Business now holds the Guinness World Records title for the longest business pitch marathon. And, in the words of adjudicator Pravin, we are ‘officially amazing’”

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So for everyone that has supported them, They wanted to thank you for taking the time to vote for Vibe and spreading their message, and they hope for your continue to support in their journey to #PitchToRich!

Cotton Studios Welcomes Gavin To Their Growing Team!

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Gavin has been taking photographs since he was a teenager, but became a full time professional photographer about 5 years ago, and for the last 2 years he ran the photo studio at Ribby Hall Village.

He loves taking photos of happy people with natural smiles whether it be in the studio or at weddings which he cover throughout the North West.

He can also help you if you need some commercial work either for your website, or just want to improve your profile pictures. Have a look at some of his images below!

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Glovers Finalists – 128,000 Votes cast In Awards

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The results are in; 128,520 votes have been cast in Preston BID’s ‘Smiles Better Awards’, which recognise outstanding businesses and people in Preston city centre.

The awards, sponsored by Fishergate Shopping Centre and St. George’s Shopping centre, highlight the achievements of owners and employees of city centre businesses, and this year attracted more than 165 nominations from 142 businesses.

There are fifteen prizes up for grabs, including Independent Retailer of the Year, Multiple Retailer of the Year, Customer Service Champion and Restaurant of the Year.

Selected categories will now undergo mystery shopping visits, in order to find the outright winners.

The highest award, ‘the Special Recognition Award’ which cannot be voted for, will be awarded to someone who’s made a significant contribution to the city.

Last year the honour went to Friargate florist, Margaret Mason, who’s operated a business in Preston for almost fifty-five years.

Upon winning the special recognition awards, Margaret, who was visibly moved said: ‘I am speechless, I didn’t expect to win but I am thrilled.  It’s a team effort and I thank all my team for all their hard work, it’s a lovely thing to have been awarded and I am very, very grateful’.

Mark Whittle, from Preston BID which organises the competition said: ‘The businesses in Preston city centre consistently offer outstanding service, and the ‘Smiles Better’ awards are our way honouring these people and organisations.  It’s their efforts that keep people returning to our city centre time and time again, and for that, we thank them’.

Keith Mitchell, manager of the Fishergate Shopping Centre, said: “The large amount of votes cast is a tribute to all the great customer-focused work being carried out by staff in Preston’s shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.

“This positive response to the awards from the general public again highlights Preston’s growing and deserved reputation as a vibrant shopping and visitor destination that delivers fantastic levels of service.

“We’re very pleased to be backing this initiative which shows why Preston really is Smiles Better and recognises and rewards those people whose efforts make our city centre the special place it is.”

General manager at rSt George’s Shopping Cente, Andrew Stringer, said: “The Smiles Better Awards are a great way to recognise the hard work and efforts of the city’s customer services teams.

“The amount of votes cast reflects the exceptional service these teams deliver. Everyone who has been nominated does an excellent job in promoting Preston – we couldn’t operate without them.”

The prizes will be handed out at an invitation only ceremony on Tuesday 21st June, hosted by Radio’s John Gillmore and Danny Bee.

Click here for Official Finalists

Vibe Tickets #VOOM Round 1 & Heading To The Pitchathon

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It’s over! And Vibe Tickets finished in a VERY impressive 9th position. They just wanted to say thank you for your support throughout the whole competition. Over 2000 people voted for them, and they are SO grateful of each and every single vote-  Vibe Tickets mission is to #OutTheTout and they know so many of their followers, and people worldwide have been affected by this and so they are campaigning for CHANGE!

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HOWEVER, it isn’t over yet! The public vote may be done, but there are still more rounds we have to get through before they can Pitch To Rich! The Pitchathon starts next week- This will be a 29-hour, live-streamed attempt at a Guinness World Record! The 40 entrepreneurs with the most impressive pitches will be taken through to the next round… They are working hard on there pitch at Vibe Tickets HQ so they can get closer to pitching to Rich, and explaining to  him why so many of their fans need their help! Vibe Tickets are really passionate about helping as many fans as possible and beating ticket touts so that the secondary market is changed for the better. Every day we see stories in the media of tickets being sold for thousands of pounds, or fans being ripped off after being sold fake tickets….this isn’t how the industry should work and they are here to disrupt and change this.

They really hope you keep supporting them throughout the rest of the #VOOM Pitch To Rich competition and that your support will help to see them through RIGHT till the end!! We’ll keep you informed…but in the meantime keep spreading the #GoodVibes of Vibe Tickets!!

Guest Blog – Doug Melia Safer Handling

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The Department for Education document entitled “Use of Reasonable Force – updated advice for head teachers, staff and governing bodies” isn’t a new thing. Variations of it have been around for some time now and I have yet to meet two organisations who interpret it in the same way.

Tonight I want to invite you to join me on a journey and using the principleground rules from the 1999 (make you feel old?) film “Fight Club”, to examine further some of the challenges staff may face when dealing specifically withmanaging children fighting.

#1 The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

The DfE guidance document addresses issues surrounding the use of force without discussing them in detail. The document highlights that staff are allowed to use force to:

“prevent a pupil from attacking a member of staff or another pupil, or to stop a fight in the playground”

This artfully vague statement gives the nod to staff having the power to“stop” fights, it doesn’t then give any further detail on the matter.

In one of my earlier posts I discussed duty of care and keeping yourself safe whilst weighing up the duty owed to those in your care, the guidance explains this as:

“The decision on whether or not to physically intervene is down to the professional judgement of the staff member concerned and should always depend on the individual circumstances.”

Reasonable force is something we have discussed in detail before, staff must ensure that any actions they take are reasonable in the circumstances. Meaning, should they be intervening in the first place? Could the circumstances have been avoided?

#2 Second rule: DO NOT talk about Fight Club

So important was its secrecy to the integrity of the club, it was listed twice. So lets look at a different angle. Don’t talk about it?  The guidance skirts around questions such as: At what point do we stop the fight? With how many members of staff? What determines a fight? Play-fights also? Verbal warning first? Using which holds?

Staff  are told to use their professional judgement, without the necessary information, instruction, training & supervision that decision may not necessarily be in the best interests of the child. So perhaps we should talk about it, I always ask when delivering training if anyone has had to break up a fight before, and if the person is comfortable enough, I get them to discuss the circumstances. Without fail, the person describing their experience always animates their disclosure using hand gestures, often which resemble a person swimming or attempting to swim.

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In the heat of the moment where a fight breaks out next to them or they round a corner and a member of staff is confronted with an advancing pupil, then the immediate physical reaction to separate or “hold back” an individual can often be instinctive. Pushing, pulling, stopping a child running in a corridor, catching a chair from tipping back or even turning a pupil by their shoulders and diverting them away from a confrontation all involve gross motor skills. Separating two parties is often a more preferable approach than wading in with some kind of fine or moderate motor skill based single person restrictive hold, which aside from having manual handling and personal safety implications, may result in more serious repercussions to explain.

Imagine sitting with Mum, explaining how you held her dearest Tyler whilst the other child hit him as hard as he could in his ear, with the  “free shot” you granted his aggressor. Might not be your finest hour at this year’s parents evening 

#3 Third rule: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over

Now, one thing I have observed about the majority of young children and fighting is; they aren’t very good at it.

Proportionately (which if we do need to intervene is exactly how we should be thinking) it may not be the best idea to wade in and try to stop the fight physically.  Take me for example, I am 6ft 3, 17 stone and have hands well, to give a clue to a nickname I once had “like shovels”. If two small children were fighting and I grabbed them and dragged them backwards separating them – I guarantee I would cause more harm to both of those children than if I had just let them carry on fighting!

I’m not saying that I would stand and watch, The point here is just because you have a power to do something does not mean you must use it, your duty of care both to yourself and the children  is absolute.

#4 Fourth rule: One fight at a time

Admittedly, sometimes there’s a lot of effort, a lot of shirt pulling, spinning round and grabbing but generally there is usually one party (or both) that have entered into this bout of fisticuffs fairly reluctantly. I’m not suggesting we just stand and watch or take a sweep-stake perhaps. If there is time to look at a less intrusive method, which is likely to work, resulting in a lesser harm occurring then surely where it isn’t necessary to use force, we shouldn’t? The very presence of an adult can sometimes be enough, or a clear confident and audible command could stop children in their tracks or even less than that? I mean, ask yourself why the children are fighting?

Not why they have started fighting, now that could be a variety of things, from misappropriated Match Attaxx cards in a primary school setting to a negligent“Like” on Facebook in secondary. No, why are they continuing to fight? In the film, one fight at a time meant having an audience – it may be more appropriate (and far more effective) in some circumstances to evict the crowd chanting“Fight, fight, fight!” before you consider physically intervening. Once the eyes are away from them, the fight in the duo often fizzles out.

Then sanctions against those encouraging the fighting could be a good way of instigating a cultural shift in your establishment, condemning fights as a spectator sport to being a thing of the past.

 #5 Fifth rule: No shirts, no shoes

As specific as the character in the film Tyler Durden was on fightwear, the guidance put out there by the government is specific in the detail of the fight’s location. Why a playground was my initial reaction? Don’t fights occur in other areas? Is there a difference that we need to be made aware of? Is it only “a fight” if it takes place on the ground area allocated for children to play? Location may affect your assessment of the situation but other than that plays no significant part in lawfully intervening.

Escorting a child from one side of a school to the other for example – legally is there a power to do so? Yes, absolutely the power exists. I have previously written posts explaining the legalities of restriction of liberty and the use of time out rooms, practically though is it always the best option to attempt, with their resistance to get them there? Police stations, prisons and hospitals are all ergonomically designed to allow staff to easily escort people who don’t want to be moved from one place to another. Think about it, wide corridors, ramps, laminated wall displays instead of pictures and ornaments, doors that open electronically or both ways and what is on the floors? Nothing. What happens to said floors in the evening? The floors are cleaned and buffed, partly for hygiene but it is easier to move those resisting than if they had the purchase of carpet beneath their feet.

Classrooms? Rows of chairs housing other children. Corridors? narrow, with amazing wall displays, doors that open inwards with fiddly handles and stairs. Yes stairs – I have a talent of falling UP stairs when I am at home, happy and calm. What then are my chances of successfully managing a challenging student and collaborating the movements of another colleague DOWN a flight of stairs when I am in a state of high emotional arousal? That risk assessment is not even worth attempting.

So as with any manual handling activity we must ask – do we need to move the object (child) in the first place? What is so urgent that we must immediately move the child?

#6 Sixth rule: Only two guys to a fight fellas

Do numbers matter? Numbers of staff? Number of people fighting? Well let us look at other activities, take moving a box for example. Your employer asks you to take a box down a flight of stairs, you survey it and on testing its weight find the object to be far heavier than you feel you could safely lift.

So, having been asked you lift it anyway and carry it through a classroom, stumbling due to its weight or shape. Subsequently, you and the pupil who broke your fall are now injured.

Would the staff member concerned be apportioned some of the blame? Yes of course the employer would have to by law produce a risk assessment for this activity but should the staff member themselves not have raised the fact that this assigned work activity was outside of their range of capabilities?

#7 Seventh rule: Fights will go on as long as they have to

The key is to stop incidents, but only when safe. If we look at two teenagers or even year 6 pupils in a primary school settings and make a bit of a threat assessment. Are the fighters big? Strong? Quick? Are they more able than ourselves? Or to rephrase, do we think that we actually could control them? Could we physically over power them to make them stop fighting? Is the likelihood of us succeeding in stopping the fight alone outweighed by these factors?

Removing classes of students using strategies to win time to call for help through containing pupils, moving objects and potential weapons out of reach, reminding pupils that the police are on their way are sometimes better alternatives than exercising your power to intervene, getting injured and failing in your duty of care.

#8 The eighth: and final rule…

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope it has been helpful if the links a little tenuous at times. Even if you aren’t a teacher, or you don’t work in schools, I’m sure you can see how this conveys to other settings and promotes an overall compliance with the human rights act. Ideally if we can isolate the triggers and target low level behaviours looking at sanctions & rewards rather than threats, we can minimise the residual risks of fights ever happening in the first place.

So, are you ready? Oh didn’t I say? As this is your first night at fight club.

Diecut UK grows from strength to strength!

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Diecut UK is a global company that specialises in the supply of Corrugated, Packaging, Print & Print Finishing Machinery.

What is diecutting? – Diecutting is a process of anything cut to shape out of corrugated board or card, rigid PVS and plastics using a steel rule die.

We have machines placed all around the world that vary in shape and size, depending on the material being cut.

We strive to be innovators and work tirelessly to stay at the forefront of our industry and with over 20 years of experience, we have developed a global network of distributors and customers.

In recent months the team at Diecut UK has been revitalised, with additions made to the Operations, Commercial and Marketing teams and representatives worldwide, Diecut UK is going from strength to strength.