Northwest Business Files: Network Rail; Beever and Struthers; Cards beyond comfort; St Helens Room; Speak speak




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A ‘one-in-a-generation’ overhaul of Manchester’s rail signaling system has been completed to improve future passenger and freight routes. Equipment that was nearly 40 years old around Trafford Park has been replaced by the latest digital technology.

Network Rail installed a total of 23 new signals and 109 other associated signaling equipment as part of a £ 36million investment in the Great North Rail Project. The works will improve the reliability and safety of passengers and freight on this important route to Manchester. It will also allow longer freight trains to run in the northwest, removing traffic from the region’s roads. Now that the work is complete, a total of 26 signals are monitored from the state-of-the-art Manchester Signaling Center.

Roisin Nelson, sponsor of Network Rail, said: “This major work on this key rail artery to Manchester will transform connectivity for freight and passengers across the North West. Work like this has never been more important – the sustainability of this economically important rail link as Britain emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would like to thank passengers and residents for their patience as we make these improvements over the past year. The investment will keep passengers on the move, products on supermarket shelves and vital goods destined for businesses across the country for decades. “

Chris Jackson, Northern Regional Director, said: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and the work done by colleagues at Network Rail will ensure our customers travel on a more modern and efficient rail network. Works to improve the infrastructure go hand in hand with our own improvements which, over the past 18 months, have seen the complete introduction of 101 new trains, the complete refurbishment of our old trains and significant improvements in our stations. .

The upgrade started in August 2020 and ended on the August bank holiday weekend.


Geraldine Finn

As part of its long-standing commitment to giving back to the communities in which it operates, accountants and business advisers Beever and Struthers have donated recycled laptops to schools in Manchester and Blackburn. The schools to which the grants have been awarded are Manchester Communication Academy (MCA) and Blackburn Central High School (BCHS).

The question of a “digital divide” between households arose at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools, colleges and universities were closed and students had to be schooled remotely. Beever and Struthers wanted to help bridge the “digital divide” between households that have and do not have access to a laptop for learning purposes by providing students with the means to continue their education at home.

In addition to donating the laptops, firm partner Andrew McLaren gave a presentation on career prospects at the firm to MCA 11th year students. Geraldine Finn, Director of Marketing and Business Development for the Company and Official Business Advisor for BCHS, said: “Being constantly aware of the need to give something back before, during and after the pandemic, procurement and donation of these laptops at GMAT and BCHS prove that we’re more than an accounting firm by investing and supporting the communities in which we work and live.

Martin Roberts, Deputy Director of Manchester Communication Academy, said: “The donation of laptops is an incredibly generous gesture and is already making a significant difference to our students, their studies and their future. “

Tracy Reeves, Deputy Director and Career Manager, said: “Beever and Struthers are an integral part of our BCHS family. We have formed a meaningful and lasting relationship that will continue to support our students throughout their studies and help them have great aspirations for life.


Joe Nicklin, left, and Mark Wilsdon

Two longtime friends from Blackpool have joined forces in a venture to improve the mental health and well-being of others through a series of social, physical and mental challenges.

Joe Nicklin, of Thornton Cleveleys, and Mark Wilsdon, of Marton, both 22, have always dreamed of starting their own businesses, and soon after the pandemic it became a reality. Building on their own past experiences, Joe and Mark, also known as The Improvement Artist, launched Cards Beyond Comfort in an effort to combat the increase in mental illness as a result of the pandemic and help others achieve their goals.

Comprising 52 unique social, physical and mental challenges, Cards Beyond Comfort was designed to help people improve their mental health, increase self-confidence, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being in a fun and informative way. . Each card contains a challenge, along with an explanation of the benefits and easy-to-follow instructions. In addition to the cards divided into easy, medium and hard, each challenge contains two variations, normal or expert, so the cards can be suitable for anyone.

Joe found himself in a dark place while in college during his internship year, and the challenges he overcame inspired the development of Cards Beyond Comfort. He said: “My sanity was the worst it has ever been. I had little self-confidence, struggled to talk to new people, and regularly had to experience uncomfortable and pressured situations that were far from my comfort zone. In my free time, I was looking for ways to improve my state of mind, I started to think about why I was feeling what I was feeling and how I could overcome it.

A few years ago, Mark struggled with mental health after quitting his job to pursue his own goals. He said: “Some days I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, I didn’t feel like socializing or talking to people for a while, I was embarrassed to tell people that things were wrong. were not going as well as I hoped, and it left me feeling completely deflated and beaten up. In order to feel better and take action, I started reading self-help books which gave me the motivation I had lost and started to make me think more positively again. I took a lot of habits from these books that I still carry with me today and that I will practice for the rest of my life. We both knew Cards Beyond Comfort would be a great idea and it was nice to create it because challenges are already part of our lives, it’s great to share knowledge and help others.


St Helens Room

Building on the success of its latest event, the St Helens Chamber is hosting another Career and Learning Fair on September 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mercure Hotel St Helens, for local job seekers looking to find a job and young people looking to start their careers.

With many companies hiring as Christmas approaches, this event will help connect local people looking for opportunities and aims to help employers find the right candidates. The chamber has strong local business connections, and some employers also provide learning opportunities for young people looking to start their careers.

Employers attending the event are: Matalan, Serco, Smyths Toys, McDonalds, Apprenticeships Be More, St Helens Chamber Apprenticeships, Building Careers, Alcedo Care, Optimum Education Resourcing, Citizens Advice St Helens, 3D Trans, The Liverpool Recruitment Company, Alternative Futures Group, National Careers Service St Helens, Swift Temps, Ways to Work, TF Jones and Allied Pharmacy.

As the National Careers Service for St Helens, qualified career counselors from the St Helens Chamber will also be on hand during the event to give free and unbiased career advice. They can also enroll participants in a range of free short courses to add additional skills to their CVs.

Mike Unsworth, Career Development Manager at St Helens Chamber, said: “We had a fantastic response to the last event, so we decided to repeat the event on a larger scale to hopefully help more people. . We have a fantastic location at the Mercure Hotel St Helens, and even more employers looking to recruit as Christmas approaches. There are also plenty of opportunities for apprentices who want to start their careers, and many local businesses want to help young people find jobs.


TalkTalk Managing Director Tristia Harrison

Greater Manchester is set to host an inspiring summit on empowering girls ages 11-15 on September 18, at the headquarters of communication group TalkTalk in Salford. The Next Generation Summit will be hosted by Reach, a community committed to advocating for women and girls across the UK, which was created by Sky Sports presenter and successful businesswoman Sarah Stirk.

The Reach Next Generation Summit aims to empower and educate girls from all walks of life. The event will provide discussions and advice from a series of women leaders on a wide range of topics, including: the environment; social media; body positivity; well-being; exercise; fashion; and opportunities in technology.

Informative and interactive sessions will inspire girls to take on challenges, improve their self-confidence and achieve their personal ambitions. The summit also focuses on diversity and inclusion with speakers from all sectors of society ready to share their life experiences. Speakers are: Jo Coates, CEO of UK Athletics, Gemma Oaten, Actress and Founder of Seed Charity and Sharon Davies CEO of Young Enterprise.

Girls across Greater Manchester are invited to attend the Reach Next Generation Summit at TalkTalk’s COVID secure headquarters – or via a live broadcast. Those who register or watch will be encouraged to contact their friends and classmates after the event, to broaden its impact and foster lasting results.

Tristia Harrison, CEO of TalkTalk, said: “Young women today face a number of modern pressures, with issues such as social media and climate change impacting mental well-being. . This is why events like the Reach Next Generation Summit are so essential, enabling young women to pursue their goals with confidence in a friendly and exciting environment.



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