Business - Page 3

Business stories in and around Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Smartflow Couplings Secures Funding Boost for Innovation Project


Engineering firm Smartflow Couplings has been awarded a share of a £90m package of support designed to protect current innovation projects from the impact of Covid-19.

The continuity fund is designed to support businesses with ongoing development projects which have been funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Smartflow, which is based in Harrogate and Scunthorpe, secured a £173K funding deal from Innovate UK earlier this year to support new product development aimed at driving safety and sustainability in the oil, gas and chemical sectors.

The new batch of funding has been made available to existing award holders to ensure the successful delivery of new innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Managing director Gary Thompson said:

The new range of dry break couplings currently in production have the potential to transform the fluid transfer process across a huge range of industries and have already attracted significant interest from potential partners worldwide.

This additional funding recognises the importance of our new product developments and gives us the extra support we need to overcome some of the short-term challenges presented by Covid-19.

We continue to push ahead with global field trials, alongside the specialist assessment and measurement of our products under lab conditions in the UK, so that we can proceed as quickly as possible to large scale manufacturing.

Grant enables county’s buses to keep transporting key workers


Some bus operators across North Yorkshire are to receive grants to enable them to keep running vital services, including those used by the county’s key workers – covering 35,000km of bus services per week.

North Yorkshire County Council has been able to claim money from the Government’s Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant for 17 bus companies, totalling £389,000.

In total, 92 services have been supported, providing those with no alternative means of travel to get to work and make essential journeys.

The Government made £167 million available.

The grant was launched to support transport companies through the Coronavirus pandemic and help to compensate for reduced passenger numbers and any additional costs associated with running services safely.

In addition, £23,000 has been claimed to reimburse operators for costs incurred in implementing Covid-19-safe operations measures, such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitiser and dispensers, and the introduction of barriers and screens on vehicles.

Cllr Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:

Bus operators have provided a much-needed service to key workers and other passengers making essential journeys across the county throughout lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many people, journeys by bus are the only way to get to work and to connect one rural location to another.

Key workers have helped keep the county running during these unprecedented times, and bus services have supported them in turn. I’m delighted that North Yorkshire County Council was able to access this grant to help operators.

I’Ansons extend Yorkshire Air Ambulance support for another three years which will bring their support total to over £100,000


Masham based business, I’Anson Brothers have signed a further three year sponsorship deal with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, which will bring their support total to over £100,000.

I’Anson Brothers Ltd is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of animal feed based in Yorkshire. They are a family run business, and have been serving farmers nationwide since 1900.

I’Ansons have been waving the Yorkshire Air Ambulance flag by having the charity’s branding on their fleet of vehicles and since 2016 , they have also pledged over £60,000 from their upgraded energy saving lighting system to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to help purchase their vital Night Vision Goggles, enabling the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to extend their flying hours.

The company has also raised money through renting out their distribution yard to television production crews and the Tour de Yorkshire, and by taking part in various funding raising activities, such as the Great North Run and Total Warrior.

Their extensive fundraising led I’Ansons to win one of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Corporate Supporter Awards in 2018 at the charity’s Annual Recognition Awards and their logo features on both YAA aircraft.

Katie Collinson, Corporate and Partnerships Manager for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said:

The support we receive from local businesses are the lifeblood of our charity and we would like to take this opportunity to thank I’Ansons for their continuous support and generosity.

The support they have provided has helped greatly towards the vital funding of our service and will help us continue saving lives across the region, particularly in rural North Yorkshire where journey times to hospital are longer, and our service is so very vital to the farming communities which we serve.


Chris I’Anson, Managing Director of I’Anson Bros Ltd, said:

We are a rural business based in the heart of the Dales supplying customers across the North of England. These can often be remote areas with testing terrain and difficult access. When accidents happen the speed of getting casualties to hospital can be critical in determining the outcome so the service the YAA provides is vital to the entire rural community. We are delighted to be able to help it to continue to do so.


The Yorkshire Air Ambulance provides a life-saving rapid response emergency service 365 days a year to 5 million people across 4 million acres of Yorkshire. They need to raise £12,000 a day to keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances in the air and maintained.

Joseph Ferraro on reopening a busy hair salon following lockdown


Joseph Ferraro has hair salons on the Leeds road and Cheltenham Crescent in Harrogate.

Joseph Ferraro said:

We closed on the 21 March, and we are now planning to re-open on the 6 July.

We have initially been working through the appointments we cancelled during the first week of being closed and then running a waiting list. But we are now booked-up into August.

We are running a split team that will be working alternate days, but over a full 7-days and extended hours. That means staff members work one-day on and one-day off.

The way we are working with people has changed. We are asking people to turn up just in time for their appointment, to bring their own magazines and we won’t be giving tea or coffee.

We haven’t installed perspex screens in front of reception – people can pay contactless from the chair, and we wanted to be sensible with the measures we introduced.

In the salon we have space to have 3 chairs on the ground floor and 2 on the floor below, that gives plenty of social distancing with not all the chairs in use. In-line with guidance, the staff will be wearing visors and masks.

We will also be using single-use, biodegradable towels and gowns, but not charging anything additional for this. We thought it is a cost that the business should absorb.

Joseph and his team have put a lot of thought into what they need to do, both to meet the rules and to keep the customer experience balance.

Joseph said:

Some of our clients can’t wait to come back to us, but some are more cautious.

We are offering a “silent basin experience” where we wash hair without talking. It may sound strange, but for some, when you are leaning over their face and mouth, washing their hair, we thought it was appropriate.

Hair salons work in different ways, but all Joseph’s stylists are employed. Other salons run rented chairs with the stylist being self-employed.

Joseph said:

I furloughed all the staff and that has worked well for us, we also managed to qualify for a grant.

The time closed also allowed us to get some work done on the salons, so it hasn’t been all lost time. The staff have been away for a long time now and we are excited to get back to work.


North East coach operators come together in Ripon as a show of solidarity in the industry


Around 100 coaches came together at Light Water Valley, Ripon on Wednesday, 1 July 2020. It was part of Honk for Hope UK, raising awareness of plight of many coach operators in the UK.

This was most of the coach operators from the North East of country A&A Coach travel Murgatroyd Coach Travels supporting it from the immediate area.

Most coach operators haven’t had any income since lockdown, and only a small number have retained some school contracts.

Coach Operator, John Murgatroyd, said:

This event is intended to raise awareness and help the industry highlight the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on coach travel.

The Government has given the bus industry money, but nothing to the coach industry in funding – the bus industry can still run services.

While we have had no income since March,we still have maintenance costs, vehicle finance and everyday overheads have all had to be paid.

For example, the finance payments on the vehicle I’m in today is £5000 per month, we operate 12 coaches so you can see how quickly the money is draining away.

The vast majority of coach firms in the country are like us: family owned and run and most in 3rd or 4th generations.

I could wash a coach off before I could wash my own hair! –  it’s a passion that’s in our blood.

We have been in business since 1935 and it’s heartbreaking to see everything my father and grandfather built up from scratch being in serious danger of complete collapse.

This is industry wide and without help the whole industry will be beyond the point of no return.

To highlight Germany in particular, their government has already promised 170 million euro in aid for their motor coach industry on 17 June.

The coach industry employs around 42,000 people across the UK, including “irreplaceable” highly-skilled drivers. Hundreds of vehicles have already been repossessed by finance firms, with operators losing thousands of pounds every week, maintaining coaches no-one can use. Im sure that losses could affect other avenues, such as the availability of school buses.


Antoni La Pulisa of A&A Coaches Said:

The coach industry has been hung out to dry. Bus companies have had funding and continue to be paid where coach companies haven’t.

Yet we still have overheads finance and insurance to pay. There is a lot of companies struggling and going to the wall – look at Shearings 250 vehicles.

We have had over £400k of work cancelled!

Coaches play a huge part of bringing money in to the economy and for them to be left with no help or support is wrong.

There will be alot more companies closing.


Yorkshire planner calls for more ambitious deal following PM’s speech


James Hall, partner at planning and design agency Barton Willmore, said:

The “build, build, build” mantra should be welcome news to Yorkshire, but the Prime Minister’s announcement should be more ambitious for our regions.

His focus on the delivery of new homes is welcome, as is bringing forward investment in road and rail infrastructure – a key determiner of our prosperity.

The proposed £12bn affordable homes programme is positive and will support the delivery of new homes, however we were already promised this in the Chancellor’s March Budget.

West Yorkshire and Sheffield City Region’s share of the £400m Brownfield Land Fund is good news, but we believe the Government should go much further here.

The renewed focus on permitted development rights to turn commercial buildings in town centres into housing, is only tinkering around the edges. To deliver meaningful economic growth the Government must look at measures to enable much bigger volumes of good quality housing.

We’re awaiting with interest the mooted measures to speed up major applications. At the moment it can take a year to get outline consent, and expediting that process could significant positive impact in Yorkshire.

New Transdev board members to bring fresh ideas for future growth


Duo bring experience and fresh ideas to bus firm’s road map for future growth, meet North of England bus operator Transdev’s new directors Vitto Pizzuti and Paul Turner.

Vitto, 38, is Transdev’s new Operations Director based in Harrogate, while Paul, 46, is the company’s new Commercial Director, based in Burnley.

Vitto’s new role combines responsibility for operational and engineering functions – a new departure for the man who became Transdev’s Head of Delivery in June 2018. He first joined the bus industry as a driver for Trent Barton in 2004, rising rapidly to become driver mentor, lead driver and detailer, before becoming General Manager at the company’s Sutton depot. He took over as Operations Manager at Nottingham, Trent Barton’s biggest depot, in 2016.

Paul’s first taste of transport came beside the sea in 1998, when he joined Blackpool’s tramway as a seasonal conductor before retraining as a bus driver the following year.

At the start of 2000 Paul began a 12-year career journey with renowned consultancy The TAS Partnership, where his passion to improve public transport developed while working closely with many of the UK’s leading bus, tram and light rail operating groups. That led to a move to First’s Yorkshire-based business and commercial team in 2012, before becoming Transdev’s Head of Commercial Development two years ago.

Vitto says:

Bringing previously separate departments such as engineering and operations closer together to work and succeed is the holy grail in the bus industry – but at Transdev, we’re always ready to think differently about how we can do things better.

We’re currently introducing a digital transformation of our engineering function, which we’re calling ‘Power Up’ – working with our Engineering Performance Manager Luke Stephenson, our executive team has recognised the need to modernise and share best practice across all of our locations.

Starting with Harrogate, and then spreading across the company, we’re introducing a full-fleet digital management system, which will give our engineers the ability to carry out vehicle inspections electronically for the first time – and the data that generates will feed into the wider business, including to our parts stores and finance colleagues. Operations teams can see at a glance what buses are available, while drivers will be able to complete essential vehicle checks digitally, speeding up the flow of information back to engineers and making routine maintenance more efficient.

We’re also investing in driver training and welfare facilities across the company this year and next, while out on the road, we’re preparing to launch new buses for York City Sightseeing, our Witchway Burnley and Manchester and the ever-popular Cityzap between Leeds and York.

Meanwhile Paul is looking forward to the challenge of attracting customers old and new back to the bus, as demand for travel returns.

Paul says:

We’re already working with key destinations, such as colleges, to explain how we can help with their return in the next few months. In the new normal, it’s not just about promoting our product – we now blend that with reassurance about safety and hygiene through our ‘Clean, Safe, Ready to Go’ campaigns.

It’s also vital that we continue to develop our dialogue with customers, so we can offer a service that’s tailor-made to their needs, informed by the data we receive from our services, and the much valued ideas and suggestions received from our teams, through our regular ‘Talk Shop’ briefings.

As we move through the stages of the pandemic, we’ve risen to the challenge of developing reliable and efficient schedules for our bus services in record time. Normally Christmas is the only time when everything changes at once, yet in the last few months we produced eight or nine new schedules, each one led by what the data and trends are telling us.

We’re busy right now preparing for the next set of changes in July, to make sure we’re ready to welcome more customers to more and better services.


Alex Hornby, as CEO, has welcomed the promotions of his two colleagues:

Any great company is dependent upon the skills, passion and determination of its people. Here at Transdev Blazefield, I am deeply fortunate to have the support of many, just like Vitto and Paul who are amongst the very best at what they do. Our operational and commercial functions – and the teams who support them – are in great hands, and I am very much looking forward to continuing to develop our visionary and customer-led business with our many amazing colleagues throughout our company.

Meanwhile Vitto is also expecting an important new arrival of his own – as he’s due to become a dad for the first time in October!

Support for hospitality businesses to reopen safely

Everything that reasonably can be done will be done to support the successful reopening of cafés, bars and pubs by allowing them to use public highway space, the County Council has assured North Yorkshire businesses.

As the hospitality and tourism industry prepares to reopen in July following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, North Yorkshire County Council wants to work with organisations and businesses at every level.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:

We are very sympathetic to the needs of hospitality businesses and recognise the importance of an industry that employs thousands of people and adds more than £920m annually to the county’s economy.

We will do everything we can to support businesses seeking to use some of the public highway to facilitate trade at a very difficult time. We want to work with borough and district councils, Business Improvement Districts, chambers of trade and individual businesses to consider the most appropriate use of the highway to support social distancing and to help hospitality businesses to trade legitimately.

For example, in Harrogate the County Council’s highways team has been visiting businesses to understand the pressures of reopening and to find out how best to support them. They were able to give advice to businesses, while considering the safe implementation of any plans and the need to accommodate the travelling public.

Jim Mossman, co-founder of the Cold Bath Brewing Co and representative of Harrogate BID, said:

I’m delighted to say that we are engaged on behalf of the BID with NYCC. We are looking at how we can move forward with pedestrianised zones compatible for food and drink businesses. We want to create a cosmopolitan and European-style zone where we can affect our trade and be transformational in terms of saving jobs and businesses.

Michael Baravelli, general manager at Gino D’Acampo, is looking forward to welcoming customers through the doors during the important summer season. He said:

We are working alongside North Yorkshire County Council with the idea and suggestion of putting extra seating outside to give us more street presence. In these summer days it will help us immensely.

The authority stressed that it was essential to balance the requirements of everybody who needs to use the highway.

David Bowe, Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services, added:

We are prepared to close roads in order to support economic recovery but it has to be on the basis of demand and need. If there is a road that we can practically close, even for part of a day, without adversely affecting access, we will be happy to work to achieve that, provided a business definitely wants to use the space. We are not proposing to close roads unless there is a clear demand.

So if businesses have a clear need and ideas on how to meet it, they should contact the County Council.

Mr Bowe said:

We would like people to come forward if they feel they need our support. If you have ideas that would facilitate the reopening of the hospitality industry in North Yorkshire, please get in touch and we will do what we can to find a solution.

Appropriate legal measures need to be taken, such as road closures and café licensing, which the Government has recently amended, but initially businesses should contact the County Council and speak to their local highways office.

Road closures inevitably come at a cost and the County Council will work with its partners to seek an appropriate way to fund any measures introduced.

Six Poor Folk in Knaresborough launch their online table booking

This week will be hectic for many running a bar or restaurant, not just taking a dormant business to opening for a likely busy first day, but also ensuring compliance with the additional measures for coronavirus.

Six Poor Folk in Knaresborough have just looked their online booking system. It’s a system that allows you to view a map of the entire pub and then zoom into rooms and book an individual table in a room for a time period of your choice.


Six Poor Folk - table booking system
Six Poor Folk – table booking system
Six Poor Folk - table booking system
Six Poor Folk – table booking system


Ashleigh from six poor folk in Knaresborough said:

We have worked hard since the announcement from the government that we could open.

Today we have launched our online table booking.

That means you can book your preferred table, provided you book it first of course.

We welcome all feedback as we all move into a new way of working, but the beers, drink and welcome you will receive from us has not changed.

Videographers feature the work of local heroes in Ripon during lockdown


Agy Rudel and Pete J George are both RAF videographers and photographers living in the Ripon.

Pete is a full time photographer/instructor based in RAF Cosford (Defence School of Photography) and Agy is media specialist Reserves serving for the RAuxAF Sqn 7644 in RAF Halton as well as multimedia manager for A-SAFE LTD.

Agy said:

Outside of work, Pete and I have developed the PRAFILM production label to help us focus on our own film projects.

Some of them: ‘Asking Europe’ – documentary and ‘Stay at Home’ – COVID-19 short have been recently selected to Lift-Off Film Festival and the BCN Sports Film Festival.

During the last 3 months of pandemic we both were furloughed or working from home, so we have decided to find out more about our local heroes, get in touch with them and make a COVID-19 update video for them.

This is how we have come across Ripon Community House.

In the beginning of organising the shoot we thought this would be just a 30 sec news report, but during the filming and editing we have fallen in love with this story so much (Suzzane and Caroline’s passion and determination) that we have decided to close it in over 3 mins.

Agy Rudel
Agy Rudel
Pete J George
Pete J George

If you want to find out more about their individual work, please follow below links: