NW business briefs: Piccadilly station; Salford University; BT; Sedulo Foundation; Sellafield; Robinsons; Electricity North West
HomeHome > Blog > NW business briefs: Piccadilly station; Salford University; BT; Sedulo Foundation; Sellafield; Robinsons; Electricity North West

NW business briefs: Piccadilly station; Salford University; BT; Sedulo Foundation; Sellafield; Robinsons; Electricity North West

Jun 08, 2023

Passengers are being advised of changes to journeys while platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly station are resurfaced this September.

Network Rail teams is returning to the station’s through platforms to complete work started earlier this year to install tactile studs and improve safety markings. Both platforms will need to close for the work on: Sunday, September 3, September 24, and October 1.

It means there will be no train services between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport on those days – but rail replacement buses will keep passengers on the move. People are advised to allow extra time for their journey, and to check before travelling at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “We know there’s never an ideal time to close the railway, but these Sundays are the least disruptive time to carry out the important resurfacing and installation of tactile studs on platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly so blind and partially sighted people can safely get on and off trains.

“I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience while we complete the important accessibility upgrades and urge people to check National Rail Enquiries in advance so they know what to expect from their journey.”

Fairfield Street, below, will also see traffic lights in place as a crane will be used to lift materials onto the elevated platforms above street level.


The University of Salford is partnering with the Aardman Academy, the training arm of the famous multi-award-winning, independent studio Aardman, to provide its students with access to world-class learning from inside the animation industry.

The Aardman Academy was established to nurture talent and strengthen ties between the animation industry and education and has trained hundreds of world-class animators, directors and modelmakers in the art of stop-motion animation at its base in Bristol.

The university becomes the seventh higher education partner for the Aardman Academy and will mean its students have access to expert animation training both online and in person, detailed feedback on their portfolios and access to a suite of masterclasses and events including the studio’s ‘Animated Insights’ events which features leading industry speakers from around the world.

Students will also be able to enhance their studies further and gain additional skills with visits to the Aardman studios in Bristol, access the Aardman Academy Foundation Courses and Animation Days while lecturers will also participate in the Aardman Academy Lecturer Development programme.

Annabeth Robinson, programme leader for BA Animation at the University of Salford, said: “It is incredibly exciting for our staff and students to have this new partnership with the Aardman Academy. The Aardman name is distinctively known across the world as a pioneer in animation and we’re sure that our students will be taking every advantage they can get from the exclusive opportunities provided by the Aardman Academy Partnership Programme.”


Ahead of the iconic red phone box turning 100 years of age, BT has revealed that more than 45 of its kiosks are currently up for grabs across the North West.

Architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the first incarnation of the famous red phone box for a competition in 1924. In recent years, however, with 98% of the adult population now using a mobile phone, and significant improvements to mobile coverage, there has been a huge decline in the usage of payphones across the UK. There are now around 20,000 remaining working payphones across the UK, around 3,000 of which are in traditional red kiosks. The number of phone boxes peaked in the 1990s at around 100,000.

BT is now urging communities to continue to take advantage of its kiosk adoption scheme to help transform its under-used red phone boxes into other purposes. Since BT introduced its Adopt a Kiosk programme for £1 in 2008, more than 490 phone boxes have been taken on by communities across the North West. Kiosks can be adopted by registered charities, community councils and local authorities.

Redundant phone boxes have been adopted and turned into a range of facilities over the years, from defibrillator units and libraries, to mini art galleries and local museums. Michael Smy, head of street at BT, said: “With the iconic red kiosk about to turn 100, it’s a great opportunity to remind communities that would still like to retain their local kiosk to take it on for just £1 through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme. We’ve already seen some great kiosk conversions across the UK that have become valuable community assets.”

The Community Heartbeat Trust, a charity which provides defibrillators, has worked with BT to adopt kiosks since 2009. It has helped install more than 700 defibrillator stations in adopted phone boxes across the UK. Martin Fagan, national secretary of the Community Heartbeat Trust charity, said: “BT’s kiosk adoption scheme has given us a great opportunity to increase the number of defibrillators across the UK in recent years. To install defibrillators in disused phone boxes is ideal, as they’re often in the centre of villages and towns and it means the iconic red phone box can remain a lifeline and focus for the community.”


North West financial advisor, Sedulo, has helped hundreds of disadvantaged young people in the region as they prepare to transition from primary to secondary school this September.

As the new school term approaches, the mid-tier financial advisory and accountancy firm, is providing more than 750 ‘back to school’ bags as a gesture to support young people growing up in households affected by poverty. Delivered by Sedulo’s official charity arm, The Sedulo Foundation, which was launched in June, the Back to School campaign supports disadvantaged young people throughout the country and follows other significant efforts, such as providing laptops and tablets to secondary school students facing digital poverty.

The ‘Back to School’ bags include stationery, PE kits, Nando’s vouchers and other helpful items. In total, the foundation has provided £15,780 of Nando’s vouchers, 1,578 pieces of PE kit, 7,101 pieces of stationery, 2,367 goodies and more than 11,500 individual items to primary schools and charities across Liverpool and Manchester, as well as Leeds and London.

The Sedulo Foundation marked its launch with a star-studded fundraising event in Manchester, raising £125,000 with every penny going to good causes across the country. The Sedulo Foundation chair, Cathryn Wright, is hoping the back to school bags will give extra confidence to young people as they take the next step in their education. She said: “Starting secondary school is daunting enough without the financial pressures that come with it and so we wanted to do something practical to help young people living in households affected by poverty.

“The back to school bags will go some way to help young people during the transition from primary to secondary schools and it builds on the work we have already done through the Sedulo Foundation to tackle digital poverty affecting high school students around the country.”


Dave Jones

A state-of-the-art industry centre is designed to be the catalyst for a cluster which leads the way in UK operational technology cyber security. A new Operational Technology Engineering Centre is being created by Sellafield Ltd on the site of the iSH Enterprise Campus in Cumbria to support Sellafield’s mission to create a clean and safe environment for future generations

Dave Jones, who leads a team of 200 staff at Sellafield, is heading up the project to develop Unit 18 which will also open up far-reaching opportunities for the wider community. The plans are a major step forward for the new enterprise campus which is being developed by Cumberland Council at Leconfield, Cleator Moor.

The campus will be a base for the Industrial Solutions Hub (iSH), which is looking to build on the nuclear decommissioning expertise of Sellafield and the wider supply chain and, through collaboration with other sectors, industries and academia, find new markets to enable businesses and organisations to diversify and grow. Up to 70 staff will work at Sellafield’s Operational Technology Engineering Centre (OTEC) when it opens next month.

Dave, Sellafield’s head of Operational Technology Group (OTG), said: “I want West Cumbria to be the centre of OT Cyber Security for the country. The plan for Unit 18 is part of that vision. We are developing an industry-leading operational technology service. Some of the most skilled people involved in nuclear decommissioning on the planet work in our team. So how do we upskill the next generation who are going to take that journey on and develop them so they have the knowledge and capability to work across multiple facilities?”

Dave has already paved the way for the transition by moving part of his team’s operations to Sellafield’s Engineering Centre of Excellence which shares the same Leconfield campus site. Dave said: “We have used the Engineering Centre of Excellence as a pilot to start applying the standards that befit a professional engineer and we are developing Unit 18 based on what we have learned there. This will enable us to create even more technology-centric specialist groups. It has improved our knowledge management and, through sharing, we are understanding better when and where we have any spare capacity.”


Hawk Inn, Haslington

Stockport-based family brewer and pub operator, Robinsons Brewery, has completed £1.25m-worth of investment in one month. July saw the refurbishment of three tenanted pubs in Cheshire: The Hawk Inn in Haslington, The Unicorn in Congleton, and The Swan & Chequers in Sandbach.

It said the significant investments, each very different, showcase the brewery’s commitment to developing and enhancing its diverse 250-strong pub estate. The Hawk, The Unicorn, and The Swan & Chequers have all undergone extensive renovations. The investment sees the re-opening of a previously closed business, generating additional jobs within the region. Robinsons is also welcoming two new business partners on board to operate two of the restored pubs and celebrating more than 30 years of partnership with their business partner at The Unicorn.

This year, the brewer has invested the highest amount of capital expenditure across its pub estate, with 17 investment projects completed in 2023 so far.

William Robinson, managing director (pub division), at Robinsons, said: “The investments we are making across our pub estate reflects dedication to our business partners and the communities they serve. These recent investments and the innovation we are driving in our cask and keg beer range demonstrate our commitment to delivering a great experience for consumers, in unique and welcoming surroundings.”

The Hawk Inn has benefited from a delicate restoration of a listed building, the well-loved Unicorn in Congleton was refreshed for its community and their interest in live sports, while The Swan & Chequers brings a new dimension to Sandbach with its transformed town centre pub.


One of the diggers thieves tried to steal

The North West’s power network operator is asking the public to keep a look out after assets were stolen from two sites in Greater Manchester.

Stockport-based Electricity North West estimates that more than £30,000 of equipment has been stolen in the past month after a mini digger and electrical generator were taken. The digger was stolen from a high voltage substation on Hall Lane in Horwich as thieves used an angle grinder to break through padlocks and illegally enter the grounds before making away with the machine. The generator was stolen from a site on Hacken Lane in Darcy Lever last Tuesday.

It is believed both incidents are linked, and Electricity North West is working with Greater Manchester Police. Paul McMahon, Electricity North West’s area operations manager for Lancashire, said: “It’s incredibly frustrating to have key assets stolen on two separate occasions in Bolton. The digger and generator both serve essential purposes to help us keep power on for the local area.

“We need to put a stop to these thefts and I’m appealing to the local community to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in the area and ask anybody who may have any information to report it directly to the police.”

Thieves attempted to make away with a second digger in Horwich but eventually gave up after stripping the machine down causing thousands of pounds-worth of damage. In Darcy Lever, the generator was being used as part of a job with the thieves towing the machine away leaving just the generator cables behind and cutting power to local homes. To report any information about the incidents, please use crime reference number 671/280723 for the diggers and 335/7150823 for the generator.

Dave JonesHawk Inn, HaslingtonOne of the diggers thieves tried to steal