Finance Yorkshire Roadshows 2014

 

Photo and video assignment for client Finance Yorkshire shot during their 2014 Roadshow at Sheffield Town Hall.

 

Finance Yorkshire Roadshows 2014.

Bill Westwater or Xeros speaks at the Sheffield Event

 

 

Finance Yorkshire Roadshows 2014.

James Newman, Chairman of Sheffield City Region LEP at the Sheffield Event.

 

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Former Miner Brimming With Green Energy For Woodfuel

Dave Sefton – Silvapower

One thing Dave Sefton has never been short of is energy!

When the 50 year old from Barnsley left school it was straight down the local pit as a “ripper”, building tunnels behind the cutting machines which eked away at the coal face.

When the industry contracted he was made redundant and found himself making charcoal at Wentworth Castle, Stainborough, before finally helping to set up a wood chip company in 2004 to fuel a green revolution in South Yorkshire.

Back then local councils and public bodies wanted to install biomass heating installations,  but were unable to get past the first base because there was no fuel supply infrastructure in place to get timber from the woods and into a suitable form for burning.

Despite this the Forestry Commission said that there was massive scope to develop the sector in South Yorkshire, with its long history of using solid fuels like coal and the amount of local woodland which could be brought into management.

So Silvapower was set up to plug the supply gap with the help of the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership, Sheffield City Council, Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Investment Fund.

Eight years later the company has gone from strength-to-strength and is chalking up new milestones.  Next year it is set to produce 35,000 cubic metres of wood chip to meet rising demand.

“I didn’t intend it that way, but my whole career has been supplying fuel of one kind or another, finally ending up with the oldest fuel of the lot, wood,” said Dave, who was a collier at Barnsley Main and Barrow coal mines.  “More local supplies are needed, but timber is coming on stream.  To produce 35,000 cubic metres of wood chips, we need 10,000 tonnes of timber, which translates into about 25,000 trees. We want to talk to local woodland owners and estates about purchasing timber – we always need more of it and want to build long term relationships. Wood is a growth industry and unlike coal we can keep on growing the stuff. It’s really exciting to be involved in something like this, which is growing fast and also does good for the world”

The Forestry Commission has revealed that 56 wood fuel installations have been installed in South Yorkshire as the move towards more eco-friendly energy generation gathers pace.

Long term oil and gas price increases and climate change mean that experts have dubbed it as one of the fuels of the future.  Such is the local potential that South Yorkshire was chosen for a 200,000 Euro investment under an EU project called Activating Forest Owners to develop the sector and create jobs.

Crispin Thorn, Forestry Commission Area Director for Yorkshire and the North East, said:

“Under-management of our woods has been recognised as a lost opportunity for woodland owners for years.  But there are encouraging signs that owners are putting their woods back to work. Some of the timber being used by Silvapower and other local wood fuel suppliers is coming from places like Greno Woods, near Sheffield, and from woods owned by the Fitzwilliam Estate, near the Strines, west of Bradfield.  Sustainable woodland management where trees are felled and replaced is good for conservation and also taps an increasingly valuable and renewable asset for South Yorkshire. It’s great to see businesses developing and expanding in order to take up this growing opportunity.”

Silvapower was taken over by Forest Fuels last year, but Dave stayed on as Yard Foreman at the main depot in Brierley, near Barnsley, where £1m has been invested in storage facilities, processing machinery and delivery equipment.  Customers include all four councils in South Yorkshire and local schools.

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Barnsley Man Logs On To A Roaring Business Idea

Robert Lodge of Firewood Logs

When Robert Lodge installed a log burning stove in his farmhouse near Tankersley, Barnsley, he could hardly imagine what would happen next.

First the local pub and then other locals asked him to help them find hard to source timber for their own new stoves and fires.

So adept did he become, that an inkling of an idea began to form to diversify his farm business. Five years later, having spent £30,000 on timber processing machinery, 90% of his time is spent on his new timber-based business, rather than in the fields of his 1,000 acre family farm.

And Robert’s order book is bulging.

With a presence on Ebay and Facebook, he’s taken to cyberspace to connect with the soaring number of customers wanting to come home to a real fire.

Robert, 48, explained:

“I never had any intentions of getting into the firewood business, but it really sort of crept up on me.  Initially I just used wood laying around farm for my own needs, but things took off from there.  The number of people installing woodfuel boilers and log fires is really amazing.  That’s partly due to the surge in energy prices making it more attractive, but there’s also a feel good factor looking at an log fire and also using a more eco-friendly fuel.”

Robert Lodge of Firewood Logs

Robert’s success is music to the ears of the Forestry Commission, which believes that woodfuel could be a major growth area for businesses and woodland owners in South Yorkshire.  Stoked by the prospects, Robert recently joined a five day fact finding mission to Austria, organised by the Forestry Commission and South Yorkshire Forest Partnership.  It was funded by a European Union scheme called Activating Forest Owners, which has invested 200,000 Euros over two years into South Yorkshire to boost the woodfuel sector by getting more woods into management.

Robert added:

“Austria is far more advanced than we are and have lots more biomass boilers, but we are moving in their direction as oil prices keep on going up.  The trip made me even more optimistic about the future.  But we need to get more local woodlands producing timber in South Yorkshire.  At the moment most of my supplies come from other parts of the country, especially the Midlands.  But there are lots of neglected woods here that should be put back to work.”

South Yorkshire has 11,465 hectares (28,662 acres) of woodland – over 9% of land area – but forest chiefs estimate that around half remains an untapped resource.  Yorkshire currently produces about 300,000 tonnes of timber each year – over a third of which comes from Forestry Commission woodlands.

Rudie Humphrey, from the Forestry Commission, said:

“Robert’s experience shows the two sides of the story.  Woodfuel is an opportunity to create profitable rural businesses and employment, but we need more raw materials coming out of local woods.  We also had woodland owners on the trip to Austria and the message is getting home.  Our local woods are a big asset for us and well managed can produce economic and conservation gains.”

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RecyCoal Delivers Sustainable Routes to Work For Students

Nathan Tuck pictured with RecyCoal's Andy Foster

Four Yorkshire students have benefitted from the recent success and expansion by the UK’s leading waste coal recovery company, RecyCoal.  The company, that delivers sustainable solutions for previously mined sites, has appointed one qualified apprentice to the position of Mobile Plant Engineer and a further three as trainees.

Maintenance Engineer Nathan Tuck 22, from Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, has completed a four year NVQ Level 3 apprenticeship in Engineering Maintenance (Mechanical) at Doncaster College.  Nathan said: “It’s great, to now be qualified, the hands on experience I have gained at RecyCoal really helped me with my theoretical work at college.  I’m really pleased to be a fully qualified member of the mobile plant unit here, and I look forward to working on the variety of projects RecyCoal will deploy me on.”

Sales and Marketing Manager, David Stafford from the Doncaster based company, commented: “The expansion of the company lies in the quality of our employees.  It is essential we continue to invest, not only in equipment but the skills needed by our employees to support the company’s worldwide expansion programme.”

RecyCoal, specialises in the recovery of waste coal sites and is working on projects throughout the UK, including Langton (on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire), the United States, Australia and Eastern Europe.  The company, utilising its own unique hybrid Dual Density Natural Medium process, removes coal from variable contaminated feed, and offers a complete service of design, build, own and operate to restore sites to high environmental standards producing final landforms which are in keeping the surrounding landscape.

Nathan along with the three new recruits, all from Doncaster and the surrounding villages, will be putting their skills and knowledge into practice ensuring the plant machinery used to complete the projects is fully maintained at all times.  The three younger apprentices, who are now embarking on the four year apprenticeship scheme with RecyCoal, come from diverse backgrounds.  Sam Jackson, 18, was previously working in retail and decided his career path was best placed in engineering and is now working to achieve the same qualification as Nathan.  Likewise, Michael Lindley 18, is a keen motor mechanic and decided to further his skills in an industrial environment and Greg Bennett 17, who found RecyCoal’s apprenticeship scheme through a dedicated website, wanted to progress from an NVQ level 2 qualification in Performing Engineering and Operations to a work based NVQ Level 3.

David continued: “Apprenticeships are an ideal resource to ensure that certain skills are not lost and for those young school leavers that have the tenacity and determination to work as hard as Nathan has done, the benefits are certainly rewarding. Our other young recruits will gain a vast amount of practical knowledge at RecyCoal, we have staff with years of experience in the coal mining and engineering industries and this coupled with a hands on approach will certainly assist them in their future career with the company.”

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A ‘fascinating’ football team!

Sprotbrough FC, a 'fascinating' team!

Spectators to the last game of the season in the Doncaster & District Sunday Alliance Football League were treated to a fascinating sight when one team donned a spectacular array of head gear!

New team sponsor, Exquisite Boutique, managed to persuade Sprotbrough FC to wear the striking fascinators prior to the League Cup Final.

Kettle Calling The Pot?

“I am really pleased to be able to support such a successful team that grows from strength to strength with each season,” commented Clare Dent owner of Exquisite Boutique.  “The team enjoyed wearing the fascinators. They really got into the spirit of what ultimately a fascinator is for, a fun and stylish accessory for any outfit!”

Exquisite Boutique, based at Markham Grange Garden Centre, Brodsworth offers a bespoke fascinator service, handbags and jewellery, and is looking forward to the new football season when the team will be proudly displaying the company’s logo.

Image gallery

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Finance Yorkshire makes major investment in S3 ID Group

Craig Hopwood of Finance Yorkshire and Derek Gennard of S3-ID Ltd

S3 ID, the UK’s market-leading provider of innovative location awareness solutions, has become the first company to receive an equity investment from Finance Yorkshire.

Based in Rotherham, S3 ID offers a range of unique and patented solutions which improve personnel safety and security in the oil, gas, petrochemical and energy sectors.

This major investment of £1.1m from Finance Yorkshire’s Equity Fund will enable S3 ID to maintain the controlled expansion it has experienced over the last three years which has resulted in the development of several new innovative products, along with the acquisition of further patents gained in new strategic sales regions around the globe

S3 ID, which also has regional offices in Norway and Singapore, has developed a unique product range from its experience of serving the on-shore and off-shore oil, gas and energy industries. Its products are ATEX certified and solutions use patented technology, time proven in operations worldwide.

Gro Kielland, chairman of S3 ID, said: “We are extremely positive about the new opportunities this investment will create. It further strengthens our operations and will allow more investment in product and business development, demonstrating to our clients our sound business standing and continuing commitment to helping our customers in the oil, gas, petrochemical and energy sectors meet the highest safety standards available for their personnel.

“Going forward, our first priority will be to ensure our customers continue to receive the same high level of service and support they expect and deserve as we drive the business forward.”

Craig Hopwood, who led this investment on behalf of the Fund, added: “S3 ID is a pretty unique business that operates within a high-tech, growth sector. This made the company an extremely attractive investment.

Derek Gennard of S3-ID Ltd and Craig Hopwood of Finance Yorkshire.

We believe that S3 ID is well placed to continue its expansion in the oil, gas and energy industries and we see this as a long-term strategic investment in our region for Finance Yorkshire. We are looking forward to working with Derek Gennard, Eivind Fredriksen and the rest of the management team to help achieve their growth plans.”

A strong professional team was put in place to secure the investment deal. The principal legal advisors in this process were Stephen Kitts of Eversheds and Michelle Kershaw of Pinsent Masons. Tax advice was provided by Steven Watson of Allots and banking support by Julia Drever of NatWest.

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, commented: “This is a landmark deal, not only for Finance Yorkshire, but also for the region. S3 ID is a global business, based in South Yorkshire, which is leading the way in new high-end technology. The investment is an indication as to the type of equity deals we are able to provide businesses to help them meet their needs for growth.”

Helping a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development, Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or ring 0845 649 0000.

For further information on S3 ID products and services, visit www.s3id.com, call the team directly on +441709 538205 or email: sales@S3-ID.com

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