Cotton Court Business Centre

Lancashire

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

UCLan LaunchPad Challenge Weekend

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Last weekend 20 students from LaunchPad joined us at Cotton Court for a ‘The Apprentice/Dragons Den’ style challenge weekend.

The LaunchPad leadership development programme is unique to the School of Business and the School of Management at UCLan and provides students with opportunities to enhance their professional skills allowing them to become the global leaders of the future.

LaunchPad students learn about the challenges of the current job market from employer and graduate perspectives and the leadership approaches needed to address them, in both theory and practice.

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Students were split up into 3 groups that each focused on a area of Preston that was to be developed, these areas were: Preston’s Nightlife, The Market Quarter and the Redevelopment of New Hall Lane. The Students had one day to come up with a business and marketing plan will only a ‘budget’ of £2 million.

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The next day the groups presented their ideas and plans to a panel of ‘Dragons’ including our very own Rob Binns.  After the ‘Dragons’ debated the winner was finally chosen, it was the Redevelopment of New Hall Lane!

Well done to all of the students who took part and thank you to UCLan for choosing Cotton Court again to host their event.

 

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

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.

Andy from Billboard PR1 – Big Fast for a Big Cause

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One of our great customers Andy Neale is taking part in a Zimbabwean style fast this week to raise money for a charity that is close to his heart- Progressio.

Andy has just returned from spending six whole months in Nicaragua living off rice and beans helping a remote community adapt to Climate Change. The fast is part of a project called ZimFast. ZimFast is a fundraising challenge to raise vital funds for Progressio’s work alongside people living in poverty. The challenge allow you to stand in solidarity with communities in poor and fragile countries like Zimbabwe, and take a glimpse into the lack of choice that extreme poverty brings.

Andy is just wanting £3 from 11 people to reach his target with his partner and friend. So if you haven’t done your ‘good dead of the day’ do it now!

You can read more here and donate here!

2nd office social – laughs, jokes & table football

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Last Friday we treated our customers to our second office social. We had a night filled with beer, pizza and most importantly table football and ping pong! The guys from Remploy beat everyone in the office in the table football competition, and the guys from Intelligent fleet management smashed the ping pong competition! It was a great night had by all!

Look out for details of our summer social coming soon!
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Our friends at Glovers Bar are up for multiple awards!

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Our friends at Glovers are excited to have a number of nominations in the It Smiles Better Awards 2016!

Vote for them here: http://bit.ly/1Vmdm88

They are up for the prestigious ‘Preston’s ‘Bar of the Year’ and Preston’s ‘Club of the Year’

Their wonderful members of staff are also up for individual awards including:

 

Sophie McBride – ‘Best Customer Service in a Leisure Business’?

Her quirky charm, endless energy and never-ending smile Sophie is the shining star in the customer service award category.

Jay Whalley – ‘Entertainer of the Year?

The man defined not only by his ever-evolving musical style,but also his numerous hairstyles! He has kept at the cutting edge of his craft and always leaves the crowds wanting more.

Chelsea Chard – ‘Leisure Manager of the Year’?

Chelsea deserves your vote for her passion and drive in the hospitality industry, her wholehearted leadership and being one of the consistent managers in the city’s nightlife scene.

Rob Binns – ‘Outstanding Achievement in Leisure’?

Rob started out in 1991 as a promoter, he then started putting events on in many of the city’s venues and creating iconic venues of the past including Mystic Productions, Cheeky Monkey, Browns, Truth; and 25 years later with Glovers. Rob is a very worthy contender in the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Leisure’

Vibe Tickets enters #VOOM Pitch To Rich!

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Vibe Tickets has entered the #VOOM Pitch To Rich competition this year, to be in with a chance to pitch their idea to Richard Branson, and win £50,000 to go towards improving the product, £250,000 for a marketing budget which will hugely help with Vibe’s efforts in continuing the #OutTheTout campaign and connecting more fans worldwide.

The Pitch To Rich competition gives Vibe a great platform to shout about the work they’ve been doing so far, and allows more fans to learn about the services Vibe Tickets can offer them. The exposure and support from Virgin Business could provide Vibe with a bigger audience to help and build the community- the more people using Vibe, the less people have to use secondary ticket sites that rip them off, and charge hugely inflated prices.

They are currently at position 10 in the rankings! They have had great support so far from fans, but they need to keep sharing and voting till they are at Number 1!! If you want to #VoteForVibe, and help them help more fans around the world then please vote here and share with them on social media!!

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Welcome to the Cotton Court team, Ella!

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Hello everyone, I’m Ella Worthy, Cotton Court’s Business Centre Administrator, and I can’t wait to get going and explore even into the ins and outs of everything that’s going on in and around the building.
I began my journey with Cotton Court a few days ago and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment so far. I have prior experience of working within office environments through working as a digital marketing assistant and as an administration and accounts assistant at a nursery. I also have a level Three Diploma in Social Media and Digital Marketing for Business and three A-levels.
I am no stranger to Cotton Court as I have attended many courses and have even taken part in the studio’s camera club on several occasions.
I feel like I have really slotted well into the team and so far Amy and Jon have really helped me understand the business as a whole. I’m really looking forward to working with Amy on the accounts as this is something I take a keen interest in.
Outside of my the office bubble, I have been an adult leader for Girlguiding at St Andrews Brownies and Guides for just over five years and my love of the outdoors has made me a keen photographer.

Scouts now bigger than ever in Lancashire!!

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West Lancashire Scouts are celebrating becoming bigger than they have ever been, after enjoying their 12th consecutive year of growth. After becoming the 8th largest Scout County in the UK in 2015, West Lancashire Scouts have continued to grow and now number 12,769 members in total, making them become bigger than at any point in a history which spans more than 100 years.

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The recently released census data shows that West Lancashire Scouts have grown in every one of their youth sections for girls and boys aged 6-25 years old. Over 9,500 young people are benefitting from Scouting in 154 Scout groups across West Lancashire which provide a varied programme of fun, challenge and adventure to support young people develop their social skills, make friends and enjoy new experiences together, with activities ranging from archery and camping to rock climbing and kayaking. The growth of Scouting is also benefiting communities across West Lancashire as Scouting has experienced nearly 10% growth in its teenage provision through Explorer Scouts and has recruited 183 new Young Leaders, aged 14-18, who volunteer their own time to have a positive impact on their communities as well as enjoying the Explorer Scouting programme.

Growth isn’t just about numbers though, and West Lancashire Scouts are celebrating becoming a more diverse organisation as female membership has grown by 9% and this is a success story seen across the country as female members now make up 25% of the movement nationally. Ellie Baker, 17 from Chorley, said, “Scouting has helped me so much by building my confidence. There is so much on offer for girls and boys. On my visit to the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015 my friends and I met people from all over the world, and worked together learning more about each other as well as how to look after ourselves and each other.”

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And its not just young people that are enjoying the fun, challenge and adventure of Scouting as adult membership has grown across all eight districts in the Scout County, showing that Scouting has something to offer for everyone. Carl Hankinson, Lead Volunteer for West Lancashire Scouts, said, “I am proud to be part of a successful organisation which is growing. Scouting is making itself more accessible in many parts of Lancashire and aims to grow further by welcoming more adults and young people, and becoming as diverse as the communities it serves.”

 

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said:

“I am super proud to see so many young people and adults learning new life skills, and achieving personal rewards through Scouting in the UK.  I am excited to see Scout numbers continue to rise across the UK, especially the numbers of girls.

What I’m most pleased about is that Scouts across the UK are putting their time in to helping their local communities. Through our A Million Hands campaign we are pledging one million hands to supporting four of the biggest social issues currently facing the UK and the wider world, but we can’t do it on our own. We want all young people to come and give Scouting a try and to get involved. This is how we can all play a vital role in shaping tomorrow’s world for the better.