Wednesday, May 22, 2019

While so many companies across the UK seem content to sit tight until the Brexit situation is sorted, there is one local firm that is going from strength to strength. And that is excellent news for the whole of Tameside.

Matthews Environmental Solutions, the waste incinerator, pet cremation and human cremation equipment specialists based in Hyde, is steadily building on continued success with significant new contracts, a busy work in progress schedule and a packed pipeline of prospective new orders that mean the company has now been able to accelerate their existing expansion plans.

The latest order to be received by Matthews is a significant contract from a major government organisation operating to support animal and plant health science from a dedicated site of national importance.

This contract involves a bespoke designed 500kg/hr rotary kiln incinerator complete with specialist technology including an advanced flue gas treatment system that is fully compliant with all the very latest and most stringent EU waste and emissions directives. It also incorporates an innovative energy recovery system enabling steam generated by the incineration process to be recycled for other processes.


On-going success on this scale means that Matthews is continuing to expand and invest in the prosperity of the borough. Having outgrown their existing facility in Hyde the company is now searching for new, larger premises within the Tameside area. They are also in the process of recruiting additional staff, including engineers, designers and administration personnel. Most importantly Matthews will also be recruiting a number of new apprentices with the support of Tameside College and the local council.

‘As a company we have always been passionate about our local community and strive to seek out opportunities to work hand in hand with the local supply chain, council, and of course education providers. The engineering and manufacturing skills shortage in the UK is a very real and ongoing issue yet the support to bridge the gap from education into associated employment is often lacking. This is something I can relate to from personal experience so the opportunity to share our success by working with the local community is of great significance to us’

Elliott Jones – Technical Director, Matthews Environmental Solutions UK.

All in all this has to be good news for Tameside because it means the company will also be extending its local supply chain with additional requirements from locally based suppliers, sub-contractors and partner companies.

Yes it is growth built on success for Matthews … but it is success that equals growth for the local community.

For further information about Matthews Environmental Solutions, check out the company’s website:




RESIDENTS can now have their say on plans to make Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service fit for the future.

The public consultation on the GMFRS Programme for Change Outline Business will run until May 31.

You can give your views on the plan at

The public are being consulted with on two specific areas, these are:

Our proposal to consolidate six fire stations into three brand new, state-of-the-art community fire stations in Bolton, Manchester and Stockport

Our proposal to manage our fleet of fire engines, whilst ensuring that we still have a response time that is faster than the national average

The Programme for Change is a major transformation project for GMFRS with the aim of ensuring the service has the right resources in the right places, is well-equipped, well-managed, and well-led.

By 2022 we need to make efficiency savings of £12.8million and these proposals will help us to meet this, whilst helping us to develop a service both for the future and fit to service the communities of Greater Manchester.

Chief Fire Officer Jim Wallace said: “The proposals we are consulting on are essential to ensure GMFRS is fit for the future and to serve the communities of Greater Manchester. As such, it is important those communities are involved in this process and get a chance to have their say.

“Our approach throughout this process has always been one of ‘listen, learn and change’ and this consultation is a vital part of that. I would urge anyone who has a view on what we are proposing to get involved through this consultation.”

As well as encouraging the public to have their say, we are also engaging with staff on the proposals.

The feedback gathered from the staff and public consultation will then be considered before the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, signs off any final plans for the future of the service for implementation.


Plans for a new ‘state of the art’ £9m college building for students to learn the tools of the construction trade have been given the green light.

Tameside College has been given permission to demolish existing ‘poor quality’ buildings on the original Ashton-under-Lyne site and replace them with a brand new ‘construction skills centre’.

The project has been backed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority which last April agreed to invest £3.3m in its development – a third of the total cost.

Some £71m has been earmarked by the combined authority for investment into skills between 2017 and 2021.

At a meeting last Wednesday morning, the borough’s planning committee unanimously backed the plans.

The new building will be able to house the majority of trade workshops under one roof, which are currently split across different buildings at the Beaufort Road campus.

These consist of carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, electrical, plumbing and gas departments.

The officer report recommending approval of the application states that the intention is for the site to become the ‘primary focus’ for technical skills.

“Overall, it is considered the proposed design and its use of high quality materials as indicated will enhance the area by significantly regenerating the site,” it adds.

“This in turn would have a very positive benefit upon the character and appearance of the campus.

“It also considered that the proposal would contribute significantly towards the regeneration of the Beaufort Road campus creating a modern teaching and learning environment for future students.

“The development is aligned with council’s economic and social aspirations of raising attainment within the borough and will contribute directly to the Vision Tameside strategy.”

The two-storey skills centre is the first step of the college’s master plan to replace the older buildings with ‘high quality’ facilities.

The buildings to be demolished are the Portland building, refectory, Elysium, and Ryecroft.

It is intended to coincide with the completion of the new Advanced Skills Centre – part of the Vision Tameside development – in the town centre, which would see fewer students using the Beaufort Road campus.

The construction skills centre would cover 2,749sqm, and would link to the Victoria building through a mezzanine.


Homes in Greater Manchester are being offered an exclusive green energy deal, backed by renewable electricity generated in the North West of England.  

The tariff, which is limited to the first 1,000 homes to apply, is from Octopus Energy, one of the UK’s fastest growing suppliers, and can save a typical Greater Manchester home £272 a year.

Residents can access the deal, which is backed by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), at

Green energy experts Big Clean Switch, who negotiated the tariff for the GMCA, say the Octopus deal combines low cost green energy with the supplier’s award winning customer service. Octopus is the only UK energy supplier to have been named as a Which? recommended provider for the last two years running.

Every unit of electricity used by homes on the tariff will be matched by power generated at a wind farm in the North West of England – High Power Wind Farm in Wigton, Cumbria.

The exclusive deal is only available until 17 April, and is timed to coincide with the launch of a five-year Environment Plan for Greater Manchester at Mayor Andy Burnham’s Green Summit, which took place yesterday at the Lowry Centre.

Councillor Alex Ganotis, Green City-Region Lead for Greater Manchester Combined Authority said:

“Our five year Environment Plan sets out our vision for a green Greater Manchester and the urgent actions we all need to take to help achieve this. Clean, renewable energy is an essential part of this plan and something we can all act on now. This exclusive green energy tariff makes it easy, accessible and affordable for everyone to switch today and play their part in greening Greater Manchester.”

Big Clean Switch Managing Director Jon Fletcher said: “This tariff gives residents of Greater Manchester an easy way to buy green energy that is both affordable and supports the region’s growing renewables industry.”

As well as all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities, a host of other organisations from across the city including football clubs, universities and businesses are backing the Greater Manchester Big Clean Switch campaign, the first of its kind in the UK.

Manchester Town Hall, MediaCityUK and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium are among many locations across Greater Manchester lighting up green this week to encourage residents and businesses to switch to renewable electricity.

From today (18 March) residents and organisations in Greater Manchester can register their interest for exclusive offers on green energy at

The green energy offers are a result of a partnership between Greater Manchester Combined Authority and green energy experts, Big Clean Switch, who have negotiated the deals exclusively for Greater Manchester.

An exclusive deal for households will be launched on 26 March, with offers for businesses and community groups following in April.

The buildings lighting up green are either already powered by green electricity or are in the process of moving over to green electricity. They’ll light up green every evening from 18 March to 22 March.

The initiative is timed to coincide with Mayor Andy Burnham’s Green Summit, taking place at the Lowry Centre on 25 March. The summit will launch Greater Manchester’s five-year environment plan, which sets out the urgent actions we all need to take in the next five years if we are to meet our long-term vision of becoming a carbon-neutral city region by 2038.

One of the actions needed is for residents and businesses of Greater Manchester to switch to green energy.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “This is a great initiative that literally shines a spotlight on a key issue. Switching to a renewable energy supplier is something we can all do, and Big Clean Switch has made the process simple and straightforward. It’s better for the environment, and in many cases will also lead to savings on people’s bills.

“At this year’s Green Summit, we will be launching our five-year environment plan to set us on the path to carbon neutrality in 2038. Only by us all taking action – residents and business included – will we hit that target, so I’d encourage everyone to make that switch.”

The Very Reverend Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester said:

“Manchester Cathedral is proud to be supporting the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s green energy campaign by lighting the clock on the Cathedral tower green.

In 2013, Manchester Cathedral installed underfloor heating powered by ground source heat pumps that use natural energy stored in the earth to heat and cool the cathedral. We all have a key role to play in working together to make a difference and to protect our planet and switching homes and businesses over to renewable energy is a great way to get involved.”

Clare Philips, Direct of Social Purpose & Julia Giannini, Corporate Responsibility Manager at ITV Services Ltd said: “Improving the environmental impact of our business, both on and off screen, is an important part of our Social Purpose strategy. We’ve been running the buildings we own on renewable energy for some time, and the brilliant team at Coronation Street have worked hard over the years to also reduce waste and the energy they use. We’re delighted to be part of the Green Summit and show our support for a lower-impact Manchester.”

Local households have saved an average of £270 a year switching to green energy since Big Clean Switch started working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority in late 2017.

As well as all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities, a host of other organisations from across the city including football clubs, universities and businesses are backing the Greater Manchester Big Clean Switch campaign, the first of its kind in the UK.

The full list of buildings lighting up green are:

  • Dukinfield Town Hall, Tameside Council
  • ITV studios in MediaCityUK
  • Manchester Cathedral
  • Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Stadium
  • Manchester Town Hall
  • MediaCityUK
  • Salford Town Hall
  • Stockport Town Hall
  • Swan Street Studios, Royal Exchange Theatre
  • United Utilities’ Davyhulme Water Treatment Works, Trafford

If you are feeling totally fed up with the disreputable, untrustworthy, Westminster parties’ all infighting over an ‘in’ or ‘out’ Brexit; Four Kings Brewery, in Hyde are holding their own ‘people’s vote’ on Saturday 23rd February, at their unique brewery bar in Newton, Hyde.

The talented brewers at the popular micro-brewery have been busy creating some brand new 4Kings beer flavours, and are inviting you come along to their next open day to try them out and vote for your favourite.

The brew with the most votes will become another one of their flagship brews. Just imagine that, – you vote for something and your choice actually gets implemented straight away! – No pontificating, no weasel words or false claims, just a simple democratic decision.

The Brewery will be open from 1.30pm; and as usual the Four Kings flagships beers will also be available, along with a good stock of everything else to keep the non-beery types happy.

The bar will be closing at 6.30pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to make your votes count.

Also on the day the ‘culinary maestro’ from The Cask and Kitchen, in Glossop will be cooking up something delightful to go with a pint or two!

They’ll be at least 4 new beer flavours to try along with the Four Kings flagship Gold Bitter, IPA and Porter, so get in touch to have your name(s) added to the guest list as soon as you can, as it promises to be another memorable day!

To find out more, find them on Facebook: @fourkingsbrewery



New Charter Homes and Aksa Homes; part of Jigsaw Homes Group have been awarded a gold rating for its environmental performance, after being assessed by a national environmental benchmarking group, SHIFT (Sustainable Homes Index for Tomorrow).

The accreditation measures the environmental work of organisations in the housing sector and assesses key areas that they need to deliver in.

According to the report, the organisations were recognised for their sustainability projects such as carbon literacy training for all staff and installing electric vehicle charging points at offices.

Different categories have looked at the environmental impact of all of the housing associations’ work, including new build and day to day office practices, existing property works and future plans for remaining environmentally friendly.

Danny Vose, Head of Asset Management for Jigsaw Group said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to gain the gold rating from SHIFT and are really pleased to be recognised so highly for our awareness of the environment that we work in.

“We understand that, now more than ever, all companies need to recognise the impact that they have on the environment but particularly so in the case of building work. We work hard to have only a positive impact on the communities that we work and develop in, so we’re delighted to be recognised so highly by a national body.”

For more information, visit or Twitter @JigsawHG.



Greater Manchester’s Leaders are calling on employers, employees and others to give their views and help shape the country’s first ground breaking city-region Good Employment Charter. 

The first draft of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, which aims to help employers reach excellent employment standards and become more successful as a result, has just been published for consultation. The Charter, which is the first of its kind in the country to be developed by a city-region, follows a consultation earlier in the year on what should be in a Charter, and a co-design process involving employers, employees and others. The proposal will be a key part of the Local Industrial Strategy being developed for the city-region to raise productivity.

The consultation is now open and will close on Sunday, November 18. Share your views on the draft Good Employment Charter here:

Good jobs have been at the heart of the city region’s resurgence. Many employers are not only innovating, investing, growing but also helping to make Greater Manchester a great place to live.

However, while employment growth in the city-region has been strong, too many residents are in low-paid and insecure roles with little opportunity to progress.  Greater Manchester’s ambition is to extend the excellent employment practice in some sectors and employers, more widely.

While creating the draft Charter, many employers have been clear that engaging employees brings significant benefits like lower turnover of staff, a more motivated and dedicated workforce, and new insights, ideas and perspectives help an organisation succeed. This improvement in working practices in turn helps to raise the productivity of employees, a major challenge for the city-region.  The evidence is that businesses that support and invest in their employees are more profitable, add more value, and are better respected.

The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter aims to build a movement of employers behind these ambitions to create good work across the city-region – engaging widely at the same time as setting challenging standards. The Charter will also look to harness the power of public procurement to drive up standards across Greater Manchester.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “I want Greater Manchester to be the best place to live, work and invest.  The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter is right at the heart of those plans.

“In this draft Charter we’re setting out a vision of good employment – jobs which are secure, fairly paid and fulfilling, with opportunities to progress and develop.  This has been created alongside employers, business groups, trades unions, professional bodies, campaign groups, and academics.

“But we want to hear from all of our city-region’s businesses, trade unions and employees to make sure this Employment Charter is truly by Greater Manchester and works for Greater Manchester.

“Good employment is a win-win for Greater Manchester’s employers – whether they are in the private, public or voluntary and community sectors – because employers who are the best at engaging and supporting their employees are the most successful.

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Trades Union Congress, founded here in Manchester as a voice for working people, I’m determined that we continue to lead the way in improving their lives.  This Charter can be a critical tool as we work with business, trade unions and others to make our city-region a beacon of good and productive work.”

Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for the Economy, Sir Richard Leese added: “Employers have been central to Greater Manchester’s growth and success.  Many of Greater Manchester’s leading employers ensure they get the best from their workforce through fairly-paid roles, using skills and strengths to the full and providing opportunities to progress.  This helps to drive growth and boost our economy.

“We now want to pioneer an approach that brings together employers behind these values.

“Our Employment Charter can help to make our city-region the best place to work but only if we hear the voices of employers and employees from across Greater Manchester during this consultation.”

Greater Manchester portfolio lead for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, Councillor Sean Fielding said: “Greater Manchester is establishing itself as the best place in the UK for businesses to grow and succeed. The Good Employment Charter will further carve out our unique identity, helping employers create great jobs and demonstrate their commitment to driving shared prosperity.

“The partnership at the core of the Good Employment Charter is what Greater Manchester is all about – bringing together businesses, trade unions and communities across the region. Combined with great schools and outstanding further and higher education, the Charter is part of making an economy that works for everyone.”

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Clive Memmott said: “I think it’s really important that we have the courage in Greater Manchester to set out the principles of what good employment practice and effective employee engagement looks like. This shouldn’t be prescriptive, complex or aiming to be the perfect model for all employers. Its purpose is set out a clear vision of what good and fair employment looks like. This won’t be fixed in tablets of stone but will be dynamic and continue to evolve as more organisations become involved and different approaches are recognised and new ideas generated.

“Effective employee engagement strategy is plain common sense. The idea that creativity, imagination and innovation just comes from those at the top of an organisation is nonsense. If we really want our organisations in Greater Manchester to be more productive we need to be fully engage and involve all our people and provide flexible and fair employment. This isn’t always easy but the results can be transformational for both employer and employee.

“This consultation will only be effective if people get involved and send in their views. This is your chance to shape the thinking about what good employment should look like in Greater Manchester and how we should promote, encourage and recognise this. If we really are serious about improving our productivity in Greater Manchester this is an important starting point.”


Ashton-under-Lyne specialist Tax and Accountancy practice, ‘Your Tax Shop’ has been shortlisted in a number of industry awards, including the prestigious IRIS Customer Awards 2018 and locally in the Pride of Tameside Awards 2018.


This year IRIS launched a new customer awards ceremony to recognise excellence, along with recognising thriving individuals and practices that are succeeding and forging ahead in the digital economy, especially those who demonstrate staff satisfaction, clever use of technology and astute business strategy and run distinctively and innovatively compared to similar sized practices.

A delighted ‘Your Tax Shop’ Practice Manager, Yvonne Cookson said “This is the first year for these awards and we are delighted to have been shortlisted in so many categories which include:

  • IRIS Firm of the Year- small practice
  • Client Excellence Firm of the Year
  • Practice Manager of the Year- Yvonne Cookson
  • Accountant of the Year- Fiona Heyes

The awards ceremony will take place tomorrow evening in London. ( 9th October 2018 )

The company have also been selected as Finalists in the ‘Pride of Tameside Awards 2018’, which takes place at Dukinfield Town Hall on Thursday 25th October, where the thriving practice have been selected as finalists in the following 5 categories:

  • Small Business of the Year
  • Professional Services Business of the Year
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Award
  • Entrepreneur of the Year- Yvonne Cookson
  • Apprentice of the Year- Danny Harris, Joshua Thomas and Kieran Ward

Yvonne concluded, “We are so proud and feel very privileged to be selected as finalists in both the above awards ceremonies! It shows that all the teams’ hard work is definitely paying off!

On behalf of all at Local Community Matters we’d like to say “Well done Yvonne, Fiona and all the Tax Shop team. Good luck to everyone up for awards, go smash it!


As part of Hyde Community College’s inspirational guidance to encourage more students to excel in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, five students took to the track yesterday in their ‘Green-powered’ electric car.

The green powered car racing team sponsored by EMR metal recycling are on their second outing at the Aintree circuit after upgrading their motor and batteries after their first race last year. First practice sessions went well against an international field with teams competing from as far away as Argentina. After a few adjustments to the set up the team finished 14th out of 29 competitors in the 90min endurance race which included some fantastic driving and overtaking manoeuvres on track paired with extremely slick pit changeovers.

Teacher, Matt Brogan who oversaw the design, build and finally encouraged the Hyde team to race their electric car, said, “If you see Dominic Mayhew, Jordan Hill, Dominic Hill, Drew Hill and Joe Slamon this morning, please pass on your congratulations to them after they put in a brilliant performance in their green powered car race yesterday. They finished 14th out of 29 international cars including in their 90min endurance race beating Tameside College,  Denton Community College and West Hill in both races to be the best racing team in Tameside.”