Monday, April 6, 2020

The Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire – site of the world-famous Lovell radio telescope – has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The observatory, which is owned by Manchester University, joins international sites including Stonehenge, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China.

The award recognises the role that Jodrell Bank has played in transforming our understanding of the universe. The site has played a pioneering role in the development of radio astronomy, tracking spacecraft in the early space race, and carrying out research into quasars, pulsars and gravitational lenses.

It is most famous as the home one of the world’s largest steerable radio telescopes: the Lovell Telescope, which was named after its creator, the late Sir Bernard Lovell.

Today, Jodrell operates the UK’s national e-MERLIN radio telescope and hosts the global headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope project that will build the world’s largest telescope, comprised of a network of instruments sited in South Africa and Australia.

Commenting on the latest award Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “This is wonderful news and a great day in the history of Jodrell Bank. It honours the pioneering work of Sir Bernard Lovell and the early scientists here, together with the world leading research that continues to this day.”

Professor Michael Garrett, director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics, said: “We’re very proud that the contribution of the Observatory and its staff, have been recognised at the very highest level. We continue to explore the Universe with e-MERLIN and our participation in the European VLBI Network, and we look forward to playing a major role in the scientific exploitation of the Square Kilometre Array.”

A coatings company with 85 staff has adopted the John Lewis and Richer Sounds model by becoming employee-owned.

Northpoint, which is based in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, was founded in 1976 and since a management buyout in 2007 had been owned by directors Garry Marshall, Philip Dawson, Simon Quiligotti and Howard Tomes.

Now their shares have been transferred to an employee ownership trust.

Northpoint is a £6.25m-turnover business which specialises in protective coatings for steel fabrications, including galvanised steel fencing, industrial pipework for water treatment plants and oil and gas transmission systems, and street furniture.

Garry, Simon and Howard remain as directors under the new structure while Philip has moved to a consultancy role.

Senior manager Tony Holt and senior production manager Philip Butterworth are now deputy managing director and operations director respectively and have joined the board of trustees, which is chaired by Philip Dawson.

Neil Smith, managing director of recruitment and payroll services company Kinetic, which became employee-owned last year, has joined the board as an independent director.

Ben Bradley of HURST Corporate Finance and Liz Gallagher of HURST’s tax team advised the shareholders on the creation of the employee ownership trust.

Paul Johnson and Rachel Clarkson, of Ward Hadaway, provided legal advice.

A seven-figure funding package was arranged by HSBC UK’s Sam Roden and Tim Hodson to support the establishment of the EOT.

Employee ownership trusts were introduced by the government in 2014 and HURST has set up a specialist team to advise on their creation. Last year HURST steered Kinetic through the process.

Ben Bradley said: “The shareholders of Northpoint were keen to preserve the company’s ethos of active employee participation and an EOT was the ideal way to achieve this goal.

“It’s a model which is being increasingly adopted in the UK and has been shown to boost profits, productivity, job security and employee wellbeing.

“Employee-owned businesses are increasingly at the forefront of innovation and we wish everyone at Northpoint well for the future.”

Philip Dawson said: “It felt the right thing to do for the shareholders to pass the business on to the workforce and an EOT seemed the appropriate way of achieving this.

“It’s our view that, as our people gain knowledge and understanding of how the business runs, they will flourish.

“Whenever people previously excluded from the strategic decision-making process are included, in our case the general workforce through an employee forum, then everyone in the business benefits.

“It’s a cliché but nonetheless true to say that our people are Northpoint’s most important asset. We treat listening to the workforce as the centrepiece of our commitment to respect, engagement, growth and profitability, which ultimately is the goal of an EOT for the benefit of all employees.

“We also recognise we have some great leaders who have the character to lead Northpoint through the next phase of its journey.”

Sam Roden, business banking area director for Greater Manchester at HSBC UK, said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to provide the funding required to support Northpoint’s transition to an EOT.

“HSBC UK has a team of experienced relationship managers who are available to visit any SMEs considering a change of control through an MBO or similar transaction.

“We started our partnership with Northpoint in 2017 and, since then, we’ve been impressed by its progressive outlook on growing the business to the benefit of its workforce.

“The team has a wealth of experience which, coupled with their desire for growth, will only lead to exciting opportunities in the future.”



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



After consistently strong rating performances in our first two seasons, the only online, daily up-dated website that brings visitors the latest local news, has expanding its regional reach.

Over the relatively short time from its inception in November 2013, Hyde Community Matters has developed from a Hyde centred glossy 24page ‘Community News Magazine’ thorough to December 2014 when we took the project online to become a daily up-dated online community news site, which to date has attracted well over 370,000 visitors, – all eager to read the local news; – and that number is still growing!

Now, in response to a number of requests to cover news and events from our friends in neighbouring towns and villages, we are pleased to announce that we have gently expanded our news coverage to provide a more comprehensive reader service by covering good news, events and achievements from individuals, communities and businesses, from a little further afield – no longer exclusively covering one town, but the whole of Tameside and the surrounding regions, and by doing so, we’re better placed to support our local advertisers growing development needs.

“Of all our current partners we spoke with, Karen Dorney of Hyde’s Paper Tulips understands the success and potential of our in-depth local news coverage; and as the owner of Tameside’s premier craft emporiums and organiser of monthly Artisan Markets, she is uniquely positioned to back our expansion, as it encourages potential customers from much wider areas,”

“While continuing to put our readers at the heart of everything we do; we are committed to continue to cover in-depth local news articles, showcase local events, shout about schools and student achievements and profile specialist real-life features that celebrate those individuals who have achieved success, shown courage against the odds, or people who are making a difference within our local communities.”

To reflect these changes, we have changed the name to one that better echo’s the new site’s expanded content.

Visitors to the old site,, will automatically be redirected to the new site,

“Our aim is still to provide the best online news specifically to our close communities, by offering a convenient, one-click, local source of timely daily up-dated news, where visitors come first for information and advice, local businesses place their adverts and community groups put us at the top of their list when promoting their up-coming events.”


We believe that this online expansion marks a return to real local news, giving readers the chance to learn more about what’s going on in their immediate area and to read (and write) news stories about what matters to them. We are therefore looking for ANY VOLUNTEERS from the different areas, (who’d like to see their work in print) so that we can have a ‘person on the ground’ who is in closer touch in identifying local happenings and who would become the main point of contact for local people; – promoting the work of local community organisations, voluntary sector groups and businesses, along with arts, school successes, sport and cultural activities that are taking place in their area.


  • Budding or experienced reporters, with access to email, who wish to gain experience or give back to their local community
  • To find and root out stories of particular interest to people in their area
  • To write, research and interview for those stories, to build content on the website.
  • We also need a ‘Social Media’ savvy person to place local stories and events on Facebook & Twitter etc’ to drive site traffic.

This is a great opportunity for local budding and experienced journalists to hone their writing skills.

This wider reader appeal also adds a much more expansive opportunity for local advertisers to reach a vastly expanded audience, and by widening our readership, we plan to gradually introduce extra relevant categories like jobs, motoring, housing, and domestic services, among other localized topics.

So, if you would like to become a volunteer local correspondent, or are a forward thinking Community Group, Local Business, School, Sports Club, Faith Group or Charity organisation and have stories you think are newsworthy, want to publicise your events, achievements, or wish to advertise to a growing local audience, please contact us directly by email:

Local Community Matters is a not-for-profit community trust, run by volunteers all of whom have strong links to the towns and people surrounding Tameside.