Thursday, 27 May 2010

Baxi Ecogen - a revolutionary new way to generate heat

We are all familiar with the issues of climate change and global warming, but did you know that over a quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions in the UK come from the energy we use to heat, light and run our home?

If we are going to make a difference it is vital that the products we use to heat our homes are as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.

So, leading UK heating systems manufacturer Baxi has developed Baxi Ecogen, a combined heat and power appliance that is essentially a wall hung gas boiler that provides efficient gas central heating and hot water like any other boiler and also generates electricity for use in the home – a Dual Energy System.

What is micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP)?
Micro-CHP is the process of generating both electricity and heat from the same source close to where it is to be used. Baxi Ecogen provides highly efficient heating and hot water for the home and also generates low cost, low carbon electricity in the process. Using this electricity to power household appliances means that you need to buy les electricity from your energy provider, so you can look forward to lower electricity bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

CHP has been around for some time for large scale projects like hospitals, apartment blocks and schools. Baxi has taken this technology and developed it to be perfect for use in the home.

How does it work?
Baxi Ecogen looks and acts just like a conventional boiler and the basic principles for heating are the same as a regular boiler. The difference is inside. For electricity generation, the Baxi Ecogen uses a Stirling engine that is heated by burning gas. Helium inside expands and contracts to move a piston up and down between a copper coil, generating up to 1kW of electricity at 50Hz single phase.

So while the boiler is heating your home, it is also generating 1kWh of electricity for you to use.

It comes with a built-in energy meter so you can see how much electricity is being produced. A range of intelligent controls has been designed to set and control room and hot water temperatures and allow you to further reduce your fuel bills and carbon emissions.

How can I use 1kWh of electricity in my home?
Here is an example of how you could use 1kWh:
10 x 20W light bulbs
Washing machine

What are the benefits for Baxi Ecogen?
By generating your electricity at the same time as providing central heating and hot water, you can expect to save up to £600 on your annual fuel bills*. Any electricity you don’t use could be sold back to your energy supplier for an agreed tax-free, inflation linked price.

Electricity suppliers will pay householders a generation tariff of 10p for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated and an export tariff of 3p for every kWh of electricity exported back.

The cost of an installed Baxi Ecogen will vary depending on the size and type of property. You can expect to pay more than you would for a regular SEDBUK Band A boiler. However, you can get this money back through savings on your fuel bills.

Because electricity generated close to its point of use is much more energy efficient than that provided by power stations, the environment also benefits from significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. A Baxi Ecogen will save around 0.8 of a tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) over an A rated boiler. And it can save 3.3 tonnes of CO2 over a G rated boiler; that’s the equivalent of CO2 as you would use driving from Lands End to John O’Groats 11 times!
*Based on official PAS67 and APM results April 2010 (compared to a SEDBUK Band G boiler)

For more information please visit or call 0800 009 4074 and select Option 1
Frequently asked questions
Why should I invest in a Dual Energy System instead of a conventional boiler?
A conventional boiler will only provide gas central heating and hot water. A Dual Energy System such as Baxi Ecogen, will provide all this plus cheap electricity to power your home. This saves you up to £600 on your electricity bill* and reduces your home’s carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent.

Who can install Baxi Ecogen?
Baxi is working with key partners, including British Gas and Calor, who are fully trained to install Baxi Ecogen.

How does Baxi Ecogen generate electricity?
Baxi Ecogen uses a Stirling engine that is heated by burning gas. Helium inside the engine expands and contracts to move a piston up and down between a copper coil, generating up to 1kW of electricity at 50Hz single phase.

What can I use my electricity for?
You can use the electricity to power most of your home’s energy needs, from your lights and fridge freezer to your phone and TV.

What can I do with any electricity I don’t use?
Any surplus electricity you don’t use can be exported back to your electricity supplier. Electricity suppliers will pay what is called a Feed-in Tariff to householders for every kWh of electricity generated and exported back to the electricity grid. And it’s tax-free and inflation linked.

Where can the Baxi Ecogen be fitted in my home?
The Baxi Ecogen is wall-hung and can be fitted in a range of locations including your kitchen, utility or garage.

Is Baxi Ecogen a good investment?
Baxi Ecogen can save you up to £600* on your energy bills while reducing your home’s carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent.

For more information please visit or call 0800 009 4074 and select Option 1

*Based on official PAS67 and APM results April 2010 (compared to a SEDBUK Band G boiler)


A Crewe car technician is celebrating reaching the top of his profession after qualifying from a national programme.

Artur Ziminski (29) recently gained his master technician status after joining Crewe Volkswagen four years ago and working his way through the Volkswagen Academy training programme.
Now one of the UK’s top Volkswagen technicians, he will pass on his experience to the Weston Road site’s apprentice technicians.

Artur qualified with a masters degree in car technology in his native Poland before emigrating to England in 2006. It usually takes six years to complete a master technician qualification, but Artur managed to do it in just over three years.

He said: “I am over the moon to I have reached the top of my profession and it’s extremely rewarding to know I can now pass on my knowledge and experience to the next generation of technicians.

“I’m very grateful to Crewe Volkswagen for giving me the chance to prove my worth, believing in me and for investing in my training.”

Crewe Volkswagen’s after sales manager, Jo Hardy, said: “Artur is thoroughly professional in his job and this qualification is reward for his efforts.

“He’s hard working and very intelligent. The apprentices at Crewe are lucky to have a technician of his calibre teaching them.

“It costs approximately £100,000 for a technician to reach master technician status, but Artur is worth every penny.”

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Eurovans secures motorcross sponsorship

A van technician has secured his first Motorcross sponsorship allowing him to enter this season’s national Wulfsport British Masters Motorcross Series.

Steve Cornwall, from Hadlow Down, who is usually found under a bonnet of a Volkswagen van in Eastbourne, is delighted that his employer, Eurovans, has agreed to support his off-road racing quest.

The 22 year old began racing competitively three years ago at club level. As a more experienced rider, Steve wanted to progress to the nationals but required a large secure vehicle to transport his bike and equipment to the monthly race meetings.

Eurovans provided Steve with a long wheel base LT Volkswagen van which he has converted into a mobile bike workshop and living space. The new vehicle enables Steve to comfortably travel and compete in the race meetings without the expense of accommodation and bike storage.

Steve, who races with his brother Tim in the Kawasaki Masters, is delighted with the new mobile support vehicle.

He said: “We are so grateful to Eurovans for their support. Without the van we would never have been able to enter the national series. The race meetings are often quite a distance away and the cost of accommodation and transporting the bikes would have made it impossible for us to compete.

“I have converted the van into a mobile home come garage which is kitted out with mattresses, a mini kitchen plus a dedicated space to carry two bikes and all the other equipment we require.

“It’s great to have somewhere secure for all our kit and to know we have a reliable van to get us to the venues, leaving us to concentrate on the racing.”

Bruce Smithson, director of Eurovans, said: “We were very happy to support our local up and coming talent. Steve has done an impressive job converting the van to meet his needs. He spent many hours perfecting the interior and it is all credit to his expertise and dedication to the sport.

“We know Steve wants to finish the season in the top 10 of the Kawasaki Masters and would like to wish him all the success in achieving this goal.”


Isaac Agnew Volkswagen is challenging Belfast drivers to trial its servicing with the promise to match prices and improve quality compared to other local servicing outlets.

Based on Boucher Road in Belfast and Mallusk Way in Newtownabbey, Agnews’ ethos is that Volkswagen drivers should always pay a fair and competitive price for their motoring needs.

The Volkswagen retailer will price match any like-for-like service, maintenance or repair quotation on their range of vehicles, from any independent garage within a five-mile radius.

All customers need to do is provide a like-for-like quotation for the job, which has to use Volkswagen Original Parts®, in writing to Isaac Agnew.

Isaac Agnew’s Aftersales Director, Ken Fleming, said: “Many people still believe all franchised network outlets, such as Isaac Agnew, are more expensive than independent garages.

“We know for a fact this cliché is not true. We’re so confident our prices are competitive that we’re giving all local Volkswagen owners the chance to shop around and then demand the same price from us.”

But it’s not the only thing motorists can take comfort in, as Ken explained: “Volkswagen's reputation for reliability is synonymous with the quality of the range of vehicles it produces.

“At Agnew’s we want customers to feel confident about the quality of service they receive - every time they visit us.

“Not only can we guarantee to match any like-for-like quote within a five mile radius of the site, but we can give motorists assurance we will only use approved Volkswagen parts, complete with a two-year warranty.”

“In addition to this, when you come to Agnew’s you'll be getting something you can't get anywhere else; the official Volkswagen stamp in your service book.

Isaac Agnew also prides itself on having some of the most qualified Volkswagen technicians and service advisors in the area.

All staff are kept up to date with training from Volkswagen’s UK training centre every year to ensure standards stay high.

To challenge Isaac Agnew Volkswagen visit the service centres on Boucher Road, Belfast on (028) 90234477 or Mallusk Way in Newtownabbey on (028) 90342111.

For further information contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714957 or email /


Promanex Environmental, one of the UK’s leading providers of precipitator maintenance and repair services, has been awarded a precipitator maintenance contract by E.ON UK for the inspection, maintenance and repair of the precipitators together with the strengthening of the precipitator casings at Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station located in Nottinghamshire.

The scope of the first contract is to carry out an overhaul of the precipitators to ensure they remain in service between statutory outages. Work will include cleaning, inspection, repair and maintenance required to ensure operating regulatory compliance. Unit 2 is the first to be overhauled and will commence in April 2010.

The second contract involves the strengthening of the reinforced concrete precipitator casings which is required due to the installation of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

John Funnell, Director of Promanex (Total FM & Environmental Services) Limited, said: "This is a major achievement for our environmental operation and we are confident we can continue to grow in this field of service and maintenance. In the three years since the division was established we have become strongly positioned and the E.ON contract gives us a leading market share of the key long term UK power station precipitator maintenance contracts.”

“We have worked hard to assemble the necessary technical expertise and talent at Promanex to ensure that our UK customers' precipitators are operating efficiently and reliably and that dust emission levels are below authorisation limits, and the Ratcliffe contract gives us the opportunity to further demonstrate our capabilities in this area.”

The fast growing provider of air pollution control equipment and associated equipment serves a broad range of customers in the UK power generation, cement & minerals, steel and industrial industry sectors.

Promanex Environmental Services is a division of Promanex (Total FM & Environmental Services) Limited that is part of the Promanex Group of trading companies that also comprises Promanex (Civils & Industrial Services) Limited and Promanex (Construction & Maintenance Services) Limited. Together under one banner, Promanex is one of only a few industrial support service companies which can directly deliver the vast array of support services that span traditional FM, asset management, and repair and maintenance services.

For further information please visit or call +44 (0)1827 874567.


News release issued on behalf of Promanex by Connect PR.

Motorists told to stay cool with HiQ

As temperatures begin to soar across the UK, the HiQ fast fit network is giving drivers a reason to stay cool, courtesy of free summer car safety checks.

Selected HiQ centres are offering an eight point health check for motorists across the town as traffic jams and long journeys put extra pressures on vehicles and increased stress levels for passengers.

The free safety checks include tyre, battery and windscreen inspections and it is hoped drivers will flock to the forecourt in an attempt to stay safer in the sunshine.

HiQ’s marketing manager Geraldine McGovern believes that a little forward planning is all that is needed for motorists to stay cool in the heat

She said: “The longer journeys we make do put additional pressures on cars and passengers alike. HiQ’s free safety check will make sure customers’ cars are ready and more confident about taking to the road.”

HiQ’s comprehensive checks cover the following areas:

Tyres: checking and adjusting pressures on all five tyres, including tread depth and wheel alignment
Battery: check battery and clean and grease terminals.
Windscreen: check condition of front and rear wiper blades, washers and headlamps.
Lights and horns: check condition of side, tail, main, dip, stop, reverse, indicators, hazard,
Engine: check engine oil and filter, run engine, check for leaks
Exhaust: Inspect and report on the condition of the exhaust
Fan belt: inspect fan belt and adjust if necessary
Coolant hose: Inspect hoses and fasteners, radiators and connections, antifreeze and check for leaks

HiQ is attempting to revolutionise the fast fit industry wit a ‘fast fit you can be sure of’ industry message.

Geraldine added: ““Our centres are being redeveloped to bring them in line with customer expectations and our open and honest pricing based on the principles ‘the price we quote is the price you pay’ is also key to retaining the customers we have.


Creativity doesn't grind to a halt just because economic times have changed, a fact proven by three exciting new collections which have sprung forth from the Amtico Design Team this season.

Through the introduction of Metal, Mica Mix and Travertine, Amtico are inspiring creativity by responding to and anticipating design trends.

Channelling the polished elegance of the eighties, Amtico Metals sound a defiant ‘look at me’ note in the new decade. Six subtle shades and a fantastic rippled beaten texture add up to understated opulence – gleam not glitz, bright but not brash – and creates the perfect starting point for the new ‘haute glamour’. The modern twist comes when you confine this glamour within structured lines, like skinny planks, grids and key squares.

As interest in ‘authentic’ design continues to grow, Amtico introduces a range of four cream and earth tones with a scattering of mica that feels absolutely right for large scale, simple spaces. Clean but practical, Amtico Mica Mix adds sparkle to everyday durability.

Travertine has been a high trend in modern architecture since it was invented in the early 20th century and satisfies our thirst for using timeless geological materials as a contrast to contemporary interiors. Amtico Travertine has the tumbled appearance of the actual stone without the porous instability of the real thing, and its pale and interesting finish works everywhere from grand entrance halls to small bathrooms.

Sian Lewis, marketing manager at Amtico International, said: “These new product launches underline our ongoing work to bring customers the latest design trends to meet their needs. Once again, we highlight the innovation and unique style that the Amtico International brand is renowned for by bringing Metals, Mica Mix and Travertine to market.”

For more information about these ranges visit


Issued on behalf of Amtico International by Connect PR

For further information, please contact Lee Southen on 01902 714957 or email

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Kings Lynn Volkswagen has secured two new auto repair contracts resulting in the appointment of two new panel beaters.

Bennett Accident Repair Centre, part of Kings Lynn Volkswagen, has now been recognised as the area’s authorised approved vehicle repair centre for Highway Insurance and Liverpool Victoria Insurance.

The Bergen Way retailer, which already claims the Volkswagen approved body repair centre status, has recruited Ty Wilson with a further specialist to follow shortly, to support the increase in business.

Ty, from South Wooton, will join the eight-strong team that specialises in vehicle body repairs. He brings over 14 years’ experience as a panel beater having worked for a various well known manufacturers.

Speaking of the contract wins body shop manager, Paul Macro, said: “We are delighted to have gained these contracts. It is testament to the team’s hard work and professionalism that we are able to continually grow our business and offer Kings Lynn customers a more comprehensive service.”

The Volkswagen retailer presently employees a team of eight specialists including panel beaters, painters and estimators whose expertise extends across all vehicle manufacturers.


Written on behalf of Kings Lynn Volkswagen by Connect PR for further information contact Sue Foster 01902 714957 / 07595 200 703 or email


Goodyear has announced it will become the official sponsor of the RNLI’s Beach Safety Roadshow this summer in a deal worth £50,000.

The partnership with the charity will see the global tyre giant, renowned for its safety and innovation, raise awareness on tyre maintenance and communicate key messages of safety to beach-goers across the UK.

The RNLI’s mobile beach safety roadshow will reach over 15,000 people during a planned summer schedule of events, which will educate families and young children about beach safety, including the importance of swimming at a lifeguarded beach, the meaning of beach safety flags and safety information for specific beach hazards and activities.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “Safety is important, but it doesn’t mean that family days out to the beach have to be less fun. By working in partnership with the RNLI, we are aiming to provide beach-goers with all the safety advice they need to have a great day out that will be remembered for all the right reasons.

“We should also remind families to check that their tyres are in good condition before making a journey to the beach this summer. Driving long distances without checking the condition of your tyres can be dangerous. This is why drivers should be prepared by equipping their car with the right tyres and making sure their vehicle is in good working condition.”

Becky Higgin, RNLI corporate partnerships manager, said: “This news further extends our relationship with Goodyear as one of our key safety partners. To date, the firm has supported the charity with over £130,000.”

The RNLI advises beach-goers, particularly those planning to use the water, to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. The RNLI’s guide to beach safety, On The Beach, is packed full of top safety tips. It is available free-of-charge by emailing or calling 0800 328 0600.

For more information about Goodyear visit or visit for more beach safety information.


News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email

Higgs seminar set to tackle disciplinary and grievance procedures

The latest seminar from one of the region’s leading employment law teams will tackle disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Employers from across the Midlands will come together on Wednesday 2 June 2010 at Higgs & Sons’ new flagship headquarters at the Waterfront Business Park, Brierley Hill, to discuss how to handle disciplinary procedures according to the ACAS Code of Practice.

Louise O’Connor, Higgs & Sons’ HR consultant said: “This is an excellent opportunity for HR professionals and business owners and directors from our region to meet each other and learn about how to minimise future risk.

“If businesses fail to follow the ACAS Code of Practice an employment tribunal may increase an award to an employee by up to 25 per cent. Our seminar is designed to bring employers up to speed and support them.”

Places for the seminar are still available. To book your place email or telephone 0845 111 5050.

Bungee Jump fundraisers get business support

A Wigan car retailer sprung into action by helping its employees raise money for a cancer hospital.

Emma Bolton, 21, and Selina Wilkins, 25 from Corkills Volkswagen, have been busy raising sponsorship for a reverse bungee jump to help raise funds for a new Cancer treatment room at Christie Hospital.

Corkills Volkswagen funded the Wigan ladies jump which too place at the Mount Hotel in Orrell on May 23rd.

The fundraising duo raised £252 for the hospital.

Emma said: “We really appreciated the support of Corkills and our work colleagues. Their kind donations funded the bungee jump and helped us toward our fundraising goal.

“We have even had donations from supportive customers wishing us the best. The community really got behind us and it was an exhilarating day.”

Christie Hospital is one of Europe’s leading cancer centres which treats over 40,000 patients a year.

Carl Hazelton, brand manager at Corkills Volkswagen said: “We were all very happy to support Emma and Selina in their fund raising efforts and we hope they found the day just as rewarding.”

Monday, 24 May 2010


Customers will now take greater pride in their flooring thanks to a new and improved range of FloorCare products launched by Amtico International.

Using a specially formulated cleaning chemical, neatly bottled to tackle spills and stains, the range has already proven to be a popular choice for many customers wanting to easily maintain the appearance of their Amtico floor.

The introduction of a new anti-bacterial FloorCare maintainer with a fresh citrus aroma sits nicely within a new FloorCare Starter Kit, which also contains protective felt pads, a non abrasive nylon pad and a FloorCare spillage remover. Tested against a range of bacterial stains, the Amtico International FloorCare maintainer achieves a kill rate of at least 99.9%.

Sian Lewis, marketing manager at Amtico International, said: “As part of our continuous development policy, we always ensure customers have access to the most advanced products available. The introduction of our new anti-bacterial floor cleaning products are a fine example of this and keep us firmly at the forefront of the flooring industry.”

For more information about these ranges visit


Issued on behalf of Amtico International by Connect PR

For further information, please contact Lee Southen on 01902 714957 or email

Go Fishing Show set to reel in thousands of visitors

This July, Staffordshire is set to welcome back the fishing event of the year, as the Go Fishing Show returns to Cudmore Fisheries.

The action packed weekend will not only host the Fish O’Mania and Masters competition, but visitors will also get the opprtunity to become part of a world record attempt.

Last year the show boasted visitor figures of 7,500 and this year is set to be bigger and better, as there will be plenty of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy as well as experienced anglers.

The Go Fishing Show runs for two days, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th July, and will give fishing enthusiasts the chance to put their questions to TV fishing celebrities such as John Wilson, Alan Scotthorne, Matt Hayes and four times world champion Bob Nudd. Bob will also reveal the tactics that made him a house hold name in his demonstration.

The weekend event ‘casts off’ on Saturday with the Fish O’mania grand final, which is televised on Sky Sports. Visitors will witness fisherman competing for first place with the winner taking home a prize fund of £25,000.

On Sunday the Go Fishing Show will attempt to get into the record books by putting on the biggest fishing coaching session ever staged. As well as the chance to be part of a world record, the coaching session will give visitors the chance to find out how to improve their own fishing skills.

Throughout the weekend, in the Carp Zone, the big names in fishing will reveal the secrets behind getting more bites ensuring you should never have to endure another session at the side of the lake or riverbank without a single bite.

After passing by the Angling Times’ Best of Britain Lake, where gear testers Mark Swayer and Jonathan Taylor will put the latest tackle and gear through its paces, you can put your new skills to the test in the Spod Casting Challenge where a leader board will track the top anglers at the show.

Britain’s favourite TV fishing duo, Matt Hayes and Mark Brown, will go head to head as they demonstrate fly fishing tactics. The pressure will be on to see who can come out on top as the duo show you how much fun fly tackle can be.

Kids under 15 go free on Sunday
And if all of the above is not enough to get you to bite the bait then the offer of free tickets for children on Sunday will. All children under the age of 15 can attend the show for free (when accompanied by an adult). Even kids who aren’t avid anglers will have a great day out enjoying the fun fair and trying their hand at extreme sports such as rock climbing.

The show will also give visitors the opportunity to walk away with prizes from The Go Fishing Show ‘Win Zone’. So, why not try your luck on the Angling Lottery or the Reel of Fortune!

Like any show, the event would not complete without a bit of retail therapy. The Retail Zone will showcase the latest still and river water tackle from the world’s best brands such as Shakespeare and Fishing Republic.

Marketing manager for The Go Fishing Show, Jo Burton, said: “The show is sure to be a fun filled family day out. Fisherman can learn new skills from the experts and families can enjoy all the fun on the fair and chat to the expert fisherman they recognise from TV.

“Last year, phenomenal numbers of people turned out despite the wet weather. Hopefully, this year the UK is on track for a hot summer but even if the weather doesn’t hold off, one thing is for sure, the whole family will have a great day out.”

For more information, please contact Connect PR on 01902 714 957 or email

Higgs strengthens employment team with senior appointment

Higgs & Sons has strengthened its employment team with the appointment of a new partner.

Damian Kelly joins the Black Country legal firm from Eversheds where he trained in 1994 and was most recently a partner in the employment team.

Tim Jones, head of Higgs’ employment team said Damian’s appointment comes at a time where the volume and quality of work coming in to the department requires an experienced partner to meet demand.

“Damian’s appointment means our employment department is now seven lawyers strong – by far the largest team in the Black Country.

“One of our key strengths is our ability to take a case from the very start to the end thanks to our experienced advocacy team.

“Damian joins us at an exciting time, with the firm’s business disciplines now housed under one roof at the Waterfront Business Park. In the few short months since our move, we have already seen increased work from our strong corporate team, which we are looking to capitalise on further in the future.”

Damian said: “I am delighted to join Higgs & Sons at such a progressive time in its development. The firm has an excellent reputation in the employment field and I am looking forward to helping the team achieve its ambitious growth plans.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Connect PR hits the headlines!

Is Wolverhampton’s Queen Square fountain really the eighth wonder of the world? And are white sports vests really that fashionable?

Who cares. They’ve both never been more popular or more well used in the heart of the Black Country this week, which can only mean one thing...It’s getting warm!

The heat is on in the Connect PR office in the city as well, as we go full steam ahead with a number of bubbling ideas and initiatives for our clients.

With that, where better to begin than with Baxi, the UK’s leading heating manufacturers!

We’re proud to be associated with the brand’s new revolutionary Ecogen boiler, which heralds the most important step-change for the home heating industry since the condensing boiler.

Not only does the Ecogen tackle fuel poverty issues and significantly cut carbon emissions, but it actually creates electricity every time you use it. In short, it’s a bloody impressive piece of kit.

We’re going to conducting a radio campaign and video feature about all of this, with the help of another Olympic gold medal hero. Stay tuned!

Steam is also coming off our pencils, or should we say pens, as Lizzie gets to grips with a clutch of Uni-ball pen campaigns.

The Lazy Oaf Drawing Club sponsored by Posca was back for its second year, bringing an ultimate evening of scribbling, scrawling and damn right doodling.

The doodle-tastic event took place in Soho last night, to great acclaim.

No sooner had it finished than Lizzie was back on one of Richard Branson’s finest carriages up to Manchester, for a Euro-cultured street art event in Manchester.

Pupils from St Ambrose Barlow High School in Swinton were today working alongside vinyl designer Matt Jones to illustrate and create a window mural which was brought to at ‘Piccadilly Place’.

To quote Jimmy Cricket…And there’s more!

More now, in the shape of Goodyear’s annual charity ball at the Forest of Arden hotel.

Hazel, Lee, Lizzie and Zoe ditched the white vests for some stylish evening wear at our client’s glitzy fundraiser.

A total of £8,000 was raised during the evening for Teenage Cancer Trust and Breast Cancer Care.

We were delighted to be a part of the evening, as the picture shows!

Have a great weekend!

Dedicated aftersales manager reaches 30 year milestone

Paul Kinge has dedicated his entire working career to the same employer, putting his loyalty down to the family friendly atmosphere.

The aftersales manager from Hook, joined Martins Volkswagen in 1980 as an technician apprentice and is now celebrating his 30 years of service.

He was recently presented with a Volkswagen Gold Pin, which are only awarded to an elite group of individuals each year, in recognition of his exceptional service to the brand.

As customer demand increased, Paul specialised in commercial vehicles and was instrumental in the launch and success of the stand alone van centre, which opened in 1999.

Paul’s expertise and knowledge has developed Martins Van Centre into an award-winning business, including the Volkswagen Customer Service Excellence Award for the third consecutive year.

Speaking of his 30 year milestone, Paul said: “I have always enjoyed my time at Martins Van Centre is it really interesting to see how the range has evolved and how the industry has changed.

“Having grew up on a farm, from a family with a strong presence in the building industry, I quickly realised outside labour was not for me. Opting for a career in automotive mechanics I have never looked back.

“Martins Van Centre has continually supported my development and has always remained true to its roots. The family approach has made the job very enjoyable and is why I have remained loyal to the business.”

Head of business at Martins Van Centre, Andrew Lean, said: “Paul is a real asset to the team and one that both staff and customers have confidence in for all their commercial vehicle concerns.

Thirty years is a real achievement and we fully appreciate his devotion and hardwork.”


A growing chain of world buffet style restaurants has chosen Amtico International as its preferred supplier for its future premises.

Red Hot World Buffet and Bar, which presently operates four restaurants and has plans to open a further 15 sites at a rate of three to four a year around the country, selected Spacia range for its hardwearing finish and long lasting appearance.

The busy restaurants are all situated in high profile locations and its mix of Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Italian and Japanese cuisine prepared at live cooking stations and all for one set price, has proved a popular choice as the restaurants Development Manager, Daniel Brown, explained.

“Our most recent opening is at Liverpool ONE, the largest city centre regeneration project in Europe. The 300 seat restaurant is open seven days a week and in its first three months was already catering for over 7,000 covers a week. Therefore it was essential that the flooring could withstand the high footfall and retain its initial appearance.

“We had previously installed laminate flooring at our other sites, but it didn’t wear well, with heels leaving permanent marks making the restaurants look worn and tired.

“To achieve our contemporary sleek look we required a plank style effect, coupled with the rich warm tones of Spacia Ember Oak to complement our bold red seating. We opted for the stone effect finish of Spacia Charcoal Slate to segregate the buffet area.”

The Liverpool ONE installation covered 743 square meters and the success of the Spacia flooring has secured its place in the Red Hot Buffet’s roll out programme.

Sian Lewis, UK Marketing Manager at Amtico International, said: “Spacia flooring has a urethane coating for maximum protection against scuffs and scratches making it an ideal choice for the hospitality industry. It offers a vast choice of finishes including woods, ceramic and stone effect and includes a 10 year warranty”

Amtico International has 40 years’ experience in designing, engineering and manufacturing some of the most innovative and resilient flooring products in the world for both domestic and commercial applications.

For further information, please contact Sue Foster or on 01902 714957 or email


Parents looking for affordable and safe ways to entertain their children this summer can turn to a Midlands stately home for an array of indoor and outdoor play activities.

Set in 1,000 acres of open parkland Weston Park is a woodland fantasy, adventure playground and stately home all rolled into one and has opened its gates to families for 2010 (Saturday 29th May – Sunday 5th September).

Children can go wild in the adventure playground, explore the countless woodland trails and lakes by foot or bike and discover the Medieval Deer Park and Hermits Cave. Just when you are running out of puff along comes the miniature railway that steams towards Temple Wood and more wildlife.

The Children’s Activity Centre located in the Stables Courtyard, with summer weather as unpredictable as ever, the sheltered area is full of fun things to do including drawing, dressing up and playing games. There are a variety of trail cards to be picked up to help explore the parkland.

Refreshments are available in the Stables Coffee Bar including homemade cakes and sandwiches. For a more substantial lunch the recently opened Granary Grill will sizzle up local cuts of meat, offer light bites and salads as well as homemade puddings.

The Granary Farm Shop and in-house Butchery offers families locally sourced produce plus monthly exhibitions in the Art Gallery.

Colin Sweeney, Weston Park’s chief executive said: “Weston Park has been described as the Midland’s best kept secret for a family day out, but it’s a secret we want to share with families. During the long school holidays Weston Park can provide a great day out for all.”
Weston Park opens for the summer on Saturday May 29th daily through to Sunday 5th September. Park and Gardens are open from 10.30am to 6pm whilst the House is open from 1pm – 5pm and is closed on Saturdays.

Park and Gardens admission: Adults £5.00, Children £3.00 and Seniors £4.50. A family ticket is £20.00 (2+3) and includes House entry.

To help plan a day out families can download a map of the estate or the easy to view on-line events programme to find out what Weston has planned for the rest of the year.

For further information contact Sue Foster at Connect PR on 01902 714957 or email


A Workington car retailer has increased its service and expertise with the expansion of the company’s aftersales team.

Walkingshaw Volkswagen has appointed Mike Gill as its new after sales manager; he will now lead the twelve strong team.

With almost 25 years’ experience in the automotive industry with Volkswagen, Mike will be passing on his knowledge to Walkingshaw’s two other new staff, service advisor Kerry Duthie and technician Craig Tremble.

Mike began his career in his native Cumbria in 1986 as a car valetor before climbing the career ladder with Volkswagen in the north west of England.

His experience as parts advisor, service advisor, service manager and aftersales manager has given Mike a clear understanding of motorists’ needs, something he plans to pass on to customer and staff alike.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be taking this role and working back in Cumbria. I’m looking forward to continuing the high quality of customer service associated with Walkingshaw.

“The company has a superb track record with customers, and is renowned as being a great place to work at.”

Kerry (23) from Frizington has gained customer service experience in her previous role as a home carer while Craig (29) from Workington has experienced the motor trade as a technician.

Walkingshaw’s brand manager, Andy Walkingshaw, said: “Mike has a superb track record in the automotive industry and brings with him a vast amount of brand awareness gained through experience across all retail sectors.

“The appointment of Mike, Kerry and Craig will only strengthen the company and provide a bank of knowledge and superb customer service for everyone associated with the site.”

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Ka-chow! Bodmin fast fitter brings cartoon hero to life!

A Bodmin fast fitter has become the talk of the town after transforming his treasured car into an iconic children’s cartoon hero.

Stuart Harris, who works at the West End based centre, has brought hotshot rookie racecar Lightening McQueen to life, following an imaginative re-design of his prized Suburu Impreza.

Local residents and passers-by are already stopping Stuart in the streets and he believes there is no vehicle like this in the whole of the UK – apart from on TV sets in family households.

Stuart, aged 20, has spent the last three months mimicking the red toy car design and has even emblazoned the lightning bolt on the side of the car and the Rust-eze sponsorship logo on the bonnet.

He said: “I never thought that my car would generate so much public interest. I am constantly getting stopped for people to take photos and driving around has certainly got me noticed.

“Originally I just wanted to create something different that would stand out against other Subaru graphic print designs.

“I never imagined that I would get a response like this; even kids stop me to have photos taken with their iconic toy car character. It’s been great.”

Justin Roberton, centre owner of HiQ Bodmin, said: “It has been a great project for Stuart to work on. As he completes most of the work on the car here at the garage, it has attracted attention from our customers and passers by. It is definitely something worth talking about.”

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


A tireless Exeter automotive manager is swapping Sowton for Sydney after years of hard work were converted into a trip of a lifetime down under.

Stuart Martin from Mid Devon Tyres on Apple Lane will travel to Australia to watch England take on the Wallabies after the centre scooped the top prize in Goodyear’s spring rugby promotion.

The prize was donated to Stuart by managing director Jamie Potter in recognition for his dedication to the job, despite a year of personal hardship. “When I heard we had won, I instantly knew what to do with the prize,” said Jamie. “Having three young children made it very difficult for me to accept the prize, so I gave the holiday to Stuart. It’s my way of saying thank you for his hard work last year, even though he experienced a terrible run of bad luck what with family illness and bereavement to contend with.”

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, added: “We have all been inspired by Jamie’s generosity and hope that Stuart enjoys this prize. The rugby promotion has proved hugely popular and we hope that the England rugby team can display the same superb handling and performance qualities that our tyres deliver to motorists.”

Goodyear’s rugby promotion was held across the firm’s national network of tyre dealers to celebrate its support of the IRB Rugby Ready programme. A programme which helps train aspiring rugby coaches to ensure the highest standards of safety are maintained. The promotion coincided with the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship and rewarded customers with free rugby balls and shirts for Goodyear tyres fitted to their vehicle.

For more information visit


Photo caption: from left to right, Jamie Potter, Stuart Martin (Mid Devon Tyres) and Michelle Fisher (Goodyear brand manager)

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email


A police officer from Wakefield is celebrating having won a trip of a lifetime down under.

Pete Judd and his partner Toni Braithwaite will travel to Australia to watch England take on the Wallabies having scooped the top prize in Goodyear’s spring rugby promotion.

As a lifelong rugby fan and seasoned player, Peter nearly missed out on his sporting dream thanks to the volcanic ash cloud delaying his return from America. “I couldn’t quite believe the news that we had won,” said a jubilant Pete. “Even though we were amongst the unfortunate holidaymakers to have been caught up in the travel chaos, we were lucky enough to accept the prize just in time. I nearly fainted with shock when I opened the letter and realised the cut off date had been that day.”

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “We are delighted to award this prize to Pete having purchased a set of Goodyear tyres from his local tyre retailer HiQ Wakefield. Our tyres provide motorists with superb handling and performance; the same qualities that we hope the England rugby team will display during the RFU Summer Tour.”

Goodyear’s rugby promotion was held across the firm’s national network of tyre dealers to celebrate its support of the IRB Rugby Ready programme. A programme which helps train aspiring rugby coaches to ensure the highest standards of safety are maintained. The promotion coincided with the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship and rewarded customers with free rugby balls and shirts for Goodyear tyres fitted to their vehicle.

For more information visit


Photo caption: from left to right, Gary Dixon (HiQ retail area manager), Pete Judd, Toni Braithwaite and Michelle Fisher (Goodyear brand manager).

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email


“Goodyear makes safety in the wet its priority” – Kim Adams, Consumer Editor: Auto Express

Leading UK Motoring Magazine ‘Auto Express’ has published its annual Product Awards, honouring the best products in many car parts and accessory sector. The Awards rank the best aftermarket components for cars, ranging from sat-navs to car polish. In the tyre category, Goodyear received a double commendation for the Goodyear OptiGrip and Goodyear Excellence tyres to build on its test win in one of the major Auto Express tyre tests in 2009.

The award for the OptiGrip follows its storming performance in the respected magazine’s annual tyre test, where it scored 99.7%. In one of the wet tests, Auto Express declared the Goodyear performance as ‘Amazing’.

The Goodyear OptiGrip, which features innovative SmartWear Technology, continues a long tradition of success for Goodyear in the Auto Express Product Awards. In 2008, the OptiGrip’s forerunner, the Goodyear HydraGrip, won an ‘Auto Express Product Honour’ for its exceptional wet weather safety after taking overall top spot in their previous annual tyre test.

Kim Adams, Consumer Editor at Auto Express stated: “Goodyear makes safety in the wet its priority. The OptiGrip aims to maintain that even when it is worn, and performed superbly on the aquaplaning track. If grip when the heavens open is top of your requirements, look no further”

The Goodyear Excellence was rated as a top choice for the family ‘Sports Utility Vehicle’ sector. This fast-growing sector, characterized by vehicles such as VW Tiguans or Toyota RAV4. Goodyear was declared the outright winner in the magazine’s test of five tyre brands across a range of handling and safety tests.

“It’s no surprise to see Goodyear at the top of these results as the US giant really knows how to build tyres that are good in the wet” added Kim

Monday, 17 May 2010

HiQ network celebrates Q1 business results

The HiQ fast fit network is bucking the economic downturn to post some of its best footfall, tyre sales and gross profit figures ever.

HiQ’s retail director, Juergen Titz announced HiQ’s Quarter One trading results at the first HiQ National Franchise Conference of 2010.

Total gross profit for the opening quarter rose to 9.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2009.

Total tyre sales grew to 5.4 per cent while total footfall increased by 8.6 per cent in a set of impressive figures for the fast fit car care brand.

HiQ has put its results down to an ongoing effort to position each HiQ franchise partner as a ‘local hero’ in the community, where they create a welcoming, customer friendly environment for every customer.

Juergen told HiQ’s franchisees: “These results are proving that our entrepreneurial approach, coupled with a franchise concept, is working very well.

“However, one quarter does not make a year. It is a promising start and we are more than happy to assume that these figures should be replicated for the whole 12 months.

“Retail business is an area that we can really influence. We have to continue to drive hard to make sure that we are clearly focused on this and deliver on our “fast fit you can be sure of positioning” “

Juergen said that franchisees needed to continue to build a position of trust within their communities, whilst working in partnership with the network’s Birmingham based support team.

He concludes, “We have a spirit and dynamism around everything we do, which is important. We have new partners on board and we will continue to aggressively expand the network in 2010 and beyond.

“Each franchisee must exploit the vast range of support that we have to offer through our create demand programme. Local heroes at each centre, coupled with our strong national retail brand, will make the difference.”



A group of young artists are set to transform an empty retail space in Manchester city centre from a blank canvas into a celebration of Europe thanks to a masterclass from a leading UK street artist.

Pupils from St Ambrose Barlow High School in Swinton will work alongside vinyl designer Matt Jones to illustrate and create a window mural which will bring life to the vacant unit at ‘Piccadilly Place’ on Friday 21st May.

During the workshop Matt will assist the year ten students, who are currently studying for a BTEC in art and design, through the design process from start to finish. Along with other leading artists from Spearfish Workshops Matt will help them to develop their separate ideas into one coherent mural piece. Using vibrant uni POSCA marker pens the pupils will then transfer what they believe represents’ European culture’ onto the glass frontage for all to see.

The workshop will run in conjunction with Eurocultured Street Festival Manchester which is sponsored by uni Posca and takes place on the 30th and 31st of May. Since 2004 Eurocultured has celebrated the diversity of European culture and showcases the best live art, dance, performance and music that our continent has to offer.

The workshop will take place on Friday 21st May between 2pm and 6pm at Piccadilly Place, Manchester (across the road from Piccadilly train station via the Manchester Curve Bridge).

For further information, please contact: Lizzie Furnell on 01902 714957 or email

To find out more about POSCA and other uni-ball products visit /

Spirit Volkswagen boost its team

A Leamington Spa retailer has reacted to a boom in business by increasing its sales and service teams.

Following a steady growth in used car sales Spirit Volkswagen has appointed a dedicated used car sales manager.

Amit Kumar will lead the new team, bringing over eight years of experience in the automotive industry.

Looking forward to the challenge, car enthusiast Amit, said: “I have always had a great passion for cars and I am looking forward to growing the used car division. My first task is getting to know all the staff and customers.”

The service and aftersales department also welcomes the arrival of Lizzie Shaw as a new customer service advisor.

Adam Derbyshire, managing director of Spirit Volkswagen, said: “The past year has been tough but our continual commitment to meeting the needs of our customers has meant we have remained strong.

“Previously our team looked after both new and used car customers; however, we felt it was now essential to have a separate team to ensure our customers continued to receive the high level of service they have come to expect from Spirit.

“We believe Amit’s enthusiasm, knowledge and skills make him ideal to help grow our used car business.

“We are a family owned and run business and have great pride in delivering a good service in a friendly atmosphere. We would like to welcome our new team members and look forward to the challenges in 2010.” added Adam.

Established in 1991, Spirit Volkswagen is a family owned and run business with sites in Banbury and Leamington Spa supplying the full range of new and used Volkswagens plus servicing and MOT’s.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines

Her palms were sweaty, knees weak arms were heavy...

...Thankfully there was no vomit on Kathy’s sweater during her pitches as she secured Connect PR two new business wins this week. (pictured, with no vomit on crisp white shirt)

That’s right, our account director has gone the extra mile, (or make that 8 miles?!) to add Uponor and Your Horse Live to our impressive portfolio of clients.

We’ll be saddling up for the unique opportunities presented by a leading manufacturer of heating and plumbing systems, not to mention the exclusive horse event in November. We’ll be galloping away with some creative ideas henceforth.

With such brilliant news to boast, you’d think that the office would be a picture of tranquillity and harmony this week.

Well, it was until our very own expenses scandal hit the headlines, courtesy of Ben and Richard’s itemised phone bills.

While everyone else were keeping the handsets in their handbags, the pair had phoned more friends than Chris Tarrant.

Ben’s calls linked back to British Rail’s train station. Richard’s were linked to Babestation, apparently.

The scandal subsided when, just like a West Midlands Travel bus, our third bit of good news arrived all at once.

Once Rich had bid a fond farewell to ‘babe number two’, he whispered some sweet nothings into the ears of Volkswagen van drivers, along with Zoe, Becki and Sue.

Our successful Volkswagen commercial vehicles team have been getting in touch with VW enthusiasts who have been telling them about their treasured vans and why they love them so much.

In return, the guys have been sending out official posters to them in a huge success story for us.

Not only does the simple idea demonstrate how well we communicate with Volkswagen’s end users, but it reinforces the strength of twitter and other forms of social networking, which we have used to our advantage once more.

Another big initiative we are working on is the HiQ Local Hero campaign, which was launched by Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell.

We’re now getting scores of people nominating their unsung community heroes and we are hoping that many more will get in touch, as one winner gets set to receive a £500 prize and £5,000 for a community project of their choice.

Click on for more information. We’d love to see some of your entries.

Thanks for reading. Here’s for another successful seven days starting from Monday. After a bloody good weekend first!

Play up Pompey!

Connect PR

Thursday, 13 May 2010


A car retailer is making it easier for motorists to own a used car with the launch of its brand new Bespoke Used Car programme.

Driving away a Volkswagen used car from any of Sinclair’s six retailers across South Wales couldn’t be easier as drivers receive greater flexibility, increased confidence and more benefits than ever before.

In fact, if the used car isn’t quite right, additional features can be fitted removing the need to compromise. A selection of free ownership enhancement options can be included and if it’s still not perfect you can take advantage of a 30 day / 1000 miles no quibble exchange policy.

Volkswagen is changing and improving the way it sells used cars as Clive Williams, group Operations manager of Sinclair Volkswagen, explains.

He said: “Buying a Bespoke Used car from Volkswagen is about confidence and flexibility. You can be confident in your vehicle’s history and quality ensuring it’s the right car for you and flexible about your car’s specification, allowing you to change your mind, even if it’s something as simple as your car not fitting into the garage.

“This new programme will make all the difference between buying a car you really want, rather than just the best car that you could find.”

Extra specifications will allow the motorist to further personalise their vehicles with additional extras such as integrated satellite navigation, cruise control, rear parking sensors or bluetooth™ and iPod connectivity.

The new benefits of the programme will make the Volkswagen ownership experience easier than ever before. All Bespoke Used cars come with a choice of one of the following options, free of charge. These include one year Volkswagen Roadside Assistance, three years’ MOT cover, MOT tests for life or £100 worth of accessories, plus subsidised service plans.

“Motorists can receive total assurance when buying a Bespoke Used Car as all of our added extras are in addition to our existing multiservice point inspection which guarantees the vehicle’s identity, mileage, service history, plus checks any outstanding finance agreements and police records.”

Skilled Volkswagen technicians also carry out comprehensive workshop inspections prior to purchase indentifying any faults and rectify them using genuine Volkswagen Parts.

“This is a very exciting time for both our customers and our used car business. Whatever you’re budget constraints or driving needs we are here to make the Volkswagen purchasing process simple and enjoyable.” concluded Clive.

For more information contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714 957 or email /

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Genuine applicants need only apply for compensation

A recent age discrimination case which saw the litigant try but fail to claim compensation from 20 different recruitment consultancies is a victory for common sense says one of the region’s leading employment lawyers.

Tim Jones, head of Higgs & Sons’ employment department and one of the region’s leading employment lawyers, says that the case of 51-year-old Margaret Keane could serve as an authority that a job application must be genuine before a statutory disadvantage can be suffered.

“Ms Keane brought age discrimination claims against 20 recruitment agencies,” said Tim. “An experienced accountant with nine years in a senior management role, in 2007 she applied for 20 positions advertised for recently qualified accountants. When she did not receive any job interviews, Ms Keane began age discrimination proceedings against the recruitment agencies.

“Some agencies settled immediately but 11 appeared before an employment tribunal. Six of the 11 settled during the proceedings but the case was dismissed against the remaining five on the basis that she had no interest in the vacancies, but simply wanted to claim compensation. The tribunal also awarded costs against Ms Keane.”

Tim Jones believes that the case is a victory for common sense and warns local businesses to be aware of other serial litigants trying similar things. “Mr Justice Underhill said his judgement could serve as an authority that an application must be genuine. We would suggest that any recruitment agency or employer who has a case brought against them seeks legal advice from the outset.”

To find out how Tim or his team can help you and your business, call directly on 0845 111 5050 or email


A Birmingham van centre has completed its transformation following the investment of £250,000 by its new owners, Swansway Garages.

Over the last year the Volkswagen Van Centre has upgraded all of its facilities to enhance its service for commercial vehicle operators in the area.

The St. Stephens Street development now features nine ramps including a new state of the art one man testing M.O.T ramp with the very latest diagnostic testing equipment plus an extensive tarmac forecourt accommodating up to 30 vehicles incorporating the complete Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle range.

The rebranding investment project also included new external signage and a complete interior refurbishment in both the showroom and staff areas.

Mark Woodhouse, general manager at Volkswagen Van Centre, Birmingham said: “We are very pleased to be part of the Swansway Group. The financial investment has sealed the Group’s commitment to developing the Volkswagen brand in the Birmingham area, which is reassuring for both customers and employees.

“We are delighted with our new professional look, which we have matched with new staff uniforms.

“Our new facilities, services and business support will ensure we can provide van operators with the highest levels of quality and value and help to build our reputation in the area.”

The Swansway Group is a family owned and run business and has been in the motor industry for over 45 years. The Group operates a number of franchises, including Volkswagen, Audi and Seat passenger cars in addition to its Volkswagen Commercial vehicles van centres.

For more information on the commercial vehicle range of vans and passenger carrying vehicles at Birmingham Van Centre, call 0121 260 3000.

For more information, please contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714 957 or email /


A Kirkcaldy business is celebrating after being named as one of the top 10 Volkswagen retailers, for the third year running and has now secured the number one place in the 2009 awards.

Specialist Cars, on Caxton Place, scooped the national Retailer Excellence Award status, from Volkswagen UK, following its consistently high level of customer service and sales.

The award winning Volkswagen showroom finished at the top, out of 215 sites nationwide.

It was a double celebration for Specialist Cars as sales manager, Chris Smith, was also awarded the prestigious Sales Manager of Excellence title for the third consecutive year.

With over 24 years of automotive experience, Chris from Kirkcaldy, joined Specialist Cars in 2001 as a sale executive. He swiftly progressed to the managerial role where he has consistently developed the customer experience and business sales.

Volkswagen closely monitors its retailers ensuring that all areas of the business are performing according to its high standards and targets. Scores are collated throughout the year culminating in an annual result.

Paul Lanni, brand manager at Specialist Cars, accepted the award at Whitehall Palace in London. The event was hosted by BBC sports presenter and recent Strictly Come Dancing winner Chris Hollins, followed by a performance by the Strictly Come Dancing professionals, Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite.

Paul said: “We are truly delighted to have received this award. It is credit to the team’s hard-work that we have achieved this title for the third year running.

“We are very pleased for Chris, to be recognised as one of the top three sales managers across the entire network for the third time, this is a fantastic achievement.”

“We always strive to provide the best service to meet our customers’ needs and these national awards confirm our commitment.”

Chris Craft, Director of Volkswagen Group UK Ltd, said: “We feel is important to recognise and monitor the performance of the Volkswagen network and Specialist Cars is certainly becoming a regular face at these awards.

“We would like to congratulate them on their dedication and hard-work.”

For more information contact Sue Foster or Becki Oates on 01902 714957 or email /

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Green Boost for Cumbernauld Motorists

Motorists in Cumbernauld will find it even easier to go green this week when Autogas LPG becomes available at the Shell Old Inns service station on Landsdowne Drive.

LPG is the most accessible alternative road fuel in the UK and offers both environmental and financial benefits for motorists.

Last year, a study reported by the BBC(1) found that children are at greatest risk from harmful small particles in traffic pollution. It highlighted that these microscopic particles, known as PM10s, can contribute to both environmental and health problems, and given that children breath air closer to the roadside than adults, they are most at risk.

LPG produces far fewer harmful PM10 particles than other road fuels, emitting up to 120 times less than diesel vehicles2. Added benefits include 17% less carbon dioxide emissions than petrol and 2% less than diesel, and 120 per cent less NOx than petrol and staggering 2,000 per cent less than diesel.

Emma Bartle, from Autogas, the UK’s leading automotive liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplier, explains: “The introduction of LPG to Cumbernauld now means motorists can easily switch to a greener alternative motoring fuel, reducing roadside pollutants and improving air quality for the children in the area.

“Further advantages include cost savings as LPG currently retails at around half the price of petrol and diesel3. The cost of converting a vehicle to run on LPG can be recouped in under two years leaving motorists to enjoy ongoing savings on the cost of running a vehicle4.”

The new LPG refuelling site at Shell Old Ins M80 Wardpark is located in Cumbernauld Village off the A80.

The total number of LPG stations in the UK is over 1,4005 and LPG availability is core to the company’s policy of delivering fuel to the thousands of LPG motorists.

Emma continues: “Autogas is committed to providing LPG customers with a wide-range of convenient and accessible service stations offering LPG. “With over 160,000 vehicles now being powered by LPG it’s vital we continually increase the number of available refuelling locations.

“Anyone thinking of converting their vehicle to run on LPG can be assured they will be no more than five6 miles away from an LPG service station in major conurbations, a figure which is continually monitored.

“Conversions should always be carried out by an LPGA Approved Installer who will comply with set safety standards, has undergone extensive training and examinations and can advise on the most suitable system for your vehicle.”

There are around 220 outlets currently supplied by Autogas in the UK and a full list can be found at

For further information on Autogas and how to convert your petrol vehicle to run on LPG, visit Motorists can also follow Autogas on Twitter at to learn about the latest site openings and company information.
- ends -
Notes to editors:
1 The original BBC report can be found at
2 Small particle emissions are related to health effects including increased risk of heart and lung disease and problems such as asthma. All figures taken form the European Emissions Testing Programme 2003
3 Average UK fuel prices for 8 March 2010: Petrol 114.3p, Diesel 115.3, LPG 61.5p.
4 Savings are based on official combined consumption figures published on for 2.0 16V Laguna Sport Tourer assuming a 20% reduction for LPG. National average fuel prices taken from In order to calculate potential fuel savings, Autogas has made a savings calculator available on its web site:
5 Source: UKLPG
6 Based on LPG forecourt availability within London/M25, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham, Leicester, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Newcastle, Durham, Aberdeen

For further information, please contact:
Kathy Hodson. Connect PR. The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT
Tel: 01902 714 957 / 07595 200 703

Monday, 10 May 2010

Exmouth entrepreneurs team up with a 'big brother'

An Exmouth entrepreneur believes he is teaming up with a ‘big brother’ after opening a new HiQ centre in the south of England.

Martin Price, along with business partner Mike Pickering, has become a franchisee with the HiQ network and will now operate a centre in St Andrew’s Road.

Martin, who has 17 years experience in the tyre trade, said that becoming a franchisee with the brand was like working with a member of the family.

The new franchise partnership is a welcome boost to the network, which promises to expand to 185 sites by the end of the year.

He was recommended to the network by local franchisees Gary Thomson and Justin Roberton, who used to be Martin’s area managers when he was a centre manager at HiQ Honiton six years ago.

Martin said: “Having the backing of HiQ’s national brand is like working with a big brother. The network helps to open doors that you could never open as an independent retailer.

“I asked Mike if he fancied a career change. He has been a talented salesman for a builder’s merchant for some time and he was keen to come on board with me and open a HiQ centre.

“Our skills complement eachother and we have been close friends for 35 years, so everything just felt right about the move.

and I saw the opportunity to purchase the site and it represented the perfect opportunity for us.

“Hopefully this will be the first of three centres for us. HiQ’s national network, supported by local, entrepreneurial spirit appealed to us, and we are excited about the possibilities for us.”

HiQ’s franchise development manager Peter Tye said: “The partnership with Martin and Mike has been some time in the making, and we are delighted to have them on board.

“They have big, ambitious plans for the future and we are sure that motorists in the Exmouth area will begin to enjoy some excellent local service that they will be sure of for many months to come.”

Friday, 7 May 2010

Connect PR hits the headlines!

So it’s official then. We’re heading for a coalition Government after the Great British public had their say.

We don’t know what all the fuss is about here at Connect PR...

...We’ve been working in partnership with others for years now, and it hasn’t done us any harm.

Our clients are allied with our account managers, our account managers are allied with our account executives, and as boss is allied with our reporting methods. We think!

So many questions will consume the UK’s leading media titles for the foreseeable future, and political correspondents will be getting to grips with all manner of conundrums, doubtless until our next PR update on May 14th.

We’ll let them hypothesise while we summarise the last seven days at Connect PR.

On the theme of coalition, we’ll kick off with the HiQ fast fit network’s latest news, all about their current trading figures for 2010.

Thanks to the network’s partnership led, unique franchise model within the fast fit network, it has been able to post a 9.9 per cent increase in gross profit for Q1, compared to the corresponding period last year.

If that isn’t a good news story in the face of an ongoing financial downturn, then we don’t know what is. Green shoots or no green shoots! Watch out for a number of headlines soon.

We’ll give you another reason to embrace a hung parliament now, courtesy of our Volkswagen commercial vehicle dealership account.

Through a close working allegiance built on trust, we have been able to boast a handful of new retailers, following on from last week’s announcement of five new additions.

We’re proportionally representing most of the dealerships in the UK at present, and their PR results amass to an estimated advertising equivalent (EAV) of £225,000 so far this year. Never mind Nick. We agree with Richard, Sue, Becki and Zoe!

Now all week we’ve heard all about the need for change; about voting with your hearts and seizing the chance of a generation.

Funny that, because we’ve been using a few similar lines of our own to try and lure some new business to Connect PR!

If we’re as successful as Neil Kinnock was in 1992 then we’ll be a bit downbeat, but we’re not thinking along those lines.

‘We’re alright. We’re alright. We’re alright’ shrilled the presumptuous Labour leader in that infamous speech of yesteryear.

We’ll be screaming ‘We’re bloody brilliant, we’re bloody brilliant, we’re bloody brilliant’ if it makes a difference next week. Watch this space.

We’ll be watching the football results this weekend as well. Richard Knowles is currently at the top of our inter-agency fantasy football league and is a game away from lifting the trophy.

Bearing in mind that Kathy won it last year, you might want to get in touch with us if you want some predictions for next season.

Mind you, when we boast the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as a client and have secured its best ever season for PR results, we shouldn’t have any excuses.

The only question left is how Richard has managed to assume an increasingly swarthy, St Tropez appearance as the week has progressed (pictured in paler form, looking for the bottle of Johnson & Johnson holiday skin)

Either he hasn’t washed, or he’s auditioning for Tropic Thunder II in the absence of Robert Downey Jr.

We’re opting for the former. Perhaps he’ll have a bath once we know who's going to be the next PM.

Have a good weekend!
Connect PR

A boost for business at Camberley Volkswagen

A Camberley car retailer’s expansion has already paid dividends following a successful 2009.

Martins Volkswagen appointed a new service reception manager after figures revealed an increase in business and customer satisfaction in 2009.

As a result of Jill Jones’ appointment, sales at the London Road site are increasing by up to 20 per cent in 2010.

Martin Oakley, brand manager at Martins Volkswagen, said: “Customer service is vital to any business in the current economical climate.

“By investing in Jill, the company continues to focus on managing and delivering the highest level of customer care.”

“She is an accomplished manager and is vital in ensuring customers have a happy and seamless experience with Martins Volkswagen.”

Jill, from Hartley Whitney has worked in the automotive industry for over ten years. She will be overseeing reception area, monitoring customer satisfaction levels and ensuring visitors are receiving attention during their time in the retailer.

She said: “I am really pleased to be working for such an elite brand as Volkswagen.

“Martins and Volkswagen’s professionalism outshines any other retailer I have worked for and really challenges the prestigious brands in the market.”

Thursday, 6 May 2010


A Romford retailer is celebrating after raising funds for a local children’s charity by holding an art and music exhibition in its showroom.

Inchcape Volkswagen raised £250 for Addsup, and has donated a car to Havering College which was used as part of live art on the night.

The car became a canvas for art students to express their artistic flair by painting up the old vehicle in graffiti style art.

The ‘graffiti’ car will be auctioned off via a raffle and it is hoped an extra £500 will be raised for Addsup which helps young children with mental illness cope through art and drama therapy.

The A12 Colchester Road retailer transformed its showroom into an art hall to display the works of local artist, Barry Andrews. Guests also enjoyed the musical talents of classical singer, Louisa Barry and accompanist, Hara Kostogianni.

Richard Taylor, Inchcape Volkswagen’s brand manager, said: “Over 150 guests attended the evening and the art exhibition and music was thoroughly enjoyed by all.”

“We are thrilled we could donate a car to the local college, so that the students could express themselves artistically as well as allowing us to raise more funds for Addsup.”

Artist Barry Andrews added: “The evening was a complete success and I’m glad I had the opportunity to share my art with the local community.

“I will be making a donation to Addsup, as on the night I sold eleven pieces of my work.”

Tickets for the ‘graffiti’ car raffle are just £1 and available from Inchcape’s showroom. Visitors can also inspect the car as it is currently on display in the retailer’s showroom.

Sales team has a makeover in Wigan

A Wigan car retailer has boosted its senior management team with the appointment of a new fleet sales manager.

Paula Holt joins Corkills Volkswagen bringing with her over 15 years of automotive experience, specialising in the Volkswagen brand for the past five years.

The 40-year old began her sales career over 20 years ago working for blue chip companies, before entering the automotive sector in 1995. The new job role will see Paula focusing on establishing new and developing existing relationships with businesses in and around the Wigan area.

Speaking of her new role at the Wallgate site, Paula, said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new challenge and very pleased to continue my Volkswagen career.

“Corkills has a good team and process in place; my first task will be getting to know all the staff and customers.”

Brand manager at Corkills, Carl Hazelton, said: “After a successful first quarter we feel that Paula’s knowledge and professionalism will help to strengthen the brand and continue to drive the business forward.”

Bentley appoints Connect for European brief

Connect Group has been appointed by leading luxury automotive manufacturer Bentley Motors to handle dealer marketing in the UK and Europe.

The Wolverhampton 80-strong agency has handled Bentley’s UK dealer marketing since 2004. The new brief sees Connect’s work increase three fold to cover 59 dealers across Europe. The agency has made three new appointments on the back of the win which comes at an exciting time for Bentley as the brand launches the new Continental Supersports and the all new flagship Bentley Mulsanne.

Peter Grant, Bentley’s UK dealer marketing manager, said that Connect’s experience of working with the brand since 2004 and the synergies that could now be brought together across Europe helped the agency win the new business: “Connect’s brief is far reaching from developing dealer marketing strategy to implementation of campaigns. The agency will support our dealerships with marketing collateral, advertising, event planning, direct mail, CRM and digital.”

Rob Hampton, MD of Connect Group said: “This is another great win for the team and demonstrates our ability to work across Europe delivering the same great service wherever the client is based.”

Connect’s clients include Tarmac, Chiltern Railways, Uni-ball, Goodyear Dunlop and Lee Longlands.