Tuesday, 30 November 2010

UPONOR ONE PACK GIVES CONTROL TO CUSTOMERS

One of the UK’s most innovative providers of heating systems has launched a new product aimed at simplifying the process of design and installation of underfloor heating.

Uponor’s One Pack concept offers customers an easier way of quoting, buying and stocking bespoke underfloor heating systems of up to 112m2 by minimising the list of components to choose from and reducing quote to delivery times.

Customers can log onto an online toolkit at www.one-pack.co.uk and submit their own underfloor heating criteria – allowing an immediate calculation of the number of heating loops required for each flooring area – referred to as a ‘zone’.

Uponor’s Applications Manager, Neil Young, explained: “All-in-one packs are not new; at Uponor we have offered small area packs for some time, but what One Pack aims to do is give installers the power to do a whole ground floor without needing to get into the schematics.

“All installers need to know is the floor construction base, the amount of zones they desire, the area of each zone in m2, the manifold location and its distance to the relevant zones.

“From there, Uponor will assemble a One Pack tailored to the basic specifications given by the customer and deliver it quickly to their local merchant.”

One Pack features Uponor’s world renowned multi-layer composite pipe and is available in both Screed and Suspended floor systems, meaning users from the new build and renovation markets will benefit from easy installation and increased pipe efficiency.

Merchants will also benefit from Uponor’s latest product as under-floor heating is becoming more popular – meaning faster service is essential.

In a similar way to installers, merchants can send basic criteria from a set of customer plans for an appropriate One-Pack in a matter of minutes. The One Pack will arrive at a Merchants with all the tools required to complete the job, along with instructions and a full DVD guide.

For more information on the Uponor One Pack please visit www.one-pack.co.uk, email enquiries.uk@uponor.com or call 01455 550355.

Uponor’s dedicated Training Academy offers a range of courses including the design and layout of underfloor heating systems as well as a course dedicated to controls. Bespoke workshops can also be developed to cater for individual needs. For more information log on to www.uponor.co.uk or call 01455 551 363.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Higgs healthcare team proves right tonic for MY Care

Leading regional law firm Higgs & Sons’ specialist healthcare team has advised one of the region’s leading care home providers on the purchase of three new care homes together with a £9 million refinancing of its business.

The MY Care Group, spearheaded by Paul Hearn, acquired the homes for an undisclosed sum, expanding its portfolio to seven homes across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. MY Care is an established provider of high quality care services, with each of its homes holding a two star "good" rating with the Care Quality Commission.

Geoff Kettle, an associate in Higgs’ corporate department, led the deal team, which advised MY Care on its purchase of Ruddington Homes Limited which owned the care homes based in Nottinghamshire. The Higgs team included specialist corporate tax, property, employment and banking lawyers.

Geoff said: "It was great to work with Paul on this acquisition. He has a great business and a commitment to providing excellent services for his residents and we are delighted to help them with their growth.”

A key partner in the healthcare team, Susheel Gupta, said: "Our specialist team has many years’ experience and is equipped to handle every aspect of healthcare work, from corporate acquisitions and disposals, to tax issues, property, employment, and financing matters. Our aim is to always provide our clients with a seamless service and to make the legal process as simple as possible for them.”

Paul Hearn, managing director of MY Care said: “Higgs worked closely alongside my own team on this acquisition and refinancing and I am looking forward to working with them again in the future. MY Care has doubled its size in the East Midlands this year and with another acquisition lined up, will continue to look at new opportunities to expand its operations.”

To find out how the healthcare team can support your business, contact Susheel directly on 0845 111 5050 or email susheel.gupta@higgsandsons.co.uk.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Clearer skies ahead for holidays and sick pay law?

Two recent tribunal decisions could pave the way for a clearer view on holidays and sick pay, says a leading employment lawyer.

Tim Jones, head of employment law at Higgs & Sons, says that the cases of Khan v Martin McColl and Souter v Royal College of Nursing are both helping to clarify the matter for employers across the region.

“Since the House of Lords gave its decision in the case of Stringer, employment lawyers have been arguing over the consequences of that judgment in day to day employment terms,” says Tim.

“In the Stringer case, the House of Lords made clear that an employee on long term sickness absence who had exhausted their contractual and statutory sick pay, did accrue statutory holiday and should be allowed to take it.

“However, what was unclear from the House of Lords was whether the unused holiday entitlement could be carried over and used in subsequent years. The European Court of Justice in its judgment had made clear that its view was that workers accrued four weeks paid holiday whilst on sick leave and should be allowed to take this when they return to work even if their return to work was in the following leave year.”

The case of Khan v Martin McColl highlights that employers may be able to avoid paying accrued holiday pay for a previous year if they act promptly enough.

Tim explains: “Mr Khan started his long term sick leave in May 2008 and did not return to work before he resigned in August 2009. The company made payment of the accrued holiday for 2009 but did not make a payment in lieu for the holiday that had accrued in 2007/2008.

“Mr Khan brought a claim but failed. The Tribunal held that by making the payment of the accrued holiday pay for 2009, this broke the series of deductions. They went further and said that in their view the decision in Stringer provided that employees could only carry over holiday when they had been refused the right to take it. As Mr Khan had not asked to take holiday in 2008 he had therefore not been denied the right and accordingly there was no right to carry over.”

Since the decision in Khan there has also been a decision of the Edinburgh Employment Tribunal in Souter v Royal College of Nursing Scotland. In this case, Mrs Souter held an administrative job with Royal College of Nursing until she retired on the 21 April 2010. She had been on long term sick leave from 7 November 2001 and had been in receipt of permanent health insurance from 7 November 2002. Upon retirement the Royal College of Nursing paid Mrs Souter her accrued holiday for the leave year 1 January 2010 to 21 April 2010. In May 2010, Mrs Souter brought an unlawful deduction action against the Royal College of Nursing seeking compensation for statutory holiday pay in respect of the whole period of her sickness absence. The Edinburgh Tribunal rejected her claim saying that the claim was out of time, that as she had neither sought to take holiday when she was off sick, nor had she been prevented from taking holiday there was no right for untaken leave to carry over, and furthermore that her entitlement to holiday pay would have been at her permanent health insurance rate, not her working salary rate and therefore she had suffered no financial loss.

Tim believes that these two cases now give employers some degree of clarity and hope in what has otherwise been an area of some confusion. “Although it should be recognised that both the cases are Tribunal decisions only and therefore not binding on other tribunals or higher courts, they do give some important guidance to employers and their lawyers.”

For help with your employment law matters, contact Tim Jones directly on 0845 111 5050.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

FESTIVE OPENING FOR £500,000 BUSINESS

Families were treated to a festive wonderland experience over the weekend to mark the official opening of a new £500,000 van centre.

Imperial Commercials Volkswagen Van Centre in Stoke-on-Trent transformed its forecourt into a hive of wintery attractions including a 12 square metre ice rink, falconry display and over 20 Christmas market stalls.

The company has invested heavily in the state-of-the-art showroom, forecourt and 24-hour workshop and wanted to make its launch a memorable event for customers and their families.

Guests were also entertained by live band, Crysis, and a vintage vehicle display as they enjoyed mince pies and browsed the market stalls for Christmas gift ideas.

The younger generations got to grips with the bouncy castle, ice rink and penguin ice scooter, with some going home with their faces painted and temporary glitter tattoos.

Imperial Commercials, Executive Director, Geoff Haspell, said: “We are delighted with the success of the day.

“We wanted to make the opening a special family affair and given the time of the year we felt the wintery and festive attractions would add to the day’s enjoyment,”

“The investment and recent celebrations confirms our commitment to businesses and van operators in the area and “the introduction of the Volkswagen brand enables Imperial Commercials to enter new markets, where we are looking forward to meeting and working with new light commercial vehicle customers ” concluded Geoff.

The four acre site on Leek New Road has undergone a complete refurbishment to accommodate the new Volkswagen Van Centre. It sits alongside its existing DAF truck dealership, strengthening the commercial vehicle specialist’s presence in the area.

Imperial Commercials is the UK’s largest Independent Commercial Vehicle Dealer Group. It supplies both new and used trucks and vans including servicing and parts from its extensive network of franchises including Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, DAF Trucks, Ford Commercials, FIAT Professional, MAN Trucks, Renault Trucks, Nissan Commercial Vehicles, ISUZU Trucks and HINO Trucks.

For further information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

SWANSWAY GROUPS INVESTS MILLIONS IN MERSEYSIDE

Merseyside will soon see the return of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand to the city, after an absence of over six years.

The retailer group Swansway has invested almost £2m in a state-of-the-art van centre in Speke, bringing with it 15 new jobs.

Work started on the new Liverpool Volkswagen Van Centre in April, with the doors opening at the Woodend Avenue site in January.

The new centre will include a five van showroom, seven bay workshop and dedicated MOT bay.

David Cowan, Liverpool Volkswagen Van Centre’s brand manager, said: “Liverpool has been without a dedicated brand franchise for too long and we are delighted to bring Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles back to the city.

“This investment demonstrates our commitment to providing businesses and van drivers on Merseyside with an official Volkswagen facility.

“The site will be one of biggest in the UK and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ only stand alone site in the country with the latest corporate branding, something we’re very proud of.

“As part of the new development we’ve created 15 new jobs and with future growth expected more jobs could be generated.”

The van centre is expected to generate sales of approximately 1,250 new and used vehicles in 2011, with a targeted increase in 2012.

David added: “Previously, Volkswagen van customers in Liverpool had to travel to Wrexham, Preston or Manchester for brand-backed sales.

“The new centre will remove the need for customers to travel any distance for all their Volkswagen needs.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming new and old customers of the brand when we open in January.”

Simon Elliott, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK, said: “Liverpool is one of the UK’s thriving cities and we’re delighted Swansway has invested in a Volkswagen franchise for the city.

“This site will be a flagship Volkswagen van centre and we’re looking forward to watching the business grow.”

Blue Works from WD-40 - Gets the job done right

Industrial engineers bust-a-gut to maintain their heavy duty machinery, but thanks to WD-40 Company, things have just become easier.

Its new line of speciality maintenance products – called ‘Blue Works’ – offers industrial workers a solution for a range of repair headaches.

WD-40 – a household name
Look in any household toolbox, kitchen cupboard, garage or shed and you are almost guaranteed to find a can of WD-40. The renowned multi-purpose maintenance product is a household staple and one of Britain’s most trusted brands.

But now, WD-40 is making waves in the industrial market too, when it launches a range of specialty maintenance products that are designed to perform in the toughest industrial conditions.

Introducing Blue Works
Known as ‘Blue Works’ - the range will include: Silicone Lubricant, High-performance PTFE Lubricant, White Lithium Grease, Dry Tube PTFE Formula, Multi-purpose Lubricant, Penetrant oil, Contact Cleaner and Degreaser.

Neil Gow, Senior Brand Manager at WD-40, explains the thinking behind the new range: “We’ve been hugely successful with WD-40 – it’s a product that many people use and trust. So we aim to use our strong reputation for quality to offer a range of new high-performance products for industrial users – this is where Blue Works comes in.

“These products are designed for a very specific and specialist purposes. For instance, a product like Blue Works White Lithium Grease is designed for high pressure lubrication (up to 1,400lbs), making it an ideal product for industrial gears, guides and motor pivots.”

Neil continues to explain that other Blue Works products, such as the Contact Cleaner, have been developed to clean plastic, rubber and metal precision equipment, by quickly reducing oxides and removing dirt.

Neil added: “The Blue Works range will assist in most maintenance and repair jobs in an industrial workplace. We are confident that those responsible for maintenance, as well as engineers will be pleased with their practicality and performance.”

But when it comes to performance, don’t just take Neil’s word for it.

Proven Performance
All products in the new WD-40 Blue Works range outperformed their market competitors in key performance areas, according to multiple independent ASTM tests. And, the competitor products tested were all more expensive that Blue Works too.

This success is largely down to the extensive and in-depth testing that went into the unique industrial grade formulas in Blue Works’ products - which all contain special synthetic additives and all products are approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).

Speaking of the multiple independent ASTM tests, Neil insisted that product quality is at the heart of everything that WD-40 does: “This is the first time we’ve released a new product into the industrial marketplace – and we wouldn’t do it unless we were absolutely sure of our products’ ability to perform to the very best standards.”

The new Blue Works range will be available from all reputable industrial distributors from December. To find your nearest stockist call 01908 555400.

For more information please visit www.blueworksbrand.com

ENDS

Issued on behalf of WD-40 by Connect PR

For more information, please contact:
Kathy Hodson, Connect PR, The Chubb Building, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT. Tel: 01902 714957 / 07890381725

Friday, 19 November 2010

UK AMONG THE 'SAFEST DRIVERS IN EU' ACCORDING TO MAJOR SURVEY


Drivers in the UK are the third safest drivers in Europe, according to a new poll by Goodyear Dunlop. Germans were voted the safest. 18% of the 3,500 drivers surveyed chose Germany when asked to nominate the country with the safest drivers in the EU, Sweden followed with 9% of the vote, and the UK came third with 6%.

The Germans and the British are also the most likely to nominate their own drivers as the safest in the EU (22% and 20%, respectively).

The UK drivers polled were more likely to require further knowledge about tyres and their role in road safety of any EU drivers surveyed. For example, seven in ten UK respondents (71%) said they would have trouble telling one type of tyre from another without assistance, 62% aren’t sure whether the tyres on their car are summer, winter or another type of tyre, and 42% know little or nothing about how different tyres can increase or decrease your grip on the road. However, the British are not alone – 75 per cent of all respondents said they would like to know more about tyres and their role in road safety.

Despite a number of specific differences depending on the country, the survey also showed some surprising consistency across Europe. After not drinking and driving, having correct tyres on the car came out as a key factor of road safety in every country, with 82% of respondents stating that ‘having tyres in good condition and properly inflated’ was ‘very important’ to their safety when driving.

Results indicate gaps in driver’s tyre knowledge and practice across Europe

Unfortunately, stating that tyres are important doesn’t necessarily mean that drivers have crucial knowledge about tyres. Or that they put this knowledge into practice. The survey results suggest that many drivers underestimate the link between tyre choice and road safety: one respondent in three admitted knowing ‘little or nothing’ of the way tyres will influence their stopping distance or impact their grip on the road. Only 39% said they were ‘very likely’ to find out which tyres have the best grip in winter conditions, 29% said the same for summer conditions. One in three EU drivers confirmed they change every year to winter tyres when it’s appropriate to do, but even of those who drive in cold, snow and ice conditions and claim to be aware of the importance of winter tyres, one in five admit they never switch.

That’s for tyre choice, how about tyre maintenance? 73% of EU respondents claim to know the appropriate tyre pressure for different driving conditions, but almost half of the people surveyed didn’t know when exactly to check tyre pressure (when the tyres are cold). And while 59% of respondents stated they regularly checked their tyre pressure, half of them admitted they might set out on a long journey without doing so. Similarly, 52% say they regularly check their tyres tread depth, but three in ten of them can’t even remember the last time they did. Moreover, more than one respondent in three admitted they continue to drive as normal on worn tyres, which tyre experts consider a major safety risk.

More ‘tyre awareness’ in order to improve road safety

“This survey on tyres & road safety reveals some of the worrying driving practices we all need to address to make our roads safer places,” said Tom Delforge, Director of Communications EMEA at Goodyear Dunlop. “It also shows a number of road safety risks that can be addressed by promoting the right tyre choice, building more awareness and encouraging better maintenance. At Goodyear Dunlop we believe that the right tyre for the right conditions in combination with the right driving behaviour can lead to a safer journey. Our survey shows three quarters of drivers would appreciate knowing more about tyres and their role in road safety, and we intend to accelerate our efforts to support this learning curve, together with all stakeholders”.

3,500 drivers were surveyed across Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Survey Methodology:

• The study was carried out by APCO Insight on behalf of “Goodyear Dunlop Europe” to better understand licensed drivers’ road safety awareness, beliefs and practices.
• A total of 3,500 European drivers were surveyed, 500 each for Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK.
• Fieldwork was carried out from 31 August to 9 September 2010.
• Interviews were conducted online in the local language of each country. Nationally representative quotas were set on gender and age.
• Respondents had to: Have a valid driver’s license, be older than 18, and be an active driver (drive more than 1km per year).

About Goodyear Dunlop

• Goodyear has 111 years’ worth of experience in developing a vital part of any vehicle - the tyre. We believe that we have a responsibility be involved in the tyre safety debate, and we want to contribute to safer mobility.
• Goodyear Dunlop is a signatory to The European Road Safety Charter (ERSC).
• Goodyear Dunlop supported the idea of an EU Tyre Label that makes it easier for consumers to judge tyre performance from an environmental and safety perspective.
• Goodyear Dunlop has supported the mandatory introduction of the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System – an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside a tyre – in all new passenger cars from 2012, and all cars from 2014
• Goodyear Dunlop also supports the idea of member states bringing in laws around winter tyres to improve road safety in winter conditions.
• Goodyear Dunlop is engaging with stakeholders to demonstrate the importance of road safety.
• Goodyear Dunlop commissioned the Goodyear Road Safety Survey 2010, in order to raise awareness of the importance of basic tyre maintenance.

EDUCATION STILL NEEDED TO IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF SCHOOL VEHICLES


A survey has revealed a large number of parents do not consider their child’s safety when it comes to travelling by bus or coach this winter.

76% of those surveyed admitted they didn’t think about the type of tyres fitted to school buses, which are frequently used for educational excursions and transportation about town. The poll of 500 parents also showed that 82% felt it was the responsibility of the school to enforce tyre checks and 26% said they didn’t know the difference between cold weather and summer tyres.

The survey was commissioned by leading tyre manufacturer Goodyear as the firm continues to promote the importance of road safety. The firm hopes that through the right education we will not see events like the Lanark Grammar School coach crash, which killed a teenage girl and injured 44 earlier this year as the vehicle lost control on icy roads in southwest Scotland.

Kate Rock, Goodyear’s pr support manager, commented: “Tyre safety is of great concern to us and at Goodyear we have an important role to play in educating society on the benefits of cold weather tyres.

“When the cold weather hits it’s imperative that tyres provide motorists with the correct grip, traction and control to tackle the difficult driving conditions. We believe that safety is a shared responsibility and that together we can put pressure on bus and coach operators to ensure that their vehicles are fitted with the right tyres to tackle the weather conditions.”

For further information and tips on how to drive safely this winter visit www.goodyear.co.uk

ENDS

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email lee@connect-group.com

KNUTSFORD ANNOUNCED AS FOURTH LOCATION FOR GOODYEAR PETROL GIVEAWAY


Tyre giant announces ‘next stop Knutsford’ for its EfficientGrip fuel campaign

A nationwide campaign by tyre leader Goodyear to promote its environmentally friendly EfficientGrip tyres will come to Knutsford on Monday 22 November 2010.

Goodyear is teaming up with Esso on Tabley Hill Lane, Knutsford, to give motorists a £20 fill up on. The free £20 top up of unleaded or diesel fuel will be available from 7.30am to 9.30am and then again from 5pm to 7pm or until stocks run out.

The campaign launched at the beginning of November in Gateshead where over 700 motorists benefitted from £20 of free fuel. Since then, Goodyear has travelled to Horsham and Chipping Norton to give away free fuel.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “The campaign is designed to educate motorists on the benefits of fitting EfficientGrip tyres to their car. They can save financially as well as helping the environment.

“Once fitted, our EfficientGrip tyres could be saving motorists as much as 1 litre of fuel in every tank – this is because the tyre uses a new generation of tread compound, which reduces the amount of energy needed to make the tyre roll. This lower rolling resistance causes a lower rate of fuel consumption, reducing the C02 emissions a car emits.”

Goodyear’s generosity does not end at the pump in Knutsford. A £10 Sainsbury’s fuel voucher will also be given to customers for every EfficientGrip tyre they purchase at a participating HiQ outlet in the region or via www.hiqonline.co.uk.

Along with improving fuel efficiency, the tyre offers high-mileage, good wet braking performance, resistance to aquaplaning and a noticeably quiet ride.

For further information about the campaign visit www.goodyear.co.uk

ENDS

Notes to journalists

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR. For further information call Hazel Crawford-Upton on 01902 714 959/07974 230690 or email hazel@connect-group.com.

A senior team of Goodyear personnel will be available on the day. Press are invited to the Esso station on Monday 22 November. Please call Hazel on 07974 230690 if you would like to attend or would like to send a photographer/crew.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

GOODYEAR’S EFFICIENTGRIP TYRE CHALLENGES WITH IMPROVED FUEL CONSUMPTION

The role tyres play in the environmental performance of a vehicle was exemplified this weekend as Goodyear participated in the Brighton to London Future Car Challenge (BLFCC).

Entering the challenge with a Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 Diesel, equipped with EfficientGrip tyres and driven by the UK’s thriftiest resident, the leading tyre firm clocked up an impressive 53 miles to the gallon.

Using fuel efficient driving techniques and benefiting from the low rolling resistance of EfficientGrip, Clare Selwood from Nottingham crossed the finish line in Pall Mall, London having completed the 60 mile route from Maderia Drive, Brighton.

Clare’s performance clearly demonstrated the fuel saving benefits of the EfficientGrip tyre having increased the mile per gallon ratio by 12 miles compared to a vehicle travelling the same route on competitor premium tyres.

“Our participation in the BLFCC underlines our commitment to develop innovative solutions that reduce the environmental impact of vehicles,” said James Bailey, corporate communications manager for Goodyear Dunlop.

“The Goodyear EfficientGrip tyre is a perfect example of this commitment. The tyre not only cuts fuel consumption, but doesn’t compromise on wet grip or road safety.”

For further information and tips on how to drive more efficiently, visit www.goodyear.co.uk.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS

Clare Selwood from Nottingham was crowned the UK’s thriftiest resident by Goodyear in October 2010. She beat over 300 entries by stating over 100 money saving reasons as to why she should to win the nationwide search. Clare won £1,000, four EfficientGrip tyres and the opportunity to drive Goodyear’s vehicle in the BLFCC.

Photo caption: Michelle Fisher, Goodyear brand manager (centre), alongside the UK’s thriftiest family (going clockwise) Clare Selwood, Scott Riggans, Lenny Riggans and Barry Selwood.

DERBY BUSINESS LAUNCHES NEW TRAINEE PROGRAMME


A Derby business has launched the success of its new apprentice training programme.

Imperial Commercials Volkswagen Van Centre received over 250 applicants for the one position as a Volkswagen sales trainee.

The programme is designed to help encourage young new talent into the automotive industry.

Megan Stamp, from Alvaston, accepted the sales trainee role and now begins an 18-month intensive training programme, which will see her experience and learn all aspects of the business.

The 19-year-old successfully completed three interviews in which she faced various managers plus a panel of employees from the Derby team, before being offered the Volkswagen position.

As one of the UK’s largest truck dealership networks, Imperial Commercials presently operates a three year apprenticeship scheme for technicians in conjunction with Derby College and was named as a regional finalist in the National Apprenticeship Awards, earlier this year.

The company believes it is vitally important to invest in the future and it’s this commitment that has led to its latest role as Matthew Lawrenson, regional director of Imperial Commercials, explained.

“Our aim is to bring young new blood into the industry and therefore we feel there needs to be a clear framework to help nurture and develop the right skills for these individuals, after all these apprentices could be our future managers.

“The series of interviews enabled various team members to be instrumental in the recruitment process. We have received very positive feedback on this style of interviewing from both Megan and our team.

“This new apprentice training programme may be still in its infancy but we have been so pleased with the response and calibre of applicants that we plan to implement it across our network.”

For further information please contact Sue Foster on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

VAN CENTRE RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION


The service team from a Hereford Volkswagen retailer, has been hailed as one of the top eight in the UK after achieving record levels of customer satisfaction.

The team were also among the top 100 in Europe recognised by the Volkswagen brand for its superior aftersales service.

Positive feedback from customers and excellent customer loyalty figures collated throughout the year ensured South Hereford Garages secured its status as one of Britain’s best.

South Hereford Garages director, Charles Richards, said: “To have one of the best aftersales service teams in the UK and Europe is testament to the expertise and hard work of everyone at the site.

“The team thoroughly deserves this acknowledgment as they continually strive to deliver total customer satisfaction.

“The team’s ethic is to make sure every customer is given accurate information before, during and after their car has visited our after sales department.

“Their positive attitude has inspired everyone at the retailer and is demonstrated with this award.”

Charles was presented with the Volkswagen Service Quality Award at a gala event at Volkswagen’s Auto Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Don Hewitt, Volkswagen UK Loyalty Development Manager, said: “We are delighted that eight UK Retailers have been recognised in this way. We strive for the very highest standards and these retailers have set a fine example to the rest of the network.”

For further information on the Volkswagen range on Roman Road call South Hereford Garages on 01432 376200.

For more information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

NEW APPOINTMENT DRIVES VAN CENTRE FORWARD

A Cambridge Van Centre has invested in over a quarter of a century of experience to drive its new sales and rental division forward.

Vindis Van Service Centre has appointed Juliet Saunders to the Cowley Road site bringing with her 25 years of commercial vehicle experience.

Juliet, from Willingham, has built her expertise having occupied various job roles for a local commercial vehicle business, Marshall. Her passion for customer interaction and sales led her to specialise in this field for the past 15 years.

Juliet is responsible for developing the new Volkswagen business which originally opened in July this year as a Volkswagen commercial vehicle service centre. The business has now expanded its offering and has introduced both the sales and rental facilities.

Juliet said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this role and look forward to establishing relationships with local businesses and van operators.

“I aim to bring new life into the business and continue to develop the high level of customer service that people have come to expect of the Vindis Group.

Shane Fenwick, brand manager for Vindis Van Centre Volkswagen, said: “Juliet comes with a superb track record and we firmly believe she will make a significant impact on the team and customers.”

For further information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or suefoster@connect-group.com

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

GOODYEAR’S EFFICIENTGRIP TYRE CHALLENGES WITH IMPROVED FUEL CONSUMPTION


The role tyres play in the environmental performance of a vehicle has been exemplified as Goodyear participated in the Brighton to London Future Car Challenge (BLFCC).

Entering the challenge with a Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 Diesel, equipped with EfficientGrip tyres and driven by the UK’s thriftiest resident, the leading tyre firm clocked up an impressive 53 miles to the gallon.

Using fuel efficient driving techniques and benefiting from the low rolling resistance of EfficientGrip, Clare Selwood from Nottingham crossed the finish line in Pall Mall, London having completed the 60 mile route from Maderia Drive, Brighton.

Clare’s performance clearly demonstrated the fuel saving benefits of the EfficientGrip tyre having increased the mile per gallon ratio by 12 miles compared to a vehicle travelling the same route on competitor premium tyres.

“Our participation in the BLFCC underlines our commitment to develop innovative solutions that reduce the environmental impact of vehicles,” said James Bailey, corporate communications manager for Goodyear Dunlop.

“The Goodyear EfficientGrip tyre is a perfect example of this commitment. The tyre not only cuts fuel consumption, but doesn’t compromise on wet grip or road safety.”

For further information and tips on how to drive more efficiently, visit www.goodyear.co.uk.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS

Clare Selwood from Nottingham was crowned the UK’s thriftiest resident by Goodyear in October 2010. She beat over 300 entries by stating over 100 money saving reasons as to why she should to win the nationwide search. Clare won £1,000, four EfficientGrip tyres and the opportunity to drive Goodyear’s vehicle in the BLFCC.

Photo caption: Michelle Fisher, Goodyear brand manager (centre), alongside the UK’s thriftiest family (going clockwise) Clare Selwood, Scott Riggans, Lenny Riggans and Barry Selwood.

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email lee@connect-group.com

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

HUNDREDS OF EARLY BIRDS CATCH A BREAKFAST

Two Sittingbourne businesses have joined forces to provide early morning workers with the most important meal of the day.

JCB Volkswagen Van Centre and Sittingbourne Cafe launched a temporary customer service initiative in 2009 to provide JCB’s service customers with a breakfast voucher while their vehicle was being worked on.

But after over 1,000 people utilised the ‘early bird’ service in the first 12 months, it’s now being introduced full time

Matt Rochester, aftersales manager at JCB Sittingbourne Van Centre, said: “Every month nearly 100 service customers to our St. Michael's Road site enjoy a breakfast at the Sittingbourne Cafe while they wait for work to be carried out on their vehicle.

“The phenomenal success of the ‘early bird’ initiative has taken us all by surprise and we’ve now decided to make it permanent.

“We introduced it for customers who need to be on the road or working early in the morning and we’re delighted with the positive customer feedback.”

Steve Beard, from Chatham-based Rainham Refrigeration, said: “It’s a fantastic idea and means our vans serviced without any impact on the working day.

“The food is great and we’ll be using this service every time our vehicles serviced or in for an MOT.”

Matt concluded: “JCB’s service department is open from 6am, but as the cafe opens at 7am customers are given complimentary refreshments in our waiting area until breakfast can be served.”

WD-40 Helps Scouts Do It Themselves

WD-40 launched its sponsorship of the Scouts DIY Activity Badge last night with a group of Northamptonshire Scouts becoming the first in the country to gain the accreditation.

As part of the sponsorship, WD-40 has created a new interactive resource for Scout leaders and members to access the information needed to achieve the badge.

The web-based educational tool teaches Scouts basic DIY tasks and safety considerations when carrying out DIY.

It includes tips and suggestions for ways in which WD-40 can help round the home including cleaning paintbrushes, removing crayon from walls, lubricating ironing boards and preventing corrosion on DIY tools.

Also featured in the resource is a step by step guide to creating your own toolbox and features a game where Scouts must put each action in the correct order against the clock.

WD-40’s senior brand manager, Neil Gow, says: “With membership numbers soaring to 500,000, and 65,000 teenagers involved in the Association, the future of the country rests in the hands of the Scouts.

“Recent research by WD-40 found that people would rather call in a professional than tackle simple DIY tasks by themselves, but we believe by sponsoring the Scouts DIY Activity Badge and providing this interactive resource we can educate the DIY experts of the future.”

WD-40’s Nick Abrams is involved in running the 17th Kettering (St Andrews) Scout group in Kettering. He says: “The Scouts movement is very important for young people. The skills they learn whilst working towards their badges will stay with them for a lifetime.

“I’m delighted that WD-40 has been able to support the Scouts with this sponsorship and make all of the information readily available in the interactive resource.”

Nikki Mason, head of corporate partnerships at The Scout Association, says: “The involvement of companies such as WD-40 can give Scouts a real boost, providing new resources and exciting ways to pass their badges. The family brand values of WD-40 tie in superbly with the Scouts movement and we’re delighted with the joint venture.”

WD-40, the multi-use product, has also launched a new communications campaign to educate consumers on the wonders of WD-40 for cleaning. Neil Gow adds: “WD-40 is well known for its ability to fix a squeaking door or lubricate an engine, but not many people know its powers stretch much further and it can be used to clean a whole host of things from tools and power tools to alloy wheels and even removing sticky labels.”

For more information on the WD-40, including 2,000 DIY, cleaning and other application ideas log on to www.wd40.co.uk. For information on Scouting including badges, your nearest group and how to join, visit http://www.scouts.org.uk/.



A video of the launch can be seen here.

LOCAL RETAILER GOES FOR THE GOLD



Canterbury Ladies Hockey Club is proving the team to beat this year thanks to, two double Olympians and a local retailer.

EuroCanterbury Volkswagen has sponsored the ladies squad captained by double Olympian, Mel Clewlow. The team showcased their new strip at their first match, which they won 2-0 against University of Birmingham.

The two-year sponsorship deal is significant a four figure sum, and is the team’s first major sponsor since 2006.

Canterbury Ladies consists of four Great Britain international players and six junior internationals, along with South African double Olympian, Jen Wilson for the 2010-11 season. According to captain Mel, Jen is likely to be a triple Olympian by 2012.

The squad has also been boosted by the inclusion of American international Katie Evans and Canadian international Abi Raye.

In addition to the sponsorship from the Broad Oak Road Volkswagen retailer, the team recently announced their new coach will be Nick Clark.

Clark is current England women’s U21 head coach, who won silver at this summer’s European Championships, and is the senior women’s indoor coach.

Captain, Mel, said: “We’re thrilled EuroCanterbury has sponsored the whole team, as it has been very difficult in the past finding sponsors for individual players.”

“The team love their new kit and so far it’s bringing us good luck as we’re at the top of the league.

“We’re currently second in the league but managed to beat Leicester at the weekend and stop their 30 game unbeaten run.”



Chris Evans, EuroCanterbury’s sales manager, said: “We’re pleased to sponsor a local and very successful team, that showcases some brilliant local and international talent.

“Everyone at the retailer is proud of the ladies and will be attending matches to support and cheer them on.”

Monday, 15 November 2010

FEMALE APPRENTICE MAKES THE MOTORSPORT GRADE

A Bury apprentice has been selected from hundreds of applicants to be part of a new Volkswagen Group motorsport team.

Vicky Moorby, who is learning her trade as a car technician at Bury Volkswagen retailer Smith Knight Fay, impressed judges with her knowledge of motor performance at a team selection day recently.

The process was extremely competitive, after Volkswagen receiving over 300 applications from Volkswagen Group apprentices all over the UK for just 12 positions.

The 18-year-old is the only female in the team and spoke of her delight at securing a prestigious place on the motorsport team, that will last for a year.

She said: “I’m thrilled that I have this very rare opportunity to apply my knowledge and enthusiasm to motorsport

“I owe a great deal to Smith Knight Fay and Volkswagen, they’ve given me so much already with my apprenticeship and this feels like the icing on the cake – I’m so excited.”

Following her selection, Moorby and her team-mates supported a Skoda Fabia rally car at an event in Worcestershire, where it performed rides, drives and public displays.

Smith Knight Fay’s brand manager, Steve Thomas, said: “Vicky has great passion about her job and her hard work has paid off by this reward.

“It’s great for the region to have a representative working for a national team and that Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen is training apprentices to the highest standard.”

Now half-way through her three-year apprenticeship course, the car enthusiast reaffirmed her desire to reach great heights as a motor technician.

Vicky added: “This is the only job I have ever wanted to do. I’m building my knowledge base and experience all of the time and I’m determined to reach the very top of my profession.”

MOTORISTS WARNED TO TREAD CAREFULLY THIS WINTER


As the UK braces itself for more treacherous driving conditions this winter, motorists remain unsure whether or not to equip cold weather tyres.

According to research carried out by leading tyre manufacturer Goodyear, 71% said they would have trouble telling one type of tyre from another without assistance, 26% believe it’s safe to drive with summer tyres as long as the roads have less than 10cm of snow on them and 29% feel the sale of cold weather tyres is simply a marketing gimmick.

The survey amongst 500 drivers suggested that widely-held misunderstandings about tyres, particularly the role of cold weather tyres, still threatened road safety.

“Road Safety is a major concern, and the confusion surrounding cold weather tyres needs to be resolved in order to make motoring safer,” said James Bailey, corporate communications manager for Goodyear Dunlop.

“When nearly a third of drivers think it is OK to drive on snow with summer tyres if you’re careful, that’s a serious safety hazard. We have to increase people’s awareness, not just on winter tyres, but about how the right tyres for the right conditions can contribute to road safety generally.”

Goodyear’s award winning UltraGrip 7+ cold weather tyre delivers unparalleled control in hazardous winter conditions. Voted best cold weather tyre by weekly car magazine Auto Express, the tyre was tested and proven to stop six car lengths shorter than a conventional tyre on snow. The tyre was also a remarkable performer in the wet as well. In two tests that measured aquaplaning, the tyre dominated with a score 18% higher than a rival all-season tyre in the type of road conditions that the UK experiences every season.

For further information and tips on how to stay safe this winter, visit www.goodyear.co.uk.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Survey Methodology

• The study was carried out by APCO Insight on behalf of “Goodyear Dunlop Europe” to better understand licensed drivers’ road safety awareness, beliefs and practices.
• Fieldwork was carried out from 31 August to 9 September 2010.
• Respondents had to: Have a valid driver’s license, be older than 18, and be an active driver (drive more than 1km per year).

About Goodyear Dunlop

• Goodyear has 111 years’ worth of experience in developing a vital part of any vehicle - the tyre. We believe that we have a responsibility be involved in the tyre safety debate, and we want to contribute to safer mobility.
• Goodyear Dunlop is a signatory to The European Road Safety Charter (ERSC).
• Goodyear Dunlop supported the idea of an EU Tyre Label that makes it easier for consumers to judge tyre performance from an environmental and safety perspective.
• Goodyear Dunlop has supported the mandatory introduction of the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System – an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside a tyre – in all new passenger cars from 2012, and all cars from 2014.
• Goodyear Dunlop also supports the idea of member states bringing in laws around winter tyres to improve road safety in winter conditions.
• Goodyear Dunlop is engaging with stakeholders to demonstrate the importance of road safety.
• Goodyear Dunlop commissioned the Goodyear Road Safety Survey 2010, in order to raise awareness of the importance of basic tyre maintenance.

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email lee@connect-group.com

Landlords beware! New rules on assured shorthold tenancies introduced


Landlords in England are being warned to update themselves on new rules surrounding assured shorthold tenancies as the rules have now changed.

Sara Shepherd, a specialist property solicitor at Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons, says that landlords across England need to be aware of the new rules and act accordingly.

“Prior to 1 October 2010, a residential tenancy could not be an assured shorthold tenancy if the rent exceeded £25,000 per annum,” says Sara.

“This was designed to exclude tenants of luxury houses from protection under the Housing Act, but due to rising rents many tenancies of non-luxury properties now have annual rents of more than £25,000. The most common examples of this are large student houses and London flats.

“From 1 October 2010, the rules changed, with the threshold rising to £100,000 per annum. The effect of the change is retrospective, so it affects all new and existing tenancies.”

Implications for Landlords

According to Sara, the rules change has a number of implications for landlords.

“A landlord who takes a deposit under an assured shorthold tenancy must protect it in an approved deposit scheme. There are serious sanctions for landlords for failing to comply with this - including fines and limitations on the landlord's ability to get the property back. Although the government has said that it is not expecting existing deposits to be placed in a deposit scheme, this is still subject to test in the courts, which may take a different view. In my opinion, a cautious landlord would now place all existing deposits in an approved scheme.”

Serving Notice

The changes also mean that the rules as to minimum length of term and length and format of notices now apply to these tenancies, whatever it actually says in the tenancy agreement. All assured shorthold tenancies have to last for at least six months, and landlords must use the required forms of notice to terminate them, otherwise the notice will not be effective.

Pre February 1997

Sara has one particular warning for landlords of any tenancies with rent of over £25,000 per annum which started before 28 February 1997. “These are rare but landlords who have them will find they have converted automatically into assured tenancies, not assured shorthold tenancies,” says Sara.

“Landlords will not be able to terminate these on two months' notice, but will have to be able to show one of the grounds from the Housing Act - making it much harder to get back possession of the property.”

Good news

The new rules do bring some good news for landlords. The main one is that landlords can use the accelerated possession procedure in the courts - which is a faster and more cost-effective method of obtaining possession of properties, and which is only available for use with assured shorthold tenancies.

There is more good news for landlords. Sara says: “Previously, landlords could find that tenants of residential flats paying over £25,000 per annum had acquired rights of first refusal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 on any sale of the freehold by their landlord. This caused delays and cost landlords money when they were trying to sell their property. The new rules from 1 October mean that in most cases it will now only be an issue where tenants of residential flats are paying over £100,000 per annum.”

For specialist legal advice or to speak with Sara Shepherd contact her directly on 0845 111 5050.





APPRENTICES TAKE FIRST STEP ON CAREER LADDER

Two young car enthusiasts from Surrey have embarked on a three-year apprenticeship with the aim of becoming the best in the business.

Eighteen-year-old Tom Pentecost has been accepted by Volkswagen retailer Colbornes to be the latest recruit on the technician apprenticeship scheme.

He is joined at Colbornes in Guildford by James Moreton who will be the retailer’s first parts apprentice.

Over the next three years Colbornes will invest nearly £60,000 to train Tom through to technician status and James to a fully qualified partsman.
Tom, who has joined from Winston Churchill School, is looking forward to achieving his ambition of working on Volkswagen vehicles.

He said: “I love all types of vehicles and this is the only job I have ever wanted to do. I am passionate about the Volkswagen brand and I want to go as far in my career as I can.

“I am over the moon to I be given this opportunity and very grateful to Colbornes Volkswagen for giving me this chance.”

James said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge and establishing a career within the automotive industry.

“The parts team have been brilliant and I want to show everyone how much this apprenticeship means to me.”

Colbornes’ brand manager, John Walsh, said: “Tom’s passion for cars was one of the main reasons why he’s been given this place on the apprenticeship programme.

“I’m confident he will come through the three years with flying colours.

“The addition of James will strengthen the parts team and help the qualified and knowledgeable team we have here at Colbornes.”

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Abridge van centre appoints TV star

A Volkswagen van centre is attracting national fame following the appointment of its new local business executive come part-time actor.

Ian Cuddy, from Chingford, is frequently recognised at Abridge Van Centre after starring in a number of high profile television adverts.

The 48-year-olds latest role features Ian in the popular Volkswagen Golf mk 6 advert ‘Why drive something like a Golf when you can drive a Golf.’

Ian joins the Langston Road van centre with over 12 years commercial vehicle experience and has starred in nine adverts during his acting career, including the 2007 Skoda cake making advert.

The part time actor is delighted to have joined Abridge Volkswagen after promoting the brand in his latest role.

He said: “It’s always great fun making the adverts and my role in the Volkswagen Golf advert has certainly attracted a lot of interest.

“The acting is my hobby which I love to do in my spare time. I don’t know if it’s had an effect on sales but it’s definitely increasing customer enquiries in the van centre, even with the odd few asking for an autograph and picture.

“Aside from that I am really enjoying my latest challenge at Abridge and the team are making me feel very welcome.”

Sales manager at Abridge Volkswagen Van Centre, Wendy Williamson, said: “We have certainly received more than we bargained for when we employed Ian.

“His wealth of experience is proving to be a great asset to the business and his acting fame definitely breaks the ice with new customers.”

CHIPPING NORTON ANNOUNCED AS THIRD LOCATION FOR GOODYEAR PETROL GIVEAWAY


Tyre giant announces ‘next stop Chipping Norton’ for its EfficientGrip fuel campaign

A nationwide campaign by tyre leader Goodyear to promote its environmentally friendly EfficientGrip tyres will come to Chipping Norton on Monday 15 November 2010.

Goodyear is teaming up with leading fuel brand Jet on London Road, Chipping Norton, to give motorists a £20 fill up on. The free £20 top up of unleaded or diesel fuel will be available from 7.30am to 9.30am and then again from 5pm to 7pm or until stocks run out.

The campaign launched at the beginning of November in Gateshead where over 700 motorists benefitted from £20 of free fuel. Since then, Goodyear has travelled to Horsham to give away free fuel.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “The campaign is designed to educate motorists on the benefits of fitting EfficientGrip tyres to their car. They can save financially as well as helping the environment.

“Once fitted, our EfficientGrip tyres could be saving motorists as much as 1 litre of fuel in every tank – this is because the tyre uses a new generation of tread compound, which reduces the amount of energy needed to make the tyre roll. This lower rolling resistance causes a lower rate of fuel consumption, reducing the C02 emissions a car emits.”

Goodyear’s generosity does not end at the pump in Chipping Norton. A £10 Sainsbury’s fuel voucher will also be given to customers for every EfficientGrip tyre they purchase at a participating HiQ outlet in the region or via www.hiqonline.co.uk.

Along with improving fuel efficiency, the tyre offers high-mileage, good wet braking performance, resistance to aquaplaning and a noticeably quiet ride.

Chipping Norton is one of five petrol giveaway locations across England. The final station will be announced in the coming days with plenty of opportunity for people to benefit from the free fuel giveaway.

For further information about the campaign visit www.goodyear.co.uk

ENDS

Notes to journalists

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR. For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 959/07971 465739 or email lee@connect-group.com.

A senior team of Goodyear personnel will be available on the day. Press are invited to the Jet Chipping Norton forecourt on Monday 15 November. Please call Lee on 07974 230690 if you would like to attend or would like to send a photographer/crew.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

INDI BAR’S OPENING WEEKEND HAILED A HIT

Hundreds of revellers enjoyed great food, drink and entertainment at Wolverhampton’s hottest new venue this weekend as the doors opened on the first phase of the £3.5 million Indi Bar.

Indi Bar, located on the corner of Lichfield Street and Princess Street, hosted its VIP launch on Thursday (4th November) and enjoyed a hugely successful opening weekend.

More than 350 people attended the VIP event, and in excess of 1,000 people visited over the course of the weekend to enjoy all-day food and experience the resident promotions – Friday Fever and Vanity – on Friday and Saturday.

Operations Director for The Bar Leisure Group, Budh Sidhho said: “We chose Wolverhampton because we thought it was ready for an exciting new venue and we were right –We are absolutely delighted with the response we’ve had to the venue – we’ve had excellent feedback and the place was buzzing.

“The interest started immediately on Friday morning when we opened to the public, with people popping in for breakfast, and we had a great stream throughout the weekend of people visiting to check it out and enjoy lunch, snacks and drinks.

“We’re told that the balance is just right – we’ve a great range of good quality food at a sensible price. Not only does that appeal to the workers in the city who want somewhere new with a good choice of dishes, but it’s proving a particular hit with students, who want nutritious, good food at a price they can afford,” he added.

The menu comprises of a range of meals, from sausage and mash, rotisserie chicken, eleven kinds of pie and a range of salads, sandwiches and wraps, as well as breakfast being served from 8am from 99p.

This week is expected to be just as popular, as this Thursday will see Galaxy’s Dan Kelly launch The Weekend Begins at Indi Bar.

Dan Kelly said: “Over the past two years, The Weekend Begins has been the busiest weekly Thursday party in Birmingham, and I'm now looking forward to hosting and DJing at the event here in Wolverhampton. With our music policy of a combination of party-fuelled house, RnB, hip hop and classics, teamed with great drinks promos we are looking to vitalise Thursday nights in the city,” he added.

The Weekend Begins will run from 9pm-3.30am every Thursday, and admission will be free before 10pm.

The full extent of the £3.5 million invested into Indi Bar will not be revealed until Spring 2011, when the five-storey building comprising of a night club, members’ bar, lounge bar, restaurant and cafĂ© bar, as well as a number of private-hire areas, will open.

FESTIVE EXPERIENCES AT A STATELY HOME

Being treated like the Lord of the Manor with a team of servicing staff at hand may just be a dream for most but a Midlands stately home is making it a reality as it unwraps its stately festive experiences.

The former home to the Earls of Bradford, Weston Park, is providing the complete distinguished experience with fine dining, classical music and opulent accommodation as an alternative to pre-Christmas breaks and parties.

Traditionally only available on a private hire basis, Weston Park on the Staffordshire / Shropshire border is extending its welcome with a limited number of Christmas dining events.

The Weston by Candlelight, three-course fare and the Traditional Christmas Dining, four-course dinner are prepared by an award winning chef and served in the historic Dining Room surrounded by originals art works by Van Dyck and Lely.

The house butler and his brigade tend to the guests’ every need with overnight accommodation in the traditional 17th century bedrooms with the chance to explore the Capability Brown Parkland the following morning, enhancing the stately experience.

The Weston by Candlelight experience costs £65 per person and the Traditional Christmas Dining evening costs £75 per person. Accommodation prices start at £160 per room.

For further information on Weston Park’s Christmas availability and costs visit www.weston-park.com or call 019052 852 100.

For further information please contact Sue Foster at Connect PR on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

AMTICO INTERNATIONAL GETS TO GRIPS WITH VINYL FLOORING

Amtico International has introduced its latest design-led flooring innovation offering commercial applications an enhanced slip resistance performance.

The Amtico Assura range, which meets global R10 safety standard, features a modified wear layer containing engineered ceramic particles that achieve a slip resistance value (SRV) of >361.

The improved slip resistance of Amtico Assura over standard luxury vinyl tile flooring is particularly suited to the hospitality, healthcare, retail and office environments which may experience liquid spillages but do not require heavy duty safety flooring.

The range combines 26 of Amtico’s best selling products from its Wood, Stone and Abstract collection allowing designers and specifiers the opportunity to create traditional, contemporary and inspiring floor designs.


Speaking of this latest product development Sian Lewis, UK marketing manager at Amtico International, said: “This exciting development is in response to customer demand and was driven by safety legislation.

“The range combines the aesthetic designs Amtico is famous for with the latest in technical performance including a 15 year commercial warranty against wear out for added peace of mind.”

For further information, please contact Sue Foster or Lizzie Furnell on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com / lizzie@connect-group.com.

Notes
The SRV of >36 was achieved when tested in wet conditions with a ‘pendulum’ according to the Guidelines in the UK Slip Resistance Group.

AMTICO REPLICATES A TRADITIONAL FINISH


When the University of Greenwich required a robust floor, in keeping with the period style of some of its buildings, it turned to Amtico International for an authentic wood finish.

The university campus at Avery Hill, located in a 86-acre park in Eltham, combines the style and grace of a listed Victorian mansion with the best of modern teaching, living and sporting facilities.

Amtico’s English Oak was selected for the refurbishment of the student common room area. The 120-metre square project saw the removal of carpet for a more durable and hard wearing floor that reduced maintenance costs and echoed the era of the 19th century building.

The Amtico floor was laid in a Herringbone Pleat format complementing the building’s existing interior wood paneling.

Enhancing the students’ environment with a more durable covering was an essential requirement in the floor refurbishment project as the University’s Head of Campus Services, Lee Devlin, explained:

“We required a floor that could withstand the high volume of traffic that the common room receives.”

“As the area houses refreshment facilities, the carpet had become completely impractical. Cleaning was an issue as the marks and stains were becoming increasing difficult to remove.”

“When we came across Amtico, we saw that the range was very flexible and could comfortably cater for all our needs. Cleaning has been reduced and the flooring looks as good as the day it was installed.”

Sian Lewis, UK Marketing Manager at Amtico International, said: “Our comprehensive range can be installed in a range of configurations from a standard block formation through to a more complex pattern. We have 18 different design formats in addition to a custom design service where we work with the customer to create a bespoke design reflecting their business environment and needs.”

For further information, please contact Sue Foster on 01902 714957 or email
sue@connect-group.com.

REVOLUTIONARY UPONOR INVENTION IS FINGER CLICKING GOOD





Installing Uponor plumbing and heating systems has been made immeasurably easier for tradesmen, after a revolutionary online troubleshooting tool was invented by the brand.

For the first time, hundreds of answers to commonly asked questions are given for plumbers and installers to access direct from their smart phone, palm devises or internet enabled mobile phones.

It means that the days of thumbing through manuals or calling Uponor’s technical support team should be a thing of the past.

The website, www.uponoruk.mobi, can be accessed from most modern mobile phones and offers real time solutions for a number of queries, with over 72 pages of expertise documented on one site and increasing day by day.

Uponor’s technical support engineer John Ashford created the site from scratch and believes it will make installing Uponor underfloor heating and plumbing systems even more straightforward and trouble-free.

John said: “We have created a destination to store all of Uponor’s technical information, which is available at the tip of your finger.

“With Uponor’s technical information accessible to everyone through this application, we will alleviate the inconvenience for tradesmen of having to make phone calls for what are usually straightforward queries.

“Using yesterday’s experience with today’s technology, we will take Uponor into tomorrow’s world with this technology, which is an industry first.”

John said that the website would continue to evolve as more tradesmen used it and would offer bespoke tips and guidance as feedback is received.

“This concept is limitless and will evolve into however far the imagination takes it. There are illustrations and step-by-step guides and we feel that it will literally help all of us.”

For more information about Uponor’s new internet problem solving site, click on www.uponoruk.mobi

ENDS

Uponor is a leading supplier of plumbing and indoor climate systems for the residential and commercial building markets across Europe and North America and a market leader in municipal infrastructure pipe systems in the Nordic countries. Uponor's key applications include heating and cooling solutions and tap water systems. The Group employs ca 3,300 persons in 30 countries. In 2009, Uponor's net sales totalled 730 million euros. Uponor Corporation is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd., Finland. http://www.uponor.com

ROBINSONS VAN CENTRE GETS DISABLED DRIVERS ON THE ROAD

A Norwich van centre is helping more disabled people get into the driving seat after introducing its Motability service.

Robinsons Van Centre now has two dedicated two Motability experts in response to customer feedback and has undergone a series of inspections to achieve the Motability Scheme accreditation.

Motability customers can feel confident that an expert is always on hand to provide advice on who is eligible for the scheme and how to apply, as well as details on the full range of Volkswagen commercial vehicles available.

The Mobility scheme – run by not-for-profit organisation Motability – enables disabled people to use the government mobility allowance to buy a new vehicle at an affordable price, as well as have any necessary adaptations made.

David Marjoram, sales manager at the Robinsons van Center, strongly believes in providing a comprehensive service for his customers. He said: “We are continually looking at ways in which to improve our services for our customers.

“The Caravelle and Caddy Maxi Life provide the additional space, comfort and the practicability for conversions, making them suitable for motability customers.

“We hope our increased expertise will make it as easy as possible for people who are entitled to the allowance to make use of the Motability scheme.”

Anyone receiving the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance or the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement is eligible for the scheme.

For more information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

SPONSORSHIP BOOST FOR YOUTH FOOTBALL TEAM


A Ipswich under 16s football team has kicked off the season in a brand new kit thanks to Wolsey Van Centre.

The Achilles under 16s team competes in the Ipswich and Suffolk Youth Football League and has secured the corporate sponsorship for a second season.

Wolsey Van Centre on Sproughton Road has provided the15-strong squad with its entire kit including shirts, shorts and socks.

Speaking of the new kits, team manager, Glenn Morgan said: “We are very grateful to Wolsey for their continual support.

“The new kit certainty helps to the make the team look and feel very professional.”

Wolsey Van Centre, head of business, David Nichols added: “The local community is very important to us and we will continue to show our support where we can.

“We would like to wish the team the very best of luck for the season.”

For more information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or email sue@connect-group.com.



Friday, 5 November 2010

New Chair for West Midlands Resolution


Philip Barnsley, a leading family solicitor in the region has been elected as the new chairman of the West Midlands group of Resolution, the body which promotes a non-confrontational and constructive approach to resolving family disputes.

Philip, from Higgs & Sons in Brierley Hill has been qualified as a family lawyer for 11 years and has been actively involved with Resolution, which represents almost 250 family lawyers in the West Midlands, since 2008.

“Resolution plays a central role both locally and nationally in promoting the benefits of taking a positive approach to resolving family disputes, as well as campaigning for improvements to family law,” said Philip.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen by other family lawyers in the West Midlands to chair the regional group and look forward to working with members in the region to promote Resolution’s distinctive and valuable approach to family breakdown.”

Philip was recently commended in the Chambers & Partners Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2011 as a leading individual and was praised for his ability to communicate effectively with his clients.

Philip takes over as chairman from Birmingham-based Zahra Pabani, who was chair of the West Midlands region for five years. Zahra has stepped down in order to stand for election to the national committee of Resolution, which represents 5,500 lawyers nationally.

Zahra added: “I am delighted that Philip has been elected and feel that he, along with the strong regional committee, will take Resolution in the West Midlands from strength to strength. As one of the largest and most active regional committees in the UK, the West Midlands has an important role to play in developing the practice of family law.”

CHELMSFORD SALES TEAM’S MOVEMBER CHARITY CHALLENGE

A Chelmsford sales team is hoping to raise over £1,000 for charity by taking part in the now traditional ‘Movember moustache challenge’.

Led by sales manager, Stuart Lund, nineteen staff at Inchcape Volkswagen will not shave their upper lips during November, with all money donated going to the Prostate Cancer charity.

Two female staff will join in by wearing false moustaches during the month.
Stuart said: “Prostate cancer is something everyone is aware of and Movember is a fun way of raising money for a fantastic cause.

“It’s fantastic that so many staff are taking part and we’re hoping everyone has some growth to show at the end of the month.

“We’re encouraging customers to get involved and hope to not only reach our target, but smash it.”

To help the Volkswagen team reach their target simply go to http://uk.movember.com/mospace/762754

Thursday, 4 November 2010

BETS PAY OFF IN £1M FLEET DEAL

A Lancashire retailer is celebrating one its biggest account wins this year, after linking with a Wigan-based national betting company.

Totepool, a unique betting service provider synonymous with horseracing, has instructed Preston-based Volkswagen Van Centre (Lancashire) to supply its whole fleet of 50 commercial vehicles over the next three years.
An initial order of nine Crafter and Transporter vans has just been delivered, worth approximately £180,000. The fleet will consist mainly of Crafters with a number of Transporters and Caddy Maxi vehicles.

Diane Foster, the Tote’s fleet manager, said: “As the Tote covers the whole of the UK the vans are vital to transport equipment between racecourses throughout the year.

“The service we experienced from Volkswagen Van Centre (Lancashire) was superb and the vans will fit perfectly to our requirements thanks to the efforts of
their fleet account executive Tony Moore.

“The Volkswagen brand speaks excellence and as the Tote already operates a completely Volkswagen job-need car fleet it was an easy decision to make when choosing our new commercial vehicle fleet supplier.”

Paul Hoinville, head of business at Volkswagen Van Centre (Lancashire), said: “This is a fantastic account win for the company and provides evidence of our commitment to our fleet customers.

“We look forward to providing the Tote with their fleet of Volkswagen commercial vehicles.”

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

YOUNGSTERS GIVEN £40,000 CHANCE TO SHINE

Two Cheshire youngsters have been given the opportunity of a lifetime after winning apprenticeships at a Crewe car retailer.

Tom Chadwick (16) from Willaston and Ashley Jones (18) from Nantwich are embarking on a three-year apprenticeship with Crewe Volkswagen after qualifying from an initial 12-month assessment programme.

Over the next three years Crewe Volkswagen will invest nearly £80,000 to train Tom and Ashley through to technician status.
Tom has been involved in car mechanics for many years and is a successful National Autograss racing driver, maintaining and servicing his own car.

He said: “I love all types of vehicles and this is the only job I have ever wanted to do. I am passionate about the Volkswagen brand and I want to go as far in my career as I can.

“I am over the moon to I be given this opportunity and very grateful to Crewe Volkswagen for giving me this chance.”

Ashley, who is equally enthusiastic about the next three years, said: “To be selected to join a prestigious apprenticeship programme is simply brilliant.

“I know it will be hard work, but I’m looking forward to learning from the experienced technicians at the retailer.”

Crewe Volkswagen’s service manager, Scott Cunningham, said: “Tom and Ashley’s passion for cars was one of the main reasons why they’ve been given these places on the apprenticeship programme.

“I’m confident they will come through the three years with flying colours.”

HORSHAM ANNOUNCED AS SECOND LOCATION FOR GOODYEAR PETROL GIVEAWAY


Tyre giant announces Horsham as second location for its EfficientGrip fuel campaign.

A nationwide campaign by tyre leader Goodyear to promote its environmentally friendly EfficientGrip tyres will come to Horsham on Saturday.

Goodyear is teaming up with Texaco on Brighton Road in Mannings Heath, Horsham, to give motorists a £20 fill up on Saturday 6 November. The free £20 top up of unleaded or diesel fuel will be available from 10am to 2pm or until stocks run out.

The campaign launched this week in Gateshead where over 700 motorists benefitted from £20 of free fuel.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “The campaign is designed to educate motorists on the benefits of fitting EfficientGrip tyres to their car. They can save financially as well as helping the environment.

“Once fitted, our EfficientGrip tyres could be saving motorists as much as 1 litre of fuel in every tank – this is because the tyre uses a new generation of tread compound, which reduces the amount of energy needed to make the tyre roll. This lower rolling resistance causes a lower rate of fuel consumption, reducing the C02 emissions a car emits.”

Goodyear’s generosity does not end at the pump in Horsham. A £10 Sainsbury’s fuel voucher will also be given to customers for every EfficientGrip tyre they purchase at a participating HiQ outlet in the region or via www.hiqonline.co.uk.

Along with improving fuel efficiency, the tyre offers high-mileage, good wet braking performance, resistance to aquaplaning and a noticeably quiet ride.

Horsham is one of five petrol giveaway locations across England. The final three will be announced in the coming days with plenty of opportunity for the whole of the country to benefit from the free fuel giveaway.

For further information about the campaign visit www.goodyear.co.uk

ENDS

Notes to journalists

News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR. For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 959/07971 465739 or email lee@connect-group.com.

A senior team of Goodyear personnel will be available on the day. Press are invited to the Texaco station on Saturday 6 November. Please call Lee on 07974 230690 if you would like to attend or would like to send a photographer/crew.