Wednesday 21 December 2011

Persimmon Homes signs agreement to build 1,985 affordable homes

21 December, 2011


One of the UK’s leading housebuilders has secured funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to build 1,985 affordable homes across England over the next three years.

Persimmon Homes has been awarded funding of £20.64 million to build the homes as part of the Government’s National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP).

Persimmon Homes is the first major housebuilder to be awarded the funding, which is designed to increase the supply of affordable homes in England.

Dr Ashley Lane, group partnerships director for Persimmon Homes, said the funding was great news for both the business and local communities across England. “Construction will begin in 2012 and we are currently evaluating a number of schemes throughout England.

“Our objective is to engage with local authorities and housing associations to deliver low cost homes for both shared ownership and social rent.”

To find out more about Persimmon Homes visit

Released on behalf of Persimmon Homes by Hazel Crawford-Upton. Telephone 01902 714957/07974 230690. Email

Monday 19 December 2011

Kings Lynn Volkswagen boosts its senior management team

A Kings Lynn business has boosted its senior management by appointing a new motoring expert to lead its team.

Graham Mitchell will head up Kings Lynn Volkswagen’s sales team bringing with him over a decade of brand experience.

The 32-year-old, who has moved to the area for family reasons, intends to focus on strengthening the level of customer service and provide the most affordable solution to meet motorists’ needs.

Graham will lead the team of three and could be looking at recruiting an additional team member early next year as the business continues to grow.

The former office based sales manager transferred to the automotive sector after realising he preferred face-to-face contact with customers.

Having worked at a range of Volkswagen sites across the country, with the last six years been in managerial roles, Graham is confident that the Volkswagen customer approach matches his own.

He said: “I am delighted to have joined the Bergen Way Volkswagen team and have instantly been made to feel welcome.

“I have always loved working with the Volkswagen brand, the reliability, quality and unbelievable value is second to none, I just wouldn’t be happy working with a product I did not feel passionate about.

“My first task is getting to know staff and customers and focus on customer service procedures.

“I am looking forward to taking the Kings Lynn Volkswagen team to new successes.”

Austin Seales, Kings Lynn Volkswagen’s brand manager, said: “Graham’s experience and passion is a valuable addition to the team.

“We believe he will make a significant impact with customers during this challenging time in the automotive industry.”

For further information please contact Sue Foster at Connect PR on 01902 714957.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Essex business prepares for fun in the snow

A Chelmsford business is preparing for the impending winter snow by offering thrill seekers an alternative to the traditional sledges.

As the cold weather starts to grip the country Inchcape Volkswagen has fifty sledges in the shape of the iconic Beetle car.

Each sledge comes decorated with livery from the famous Volkswagen Beetle, Herbie.
Darren Thompson, Inchcape Volkswagen’s brand manager, said: “In recent years the amount of snow has increased and people are quick to take advantage of the white stuff.

“But many people can miss out on fun as demand for sledges often outstrips available stock.
“We’re hoping to provide another outlet for people to have fun on the snow, but using a unique sledge.”

The sledges are now available from Inchcape Volkswagen on Westway and come with a free t-shirt for every sledge sold.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Twickenham business receives government training boost

A Twickenham business has introduced a new government-funded apprentice training programme aimed at strengthening its customer service.

Twickenham Volkswagen, in association with the Learning Skills Partnership, has launched a course to introduce new talent into the automotive industry and enhance its offering.

Mikkia Glean-Lewis, from Strawberry Hill, accepted the new customer host role and will begin a six month intensive training programme, resulting in a NVQ Level 2 customer service qualification.

The 18-year-old successfully completed an assessment day which included group exercises and an individual presentation in front of a panel of Inchcape managers and representatives from the Learning Skills Partnership, in addition to a one-to-one interview.

Speaking of her appointment, Mikkia, added: “I had recently completed a business finance administration course at college and decided an apprenticeship would be the ideally opportunity to start building my business skills.

“The interview process was very nerve wracking but I am delighted to have secured the position.

“I’m looking at increasing my product knowledge and help provide customers with the highest level of service.”

The dedicated role was launched following customer feedback. The training programme covers all customer facing skills including body language and problem solving plus in-depth product knowledge.

Volkswagen passenger cars is carrying out a pilot scheme with the Learning Skills Partnership across a number of sites in the UK as course co-ordinator, Lee Wilks explains.

He said: “The on-going pilot scheme has shown promise and will be fully assessed in the near future. We hope the government-funded programme will continue and introduce further customer host roles across the Volkswagen network.”

Twickenham Volkswagen’s brand manager, Mark Foulston, said: “This new role is not about selling its more about being the first point of contact for customers, ensuring their experience is dealt with efficiently and effectively.

“This role is introducing new blood into the industry and therefore a clear training framework will help nurture and develop Mikkia’s skills; after all she could be one of our future managers.”

Friday 9 December 2011

Stourbridge business rewards loyal customer

A Stourbridge company has launched a new initiative to promote its customer loyalty scheme.

Stourbridge Volkswagen, part of Trust Group UK, trialled the use of SMS messages for the first time to ask customers to sign up for its free-to-join scheme which gives customers a range of complimentary services such as free MOT tests for life and monthly complimentary deluxe service washes.

The trial provided automatic entry for all those who signed up into a free prize draw and proved to be incredibly successful, with nearly 200 responses received.

Gillian Hull, from Stourbridge, was picked as the lucky recipient of a Christmas hamper worth £250 by simply joining the Stourbridge Volkswagen customer loyalty scheme.

Andrew Hockedy, managing director of Trust Group UK, said: “It’s all about giving something back.

“We value each and every one of our customers and we wanted to promote our ‘Rewards Loyal Customers’ scheme which offers extra benefits for loyal customers.”

Gillian is delighted to have been selected as the winner of the prize draw.

She said: “The hamper is a fantastic early Christmas present.

“I joined the scheme because loyalty is something I believe in. The extra benefits are fantastic and as the scheme is free to join I had no hesitation in signing up.”

For further information on the customer loyalty scheme please contact your closest retailer, Wolverhampton Volkswagen on 01902 454602, Stourbridge Volkswagen on 01384 397600 or Redditch Volkswagen on 01527 883300 and ask for Claire Walker, customer services manager.

Thursday 8 December 2011

South Wales business appoints two new brand managers

A South Wales business has appointed two of the region’s most experienced automotive managers.

Volkswagen retailer, Sinclair has appointed Clive Hopkins and Tim Gowling to lead their Commercial Vehicle businesses in Swansea and Cardiff.

Clive will bring 35 years of automotive knowledge to the van centre on Gorseinon Road, Swansea, while Tim who has spent 16 years at Sinclair Volkswagen Port Talbot will take over as the head of the Van Centre in Cardiff.

Clive and Tim will be responsible for strengthening the Volkswagen brand and establishing new and maintaining existing relationships with businesses and van drivers in and around South Wales.

Speaking about the new role, Tim said “I’m delighted to be taking this role and look forward to continuing the high quality of customer service”.

“Sinclair Volkswagen’s friendly, professional and dedicated work force will make it an enjoyable working environment.

“My challenge is to expand the business and strengthen our reputation in the local area and it is one that I’m looking forward to progressing.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Aberdeen teenager given exclusive apprenticeship

A young car enthusiast from Aberdeen has embarked on a three-year training course with the aim of becoming the best in the business.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan Horne has been accepted by Volkswagen car retailer, Specialist Cars in Aberdeen to be the latest recruit on the company’s parts apprenticeship scheme

Over the next three years Specialist Cars will invest nearly £40,000 to train Nathan to become a parts advisor.

Nathan started after finishing his GCSE’s at Harlaw Academy in Aberdeen. His ambition to work in the automotive industry was evident in his interview which secured him the apprenticeship.

Nathan said: “I love all types of vehicles and this is my dream job. 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 be given this opportunity and very grateful to Specialist Cars for giving me this chance.

“I am determined to show everyone how much this apprenticeship means to me.”

Specialist Cars’ aftersales manager, Scott Brunton, said: “Nathan’s enthusiasm was one of the main reasons why he secured this place on the apprenticeship programme.

“We are confident he will come through the three years with flying colours.”

Volkswagen bring vans to Bridgwater

A south west automotive group has expanded its services for van drivers in the region.

Taunton Van Centre, with all its team, has invested £100,000 in relocating to a new larger state-of-the-art site in Bridgwater to help strengthen its customer service.

The owners, Silver Street Automotive, has redeveloped a disused unit next to its existing car site on Bristol Road to house the growing commercial vehicle range.

The new premises, which will be named Bridgwater Van Centre, will feature three dedicated workshop and MOT bays, a five vehicle showroom plus an extensive forecourt display.

Graeme Panton, operations director at Silver Street Automotive, said: “The relocation provides the ideal platform to showcase the growing Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle range. Its prominent location, close to the M5, will also provide easy access for van drivers.

“The new larger site will enable Silver Street Automotive to grow its commercial vehicle expertise in the area and provide a greater opportunity to expand its team in the future.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming both new and existing customers of the brand through the door,” concluded Graeme.

For further information on the Volkswagen range, servicing or repairs at Bridgwater Van Centre, call 0844 8464028.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Ipswich business receives a £75,000 boost

An award-winning Ipswich business is investing £75,000 to improve its facilities for customers.

Wolsey Van Centre, which was awarded the 2010 Most Valued Volkswagen Van Centre Gold Award by the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle brand, will undergo the refurbishment programme during December and January.

The showroom will be expanded to 350 square metres, allowing customers to view a wider range of vehicles. Customers will also benefit from improved refreshment facilities and extending opening hours, as Wolsey Van Centre head of business, David Nichols explains.

“We understand that most of our customers operate vans to support their businesses and time is very valuable to them. So for this reason we are improving our facilities to meet their needs both in sales and servicing.

“The van centre will remain open throughout the refurbishment and we expect the work to be completed by February.

“We continually strive to provide the best customer service which is evident in our award which was received for exceptional business performance and customer service.

“Coupled with the fact that Volkswagen was recently named at the most reliable van brand according to a reliability survey by Fleet News we believe the refurbishment will provide an ideal showcase for the increasing Volkswagen range.”

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Persimmon Homes welcomes Chancellor's autumn statement on new homes

Persimmon Homes today welcomed news in Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement that the Government is determined to deliver new homes for families that need them; ownership for families that inspire to own them and new jobs in the construction industry.

Steve Roche, group communications director, Persimmon Homes, said of the statement: “The Get Britain Building Fund, announced last week, but reinforced again in today’s Autumn Statement, will help both the industry and house buyers alike.

“This initiative, along with last week’s announcement of the Government and industry-backed mortgage indemnity scheme, will enable mortgage lenders to offer 95 per cent loans on new build homes, dramatically reducing the deposits people have to save.

“The news to support new developments which could include modern garden cities, urban and village extensions is also of interest to us. We now await further information about the Government’s invitation for proposals from developers and local authorities for new developments that have clear local support.”

Law firm expands communications operation

A leading West Midlands law firm is expanding its communications operation by appointing a new marketing manager.

Higgs & Sons, which was named Law Firm of the Year for 2011 by the Birmingham Law Society, has hired 26-year-old Anna Moreton to support the communications strategy for the firm.

Speaking of her appointment, Anna said: “I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to work for Higgs. My appointment is part of a larger plan to further improve methods of communication with our clients, so that we’ll be able to deliver even higher standards of service in the future.”

After studying design at Wolverhampton University, Anna took on an Open University degree course in business and a business advisory and marketing role at Business Link. Since then, Anna has worked in marketing for Homeserve Limited and Eversheds solicitors LLP.

Anna concluded: “I’m very much looking forward to being part of a successful team here at Higgs and contributing to the firm’s long-term success.”

Managing partner, Paul Hunt said: “Anna’s appointment will support us as we continue to grow. 2011 has been a fantastic year for the firm and we are pleased that Anna is joining us at this exciting time.”

To find out more about Higgs, visit

Monday 28 November 2011

Van centre pledge to ‘BOB’ air ambulance

A Milton Keynes business has pledged to raise thousands of pounds before Christmas for the region’s air ambulance service.

Wayside Volkswagen Van Centre is donating £10 for every test drive taken from now until the end of the year, with all proceeds going to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.

More affectionately referred to as ‘BOB’, the air ambulance service covers the three counties of Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

As the local service for Milton Keynes residents, the air ambulance completes on average one mission a week in the area.

The Volkswagen business has committed to a minimum donation of £1,000 but is expecting demand for its new test drive service to generate even more funds.

Wayside Volkswagen Van Centre fleet sales manager, Paul Robertson, said: “You just never know when you may require the air ambulance and to know that there is a team of experts on hand who may just save you or your loved ones’ life, is very reassuring.”

The charity run service has to raise £2.8 million a year to enable the air ambulance to keep flying. It presently completes on average three missions a day costing £2,000 for each flight.

Paul, added: “To help raise as much as possible for ‘BOB’, we have launched a new test drive programme where we take the vehicles direct to the businesses, removing the need for the customers travelling to us.”

Air Ambulance fundraising manager for Milton Keynes, Laura Nicholas, said: “We are completely reliant on the support of businesses like Wayside Volkswagen Van Centre to ensure our ongoing service so certainly hope that many van operators take advantage of the test drive programme.”

The ‘BOB’ air ambulance service is in its 11th year of operation and is continually raising funds to help increase its flying hours and to strengthen its service for the region.

The response team consists of two pilots and 16 paramedics, who also work for the land ambulance service on a shift basis. In addition the air ambulance has five volunteer doctors. To support the ‘BOB’ Air Ambulance visit

To test drive a Volkswagen Caddy, Transporter, Crafter or Amarok and help raise funds for ‘BOB’, call Wayside Volkswagen Van centre on 01908 366 300 or visit

Thursday 24 November 2011

Stourbridge teenager given exclusive apprenticeship

A young car enthusiast from Kingswinford has embarked on a three-year training course with the aim of becoming the best in the business.

Matthew Garbutt has been accepted by Stourbridge Volkswagen, part of Trust Group UK, to be the latest recruit on the company’s technician apprenticeship scheme.

Over the next three years Stourbridge Volkswagen will invest nearly £40,000 to train Matthew through to technician status.

The 17-year old joined straight from leaving Stourbridge College where he studied motor vehicles, and is looking forward to achieving his ambition of working in the automotive industry for a highly regarded brand.

Speaking of his new role Matthew, said: “I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity and very grateful to Stourbridge Volkswagen for giving me this chance.

“It has always been my goal to become a technician. I am looking forward to gaining hands on experience and working alongside the team of highly trained technicians at Stourbridge, learning from their wealth of experience.

“I am very pleased to be working for the Volkswagen brand and after completing the apprenticeship hope to develop a career in the motor industry.”

Stourbridge Volkswagen service manager, Paul Robinson, said: “In the current economic climate, it’s important that local businesses give youngsters the opportunity to learn and develop a career.

“Matthew’s passion for cars was one of the main reasons why he’s been given this place on the apprenticeship programme.

“He may only be 17, but we are confident Matthew will come through the next three years with flying colours.”


Cheaper motoring is now more accessible in Stratford-upon-Avon, thanks to increased availability of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) from Autogas.

The cleaner burning automotive fuel can dramatically reduce fuel costs by up to 40 per cent and to highlight its availability at Shell Bridgetown, Shipston Road, Autogas will be holding an awareness day on the forecourt on Friday 2 December from 12 noon until 4pm.

Mr Nadhim Zahawi MP will officially mark the availability of LPG in the region by attending the awareness day and motorists will also be able to take advantage of a promotional offer and discount on the price of LPG.

Experts from Autogas and a local UKLPG approved conversion specialist will be giving motorists advice on LPG vehicles and how to switch and save. 

As the UK’s leading LPG supplier, Autogas, has pledged to open more LPG refuelling sites across the UK and has identified Stratford-upon-Avon as a key site for increasing nationwide availability.

The company’s business development manager, Paul Oxford explains:  “At a time of ever increasing petrol and diesel prices, LPG cannot be ignored as an alternative. It currently retails at an average price of 74.5 pence per litre, compared to 133.4 ppl for petrol and 141.3 ppl for diesel*.”

Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or LPG, has an established and easily accessible refuelling network and is available from 1,400 public refuelling points up and down the country; with the majority of Autogas Limited LPG refuelling sites being located on Shell forecourts on motorways, major trunk roads and in major conurbations, allowing drivers to benefit from all the normal forecourt facilities including fuel card payments.”

Paul Oxford adds: “What drivers really like is the fact that it’s the same as driving a petrol car with no compromise on vehicle range and performance. With over a third of Shell owned UK forecourts now retailing autogas drivers don’t have to go out of their way to refuel. In fact to make life easier we provide a free to download sat-nav site locator on our website’’

For more information, visit the Shell Bridgetown forecourt on Shipston Road on Friday 2nd December from 12 noon until 4pm to receive one to one advice on switching to LPG. Alternatively, visit or call 0800 077 8591.


* Prices taken from, 22 November 2011

Monday 21 November 2011


British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race ace, Tom Onslow-Cole, will be star of the show next week as Autogas Limited marks the availability of LPG at Hopwood Services. Visitors to the event will be in with the chance of winning two VIP tickets for a BTCC race meeting during the 2012 season.

Representatives from Autogas, the UK’s leading Liquefied Petroleum gas (LPG) supplier, will be hosting the event at Hopwood Services from 10am to 2pm on Saturday 26th November.

Tom, who has recently converted his Range Rover Sport to run on LPG, will join the team from 10 am -12 noon giving away Autogas merchandise to visitors to the event. Motorists filling up with LPG on the forecourt during the event will benefit from a £5 fuel voucher for LPG purchases over 35 litres.

Commenting on the event Autogas general manager, Jem Aldridge, says “Fuel prices are hot on the agenda at the moment and motorists are looking for ways to save money on their fuel and motoring costs.

“Every penny counts and Autogas LPG offers a significant saving without the compromises and anxiety associated with other ‘alternative’ fuel types. In fact, it can help motorists cut fuel costs by up to 40 per cent.”

The company’s Business Development Manager, Paul Oxford adds: “At a time of ever increasing petrol and diesel prices, LPG cannot be ignored as an alternative. It currently retails at an average price of 73.9 pence per litre, compared to 133.7 ppl for petrol and 140.9 ppl for diesel*.”

Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or LPG, has an established and easily accessible refuelling network and is available from 1,400 public refuelling points up and down the country including eight sites in the West Midlands; with the majority of Autogas Limited LPG refuelling sites being located on Shell forecourts on motorways and major trunk roads, allowing drivers to benefit from all the normal forecourt facilities including fuel card payments.

Paul Oxford adds: “What drivers really like is the fact that it’s the same as driving a petrol car with no compromise on vehicle range and performance. With over 10% of UK forecourts now retailing autogas drivers don’t have to go out of their way to refuel. In fact to make life easier we provide a free to download satnav site locator on our website’’


* Prices taken from, 15 November 2011

Issued on behalf of Autogas by Connect PR

For further information, please contact Kathy Hodson

Connect PR, The Chubb Building, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT

Tel: 01902 714957 / 07890 381725


Thursday 17 November 2011


Yale and its dealer representative for Russia, Universal Spetstechnica LLC (UST), invited six key account customer representatives to the Masate Warehouse Manufacturing facility as part of a Major accounts initiative in Russia.

The customers, from Moscow, Nevinnomyssk and Nizhny Novgorod in Russia, are all in the process of expanding their operations and purchasing new equipment for their materials handling fleets.

Russia and CIS Yale Territory Manager, Sergey Vasiliev, and Joel Joa, Yale Warehouse Equipment Sales Manager, hosted the customers and representatives from UST. Sergey said, "Russia is currently seeing an increase in demand for materials handling equipment as companies within the country continue to innovate and expand.

“During their two-day visit, our customers took part in an extensive tour of the manufacturing facility at Masate, observed a demonstration of the latest electric counterbalance and warehouse products, as and had the opportunity to talk with the warehouse equipment designers and product managers”. CIS Yale Territory Manager, Sergey Vasiliev, and Joel Joa, Yale Warehouse Equipment Sales Manager, hosted the customers and representatives from UST. Sergey said, "Russia is currently seeing an increase in demand for materials handling equipment as companies within the country continue to innovate and expand.

Joel Joa commented, "The feedback was extremely positive. Many of the visitors were impressed with the product range manufactured in Masate and also the scale of the facility.

“This was the first time that that these potential customers had visited one of the production facilities where Yale products are manufactured. The visit gave them great insight into the investment being made in manufacturing in Europe by Yale’s parent company, as well as the ergonomic and productivity benefits of the products."

Sergey added, "The trip was a huge success and as a result our dealer has been able to strengthen its relationship with these customers. We will definitely be repeating this type of activity in the future, as it gives us the opportunity to show our customers the strength and scale of the organisation behind the Yale brand, which is of major importance when dealing with such large customers.”

For further information on Yale, its products or to find your nearest dealer log on to

About Yale Europe Materials Handling

Yale Europe Materials Handling markets an extensive range of materials handling equipment and services, including electric, LP-gas and diesel powered forklift trucks, pallet trucks, stackers, order pickers, reach trucks and very narrow aisle trucks. Yale offers comprehensive Fleet Management services, as well as Yale service, parts, financing and training. Yale® trucks are manufactured in ISO 9001:2008 registered facilities and range in capacity from 1.0 to 16 tonnes. For more information, or to find the Yale® lift truck dealer nearest you, visit

Yale Europe Materials Handling is the trading name of NACCO Materials Handling Limited, a Division of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc., (NMHG), which employs approximately 5,000 people worldwide. NMHG is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of NACCO Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NC).

is a registered trademark of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc.

Wednesday 16 November 2011


A Macclesfield charity has been boosted following its annual fundraising ball at The Tytherington Club.

JJ’s Sensory Play Centre’s fifth annual charity ball, sponsored again by Gilbert Lawton Volkswagen, generated over £7,000 for the South Cheshire children’s charity.

JJ’s, which relies entirely on donations, is a soft padded multi-sensory facility that provides relaxation and stimulation for children and adults with special needs.

The money raised will go towards the annual costs of providing the centre, which co-founder Joanne Griffiths admits needs all the money it can get.

She said: “The charity ball has helped raise money which is vital to keep the charity going.

“It costs about £45,000 a year to run the charity and the annual ball is key to the centre remaining open.

“The continued success of the ball and the play centre isn’t possible without the support of local businesses, including Gilbert Lawton, and this is greatly appreciated by everyone at JJ’s.”

The centre is open six days a week and has over 200 people regular coming along to use the facilities.

It is primarily aimed at children and adults with learning disabilities, but is open for children under three who don’t come under those categories.

Further improvements are planned but Joanne knows without further investment the additional equipment will be put on hold.

She added: “As people spend less money on activities so we have seen a drop in revenue and while we understand the situation, it’s frustrating we can’t improve the current facilities for those who attend JJ’s.

“Ideally the centre needs about £10,000 for a new lighting system which would greatly improve the enjoyment and benefits to the children and adults.”

Nick Ashton, brand manager at Gilbert Lawton Macclesfield, said: “JJ’s provides a fantastic service to the local and regional community and we’re delighted to be able to continue our involvement in raising money and awareness of the charity for the third consecutive year.

“We are constantly looking at new ways of raising money for JJ’s and look forward to continuing to help in 2012.”

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Uponor on target at Grahams conference

It’s not every day that a group of branch and sale managers, procurement teams and senior management get the chance to down tools for a set of darts and a chance to beat a world champion.

But that’s exactly the scenario that delegates at the Graham national conference in Birmingham found themselves in last month, when they stepped to the oche to take on Mark Webster.

As sponsor of professional darts player Mark Webster since January this year, Uponor invited visitors to the stand to put their precision skills to the test in a direct competition with Mark himself.

Over 100 people took the challenge with many winning a set of Uponor branded darts for beating Mark's six-dart score with their own nine-dart total. The top scorer each hour was then invited back to play Mark in a traditional game of ‘501’.

Martin Nichols, branch manager at the Graham Plymouth branch, threw the top score of the first hour and played Mark in the professional match format. He finished on double 16 to win the game and walked away with a dart board signed by Mark.

Uponor regional Sales Manager Jeff Wyn Jones attended the exhibition, which he says was a huge success. “The feedback from the delegates at the show was very positive. Having the chance to play a former world champion was a real draw and many people came back for more at the end of the day.”

The Graham conference was organised to give branch managers and buyers the chance to meet suppliers and find out about new products. Organisers say the conference was an ideal time to reflect on the company’s proud 75 year history, celebrate with staff and suppliers alike, and look positively to the future.

In addition to the darts activity Uponor representatives at the show also introduced delegates to its new RTM professional plumbing system, underfloor heating solutions and its heat pump products.

Renewable energy was a focus of the exhibition and Uponor’s ‘bespoke system solutions’ offer complete packages for customers looking for more environmentally friendly options.

Jeff added: “A lot of companies sell heat pumps. What we do is to look at each individual project and offer more in terms of the finished solution. We will assess each project individually and see what is the best way forward. If heat pumps are suitable we can specify the right one together with the most appropriate underfloor heating package.”

For more information about Uponor click on


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.


Uponor has pledged its support for Movember, the national charity that raises funds for prostate and testicular cancer this month, in recognition of the involvement of its sponsored darts star, Mark Webster.

Plumbing specialist, Uponor will donate £200 to the Movember campaign to support the former plumber who is growing a moustache to support the charity. Fans will get to see the results as he takes to the stage, at the Grand Slam of Darts tournament in Wolverhampton from 12- 20th November, and which is broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Uponor’s Sonia Salisbury said: “We’re proud to back Mark and the Movember charity. The plumbing industry is very male orientated so we’re pleased to support a charity that raises awareness and treatment of men that could be working in our industry.”

Mark added: “Movember is a fantastic cause and I’m thrilled to be a part of it and that Uponor have sponsored me during the month.

“I’m probably going to look a bit silly at the tournament but if it raises funds and awareness for Movember, I’m happy to do it.”

To support Mark and his darts co

lleagues who are also taking part in the Movember campaign, you can make a donation at: .

And Uponor’s sponsored player Mark is going from strength to strength: Mark has just been announced as 6th in the world rankings, his highest ranking since joining the PDC in 2009.

Mark’s success is running parallel to Uponor’s new professional fitting system that took plumbing to new levels thanks to its ‘Tool Inside’ technology and high pressure joint system.

The RTM, or Ring Tension Memory, system eliminates the need for tools to make quick, safe and professional joints and is the latest major launch for the company which continues to produce industry-leading innovative plumbing solutions.

For more information about Uponor click on, email or call 01455 550355.


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.

Friday 11 November 2011

Hard work pays off for Wolverhampton service advisor

Three years of hard work has paid off for a Pendeford administrator after she qualified as a service advisor with Wolverhampton Volkswagen.

Laura Davis (24) joined the Bilston Road retailer in 2003 as a receptionist and soon progressed to an administrator within the servicing division before commencing her service advisor qualification.

Speaking of her qualification Laura said: “I’m delighted to have qualified after a very demanding three years.

“I pride myself on giving the best service possible. The qualification has given me the extra knowledge, experience and confidence to ensure customers’ needs are consistently met.”

Through the Volkswagen Training Academy Laura completed a series of both practical and written exams covering all aspects of customer satisfaction and product knowledge.

Her final assessment was an on-site role play in front of key Volkswagen representatives, which Laura passed with flying colours.

Wolverhampton Volkswagen brand manager, Andrew Hockedy, said: “We believe having knowledgeable staff is paramount to the success of our business.

“The course is designed to equip staff with the very best knowledge and we are delighted with Laura’s hard work and dedication. She thoroughly deserves the qualification.”

Thursday 10 November 2011


When a recent delivery of mail arrived at a West Cumbrian business one letter stood out from the rest.

As Walkingshaw Volkswagen staff looked through the delivery they noticed one of the envelopes had taken a while to reach the business.

For the letter was posted in 1993, meaning it had taken 18 years to reach its destination, even though it was sent from a company just 18 miles down the road in Calderbridge.

The letter was sent to Walkingshaw’s old address, but even more remarkable was the contents of the envelope; it contained a cheque for a payment on a car.

Andy Walkingshaw, brand manager at Walkingshaw Volkswagen, said: “We noticed the letter was unusual because it was in a plastic bag with a note from the Post Office offering apologies for the poor condition of the item.

“When we looked at the date stamp we realised just how long it had taken to reach us and were amazed.

“I don’t think the company that issued the cheque is still in existence, but anyway the delay would mean it could no longer be cashed. There must have been some amusing conversations back in 1993 along the lines of ‘the cheque’s in the post’.

“Although this was before my time and no-one here can remember the incident, I’m sure the money would have been paid eventually.

“We’ve been in business since 1968 and a Volkswagen franchise since 1985, but we’ve never had anything arrive this late before, post or otherwise.

“We moved to our new site at Lillyhall in 1999 so for the letter to reach us after so long is remarkable.”

The envelope and its contents have now been filed in the company’s archives but the incident is still providing a talking point for staff and customers alike.

Wednesday 9 November 2011


Four years of fundraising have paid off for a Yorkshire mountain rescue team after it took delivery of a brand new vehicle, full of the latest communication technology.

The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA) spent many years struggling with an old box trailer they towed to major incident scenes to use as a communications base.

But thanks to the fundraising effort, the team now has a brand new Incident Control vehicle packed with state-of-the-art equipment, from Cleckheaton-based Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire)

The vehicle (above) is a specially adapted short wheel base 4x4 Volkswagen Transporter with special off road tyres and front and rear swivel seats.

Mike Brown, transport officer, at the UWFRA, is delighted with the new vehicle and knows it will provide a vital link between members of the team and other emergency services.

He said: “The old trailer we used was 30 years old and just had a couple of radios inside and with no heating, it was pretty grim in winter!

“As it only had room for one person discussions with our controllers, the police and other key personnel had to done outside in all types of weather.

“We needed a four wheel drive vehicle, but it had to be compact enough to navigate the tracks and pass through the gateways found in the Dales.

“We took months to find the right one and then ensure it had all the equipment we needed along with the capability to navigate rough terrain. Volkswagen’s reputation for ruggedness, durability and reliability meant the Transporter was the perfect choice for us.

“Special thanks must go to everyone at Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) in Cleckheaton which has provided UWFRA with the ideal vehicle to use on rescues.

“It could potentially enable us to save lives, especially as we reach the colder months of the year with some of the harshest weather conditions.”

The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue team, based in Grassington, is the third oldest team in the country and consists of over 80 highly trained volunteers who are on call 365 days a year.

They are one of only three teams in the country who perform both surface and underground rescues - all three are in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mike added: “In 2010 the team attended a record 40 call outs and this year we’re already on course to go passed that total.

“It costs approximately £35,000 to run the team every year and the funds for the new vehicle were in addition to the normal annual costs.

“We cannot thank the local people enough for their generosity and in particular Mark Wheelwright from Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) who was really keen to be involved in our major project and gave great support in driving it through for us.

“We are all volunteers and while we’re willing to go out in all weather conditions on the fells or down caves if someone needs help, everyone has been boosted by the extra assistance the Volkswagen Transporter will provide.”

In addition to the latest technology the modified Volkswagen Transporter can carry four personnel and has a 40 foot electronic mast to aid communication.

Andrew Caygill, brand manager at Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire), said: “The members of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association risk their lives in sometimes terrible weather to help people in the Dales.

“We’re pleased to have been able to help facilitate this vehicle and hope it provides many years of service.”

Charity jump to raise hundreds for Children in Need

Players from Derby County Football Club are teaming up with a Mackworth business to help raise hundreds of pounds for this year’s Children in Need appeal.

Imperial Commercials, Derby’s dedicated Volkswagen commercial vehicle site, is inviting the members of the public to join its staff and Derby county players in a charity bungee jump fun day, taking place on Friday 18th November.

The Ashbourne Road van centre team will be plummeting 175 feet in a series of sponsored bungee jumps and welcomes visitors to take their own charity plunge to help raise funds for the annual children’s appeal.

The bungee jump will be erected in the Volkswagens forecourt and will take place between 10:30am and 4pm, refreshments will also be available.

The Derby County Football Club players will be available in the afternoon to greet fans and sign autographs.

Van drivers will also have the opportunity to get Derby County match day tickets as 20 pairs will be up for grabs to anyone who test drives a new Volkswagen vehicle on the day.

Matthew Lawrenson, regional director at Imperial Commercials, said: “This is a great opportunity for the business to help raise awareness and money for a worthy cause.

“Staff are busy fundraising for their bungee jumps and we hope that other members of the public take advantage of the 175 feet plunge and give generously.

“We are delighted that players from Derby County are joining us and hope the day is a huge success and lots of money is raised to support the vital work done by Children in Need.”

Further charity fundraising action will see three teams of Imperial Commercials staff compete in a “jailbreak” race on Friday 18th November. The teams will be dropped off ten miles from the van centre in fancy dress outfits, they will then have to race back to the site, blagging their way without using any money or mobile phones.

A suitable donation to Children in Need is requested for all bungee jumps by the general public, availability will be on a first come basis.

Digital expert in the fast lane

Citygate Volkswagen is taking a major step forward by appointing one of the youngest digital experts in the region.

Jade-Elise Brooke-Read, from Great Missenden is Citygate Volkswagen’s new marketing executive, responsible for all aspects of the automotive group’s digital strategy including social media.

The 21-year-old has always being passionate about digital developments and held a position at one of London’s top IT firms before starting at the Volkswagen retailer which has sites in Ruislip, Colindale, Watford, Chalfont and High Wycombe.

Speaking of her appointment Jade-Elise said: “I’m excited to be using my skills in an industry that is relatively new to this area of communication.

“I consider myself experienced in the ever changing digital industry. Since leaving school at 18, I’ve completed many different training programmes and worked with some of the best people in the digital arena.”

Citygate’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Simon Bennett, commented: “We’re thrilled to welcome Jade-Elise to our team. It has become very apparent over the last few years that a digital presence in our industry is becoming increasingly more important. Jade’s appointment will allow us to continue providing customers with a level of service they would expect from Citygate.

“We felt it appropriate to bring in somebody who was young and fresh and had a good understanding of the market and how to apply it to the Citygate business.”

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Van-tastic deal for Bangor City FC

Bangor City Football Club is hoping the delivery of a new mode of transport will help drive them back to the top of the Welsh Premier League.

The club has just been passed the keys of a new Volkswagen Caddy van as part of the continued link with main sponsors, Pentraeth Volkswagen Van Centre.

The Caddy will mainly be used by manager, Neville Powell, as he scouts rival teams and to take the kit and other materials for matches and training.

Pentraeth Volkswagen Van Centre’s owner and former Bangor City director, Ken Jones, said: “We’re delighted to hand over the Caddy to Neville as part of our commitment to helping Bangor City retain the Welsh Premier League.

“It has always been our focus to provide as much support off the field as possible to the club and ensure the players only have to concentrate about what happens on the pitch.”

After watching the club secure another kit sponsorship deal with Pentraeth Volkswagen in the summer, manager Powell, is delighted with the Caddy van.

He said: "Our partnership with Pentraeth is very important to everyone at the club and we’re aiming to show our fans just how good the team is over the next couple of months.

“There are some fantastic games coming up and we hope the supporters can get behind the team, just like Pentraeth have.”

Monday 7 November 2011

Hollinwood youngster given exclusive apprenticeship

A young car enthusiast from Hollinwood has just embarked on an exclusive three-year apprenticeship with an Oldham business.

Matthew Friend, 17, has been accepted by Oldham Volkswagen retailer Smith Knight Fay, on to the technician apprenticeship scheme.

Over the next three years Smith Knight Fay will invest nearly £40,000 to train Matthew through to technician status.

Matthew, who has joined straight after leaving Astley Sports College, is looking forward to achieving his ambition of working on Volkswagen vehicles.

He said: “I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity and very grateful to Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen for giving me this chance.

“I have family members who are technicians which has helped me develop an understanding of 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’m now looking forward to completing the apprenticeship and developing a career in the motor industry.”

Smith Knight Fay’s brand manager, Jason Chisnall, said: “In the current economic climate, it’s important local businesses give youngsters the opportunity to learn and develop a career.

“We only take on an apprenticeship every two or three years so Matthew can be satisfied he’s achieved something already by being appointed.

“His passion for cars was one of the main reasons why he’s been given this place on the apprenticeship programme.

“Matthew may only be 17, but I’m confident he will come through the next three years with flying colours.”


Award-winning legal firm Higgs & Sons is strengthening its family team with a new associate, coinciding with the publication of a new far reaching review into family law.

Sarah Martin joins Higgs as an associate. She specialises in divorce, civil partnership dissolution and cohabitation disputes as well as advising on issues relating to children and relationship breakdown.

Speaking of her appointment, Sarah said: “There has never been a more important time in family law than now. The long anticipated Family Justice Review panel final report has been published this week and it’s clear that people in the region need to ensure they get the very best legal advice in the most cost-efficient way.”

Sarah is a member of Resolution and qualified as a solicitor in 1999. She said that the Family Justice Review will bring the biggest changes to family law in a generation: “It’s been well documented in the press this week about the legal rights of children after a break-up, with fathers not automatically being given shared or equal time with the children, should a relationship end. Similarly, it is not proposed that grandparents have an automatic right to have contact either.

“An increase in the number of cases being dealt with by the family justice system means it is being put under significant strain. In my experience, parents often find the system complicated, expensive and emotionally exhausting. It’s therefore important that clear, concise advice is given.”

The Family Justice Review panel was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education and the Welsh Government to undertake a comprehensive review of the family justice system in England and Wales.

To find out more about the report, visit