General News

Technology Key to Business Success

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The CEO of the Lancashire-based Printed Cup Company, a world leading manufacturer, has said technology is the key element which makes his firm 10 times better than its competitors.

Mark Woodward, who founded the company after being made redundant from a previous managerial role, gradually built technology into the business from websites and CRM systems to its own ERP system which allows customers to track orders.

The Printed Cup Company now employs two full-time coders “which makes us better by a factor of 10 from our competitors”, according to Woodward.

“Without these systems we would not be able to offer a one-hour service, making us the fastest paper cup manufacturer in the world,” he told BusinessCloud.

“I view Lancashire’s role within the Northern Powerhouse as very significant: it has aeronautics and nuclear fuel and is a significant manufacturing base for many companies,” he continued. “The companies I have been to see in the county have invested in technology significantly.”

By providing bespoke accommodation for students and young professionals, Portergate plays a key role in the establishment of Preston and the North-West as a centre of business and commerce.

Preston: A Property Hotspot

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With affordability in London stretched, many are now looking to England’s northern regions, including Preston, where prospects for capital growth look far more promising, as illustrated by the latest Hometrack property report.

The property market in northern England, supported in part by the Northern Powerhouse concept, has attracted a lot of media attention, not to mention both domestic and international investment, especially from China. Large-scale investment and regeneration programmes, such as the £440m City Deal, which along with other investments, is expected to create upwards of 20,000 new jobs, boosting the local economy to the tune of £1bn over the next decade.

The recent opening of Friargate Court, a luxurious accommodation complex taking design inspiration from boutique hotels, is part of a wider movement providing high quality educational and training facilities that will please students and parents alike.

Each well-appointed apartment or studio includes a fully furnished living space and fitted kitchen complete with appliances, utensils and crockery. Bedrooms are also fully furnished and include bedding and towels. Everything you need to start out in student life is provided. The designer shower rooms have all the luxuries you would expect from a boutique hotel.

The University of Central Lancashire, which currently boasts a staff and student community approaching 38,000, recently announced plans to invest a further £200m into its City campus increasing numbers to over 50,000, making it the fourth largest university in England.

2016 marked a huge turning point for Preston, according to Matt Eastham, director at Easthams & Co.

As well as a £50m investment into the Markets Quarter to develop an 11-screen cinema complex with seven restaurant units and a new multi-storey car park, the creation of a youth zone and public square, and the restoration of the Guild Hall with a £15m makeover, the council’s new City Living strategy is refurbishing Winckley Square – one of the finest Georgian squares in the UK, Eastham explains.

Ideally situated, Preston is the geographic centre of the UK offering easy access to the M6, M61, M65 and the M55 motorway networks and is also less than an hour’s drive from Manchester, Liverpool or the Lake District and just two hours by train from London and Glasgow.

Management School Redevelopment

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Plans have been lodged for the redevelopment of the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) which span more the 200,000 sq feet across a host of new and existing buildings on the University’s Bailrigg Campus.

The full planning application has been lodged with Lancaster City Council in a bid to construct a Western Pavilion, Eastern Pavilion, Lecture Theatre, and Hub Plus. The scheme aims to provide a consolidated home for the LUMS within the University’s campus, which also involves refurbishment of the Gillow House Building, the Graduate Management School and the Lancaster Leadership Centre.

Architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) said: “The redevelopment of Lancaster University Management School builds on the school’s reputation of delivering a holistic, world-class student experience.

“The building will provide a balance of open and individual research facilities to support the needs of international academics, including open and inviting accommodation conducive to a range of study and social learning patterns.”

“Located on the Bailrigg Campus, the proposed scheme forms a major new centre within the southern campus.”

Alongside LUMS’s redevelopment, the newly-opened student accommodation at Friargate provides a bespoke, modern living facility as part of a network of high-quality educational and training facilities in a central Preston location.

Apprentices the key to economic success

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The announcement that almost £11million of funding will drive forward a significant expansion in training places and apprentices in key sectors of Lancashire’s economy is more good news for the county.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is behind this latest initiative which will support nine projects worth more than £34m across the county.

The LEP says that its aim is to support a network of modern, high quality educational and training facilities that will look to improve skills levels.

Among many projects, the money will help back skill development initiatives at BAE Systems impressive new training centre, which is emerging at its Samlesbury site on the outskirts of Preston.

The LEP says that in aerospace and advanced manufacturing as many as 21,800 extra skilled tradespeople and qualified professionals and managers will be needed by 2022.

Friargate Court, our new £18m development in Preston, will be the first bespoke accommodation aimed at this next generation when it opens its doors later this year.

Our aim is to provide modern, affordable accommodation for young workers as they set off on their path to career success.

We also want to help keep more young people in the area once their studies are completed, halting an exodus of talent that threatens to prevent the county’s economic growth and to provide homes for workers moving into the area.

We believe the accommodation we are creating is ideal for apprentices and young workers at the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone based at BAE System’s two sites in Samlesbury and Warton.

That new zone will form a centre of excellence for high technology manufacturing, generating wealth-creating benefits for the whole county.

It aim is to create 6,000 highly skilled jobs, plus a further 5,000 to 7,000 in the local supply chain. Local advanced manufacturing and aerospace firms such as BAE Systems also have expanding apprenticeship programmes aimed at attracting talent to the sector.

Strengthening community links

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The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has unveiled plans to further strengthen its links with the local community.

It’s a move that has been welcomed by Portergate as its £18 million Friargate student accommodation vision continues to take shape on the city skyline.

The university has revealed plans to open a city centre shop providing a weekly menu of services and activities for the general public.

‘In the City’ is the name of the new shop on Lune Street which was previously the Britannia Building Society.

It set to open by the end of March, hosting both UCLan-led and community group activities such as exhibitions, health and wellbeing services, business and legal advice workshops and science clubs.

The shop’s activities will be published online in advance on a weekly basis with people being encouraged to send in their own proposals for possible events.

UCLan Head of Communications and Engagement Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott is working on the initiative. She told the university’s website: “UCLan is committed to developing strong links and partnerships with the local community.

“And our ‘In the City’ shop will be a melting pot for new ideas and initiatives which can really drive our city forward.

“The new facility will be open-access and most sessions will be run free of charge useful source.” Suggestions so far include first aid workshops provided by the UCLan School of Nursing, a Saturday morning children’s science club run by the UCLan and Royal Institution Young Scientist Centre and live literature projects, such as storytelling and creative writing events.

People can also call in to find out more about UCLan courses and take part in drop- in taster sessions.

Anyone wanting to know more about the initiative or propose a workshop idea can contact the In the City shop team at

Meanwhile, Portergate’s stylish development is moving towards a much anticipated opening later this year.

The 1.5 acre Friargate site is being transformed with three new retail premises and the creation of a 244 bedroomed building aimed at providing Portergate’s brand of hotel-style accommodation to students at UCLan.

The regeneration project sits on the edge of the city’s thriving University Quarter.

Part of the high-quality accommodation that it will offer is also aimed at post graduate students at the university and apprentices and key workers in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone.

Salford is on the rise

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Almost 5,500 new undergraduates began their degree courses at Salford in September 2015, according to the new figures highlighted by the university.

And that makes it officially one of the fastest growing Higher Education destinations in the UK.

The team at Riverside House welcomes both this news and the announcement of a new “prominent iconic gateway” to its main campus that has been revealed this month.

Both highlight Salford’s growing national and international reputation. Many of our latest arrivals here at Riverside are among its new cohort of undergraduates.

And they’ve chosen us as their home because of our boutique hotel-style accommodation, friendly welcome and support, security and the fact we’re just minutes away from campus.

The University of Salford says its real-world focus and academic strength, plus its green campus-city location, made it the 17th fastest-growing for First Year undergraduates this year.

Figures for 2013 -2015 from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) recorded a rise from 4,410 entrants to 5,445 – a 23% rise in student recruitment.

By comparison, in the North West of England, only Liverpool with a 31% rise to 5,610 undergraduates is growing more quickly.

Overall, Salford was the 31st largest recruiter in UK Higher Education, taking its largest cohort of undergraduates for a decade, according to university chiefs.

The plans submitted for the new gateway to the main campus involve extending its Newton Building.

The proposed west-facing extension, known as the Engineering Showcase, would feature exhibition space to display engineering work conducted in the Newton Building.

There would also be research and demonstration space, open-plan collaborative learning space, informal and formal presentation space, a café and break-out space.

The Newton Building, named after Sir Isaac Newton, occupies a high-profile corner location on the Peel Campus and is home to the School of Computing, Science and Engineering.

A design and access statement supporting the application has been prepared by Manchester-based DAY Architectural. A decision on the proposed scheme is expected by local planning chiefs in April 2016.

The statement says: “There is a real opportunity within this scheme to open up and sell the university through the architecture.

“Combining the concepts of Newton’s third law and the revealing of internal function creates a strong architectural concept that has grounding in both context and function.”

Riverside House has also set its own high design standards. Opened in 2013 it offers Boutique Hotel Class Student Accommodation.

Set in its own landscaped gardens on the river bank, Riverside is within walking distance to the University of Salford campus, Manchester city centre and Salford Central train station. The vibrant cafes and bars on Deansgate are also within a 15 minute walk or a short bus journey.

Each luxury apartment includes a fully furnished living space and fitted kitchen complete with appliances, utensils and crockery. Bedrooms are also fully furnished and include bedding and towels. Everything you need to start out in student life is provided.

We pride ourselves on our “hands on” management style and all members of the team are happy to help in any way they can.

Riverside House is safe and secure, with student welfare catered for. Gates, security lighting, perimeter fencing and CCTV help our staff manage 24 hour security. We have a day time accommodation manager, concierge, on-site maintenance, accommodation supervisor, facilities manager and 24 hour security. For personal security, all rooms are accessed by swipe card.

Prices start from £120 with no hidden extras. 30 Mbps internet and Wi-Fi, TV licence and utility bills all included. A show flat available to view at all times.

Making New Year resolutions that count

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The countdown is on to Christmas – but before the party season kicks in now might be the time to look ahead to the New Year and put together some resolutions that will keep you in pocket in 2016.

The team at luxury student accommodation Riverside House in Salford believe now is the ideal time for students to take stock of their situation and make some strong financial resolutions.

With the expense of Christmas being felt in the wallet the need for good student budgeting and well thought out, creative moneysaving measures is as important as ever.

And to help you get started here are some simple resolutions that you can make to help have a more prosperous 2016.

  • Making and sticking to a budget is vital. It’s a simple but important process in managing your finances. Just looking at your account balance and working out how much cash you will need every week can make a massive difference and keep you on the straight and narrow.
  • Leave your bankcard at home. That way you won’t be tempted to visit the cash machine to pay for that kebab on the way or home, or to head for another round of drinks. Just take out the amount of money you can afford to spend on a night out. Leaving the card at home during the day will also stop spur-of-the-moment purchases that you haven’t budgeted for and don’t really need. Take a look at what you’re spending your cash on – and then act. Stop buying that extra drink or treating yourself to the lunchtime sandwich you can’t afford.
  • Plan your meals. Shop on a weekly basis and look out for supermarket offers and own-brand foods. With a shopping list you are less likely to make impulse buys. Also if you plan your meals for the week, you are less likely to hit the phone to order a takeaway. Cooking at home is cheaper and it’s also a more healthy option. And why not cook with your friends and flatmates, it’s a fun way to socialise.
  • And while we’re on the subject of food, cut back on takeaways altogether. Don’t order a pizza delivery; instead buy a frozen pizza during your weekly shop. Walk past the kebab house or takeway and have a bowl of cereal when you get home instead. Some statistics suggest UK students spend on average £54 a month on takeaways – it’s a sobering thought!
  • Boost your finances. If you are looking to make extra cash, selling old textbooks through sites such as Amazon might be a help. You can also make cash by selling off other unwanted items, such as DVDs and CDs, through sites like musicMagpie or by using eBay.
  • Take advantage of discounts. Make the most of your NUS card, and look at if it’s worth signing up for an NUS Extra card. Also keep an eye out for discounts in individual stores and seek out vouchers. All can help save the pennies. And if you haven’t got a Railcard consider if getting one might save money on those trips home.
  • It also pays to look at price comparison sites, to make sure you are getting the best deal. However, before buying anything ask yourself the question: Do I really need this?
  • Create an emergency fund. If you can, put a £5 note aside at the end of every week. Collect your loose change in a pot. Some people collect £2 coins. By this time next year you’ll have money that you can dip into if that unexpected bill drops. As all students know – every penny counts, even when it comes to buying a round of drinks in the Student Union bar. Count the pennies now and at least you’ll avoid suffering a financial hangover.

Why the UK’s student accommodation market is top of the class

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Record numbers of students in Manchester and Salford are looking for high quality accommodation like Riverside House – with demand continuing to grow across the two cities.

And that increasing call for modern, luxury living spaces, which is being seen across the country, continues to drive investment in the UK’s student accommodation market, according to the latest research seen by Portergate Property Management.

In fact, experts at real estate advisors Savills are predicting that investment in the UK’s market is set to exceed the US for the first time ever.

The prediction was carried in Savills World Student Housing Report, published recently and which attracted widespread publicity in the property media.

According to reports, the UK saw an investment of $6.5 billion, excluding land sales, compared to just over $3 billion in the USA, with the new figures showing the UK’s record figures were driven by foreign investment.

Marcus Roberts, Savills director of Student Investment and Development, was also reported stating that the UK remained the second most popular destination for international students.

There was more bullish news in Savills’ 2015 Spotlight on UK Student Housing report published in November, which also confirmed the market is witnessing record levels of investment.

It said: “With a proven track record of returns and strong demand from students, the first five months of 2015 have seen record investment into the sector from across the globe.”

The report also had good news for the Manchester student accommodation market. It remains buoyant, as seen by the fact Riverside is attracting the attention of students from educational establishments across the city.

Manchester has been promoted to the top flight of Savills Development League Table which considers the potential for future development of direct led purpose built student accommodation.

The report says: “Manchester is promoted into the First league, reflecting both strong demand and a need for more supply.”

Karen Preece, managing director of Portergate Property Management, says the company has witnessed first-hand how that demand for quality student accommodation in Manchester and Salford continues to grow.

She said: “You only have to look at the demand we saw in September from students studying in educational establishments across the area.

“The fact is that in both Manchester and Salford we are seeing record numbers of students looking for high quality accommodation like Riverside.”

It all adds up to make student accommodation an increasingly attractive investment prospect.

As Savills reports: “The student housing market has come of age and is no longer a specialist or alternative investment class.”

Volunteer and make a difference

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The team at Portergate Property Management’s Riverside House in Salford are impressed at the way students are continuing to make a real difference in the local community through their volunteering efforts.

Programmes such as the University of Manchester’s highly-acclaimed ‘Access All Areas’ programme are helping students really get involved in some worthwhile projects across the city.

This impressive volunteering arm of the university’s Students’ Union continues to bring together a range of student-led educational volunteer projects in the local community.

A Students’ Union spokesman explains the thinking behind ‘Access All Areas’: “All of our projects have the same aim – to improve access and widen participation in education.

“We lead workshops in local primary schools, run educational outreach projects and mentoring schemes in the community.”

Successful past scheme include the work of the Model UN Society – who ran an event with the entire year 9 group at Marsden Heights Community College looking at a range of international issues including climate change.

The project’s aim was to encourage youngsters to develop their public speaking, research and debating skills.

Other projects that have been delivered in the city include choir workshops for youngsters at St Malachy’s Primary and events at Whalley Range High School and Oasis Academy Primary.

For growing numbers of students volunteering and student action opportunities provide a rewarding and fun experience during their time at university.

Students not only have an enjoyable time but they can learn and develop lifelong skills that will aid them in the future.

Nationally, plans are already been drawn up for Student Volunteering Week 2016 in February, which will once again see more than 80 different educational institutions taking part more info here.

It’s an opportunity for student volunteers, colleges and universities, charities, social enterprises, businesses and government to collaborate, discuss challenges and opportunities in student volunteering, and showcase innovative individuals and projects.

Student volunteering and social action in the UK have a long history which can be traced back to university settlements and missions in the 19th century.

Students at Manchester who are looking to get involved with Access All Areas can sign up to its volunteering database at

Get your skates on!

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The team at Riverside House, Portergate Property Management’s flagship luxury Riverside House development in Salford, just can’t wait to get their skates on and start the festive fun.

In a sure sign that the countdown to Christmas has now begun, Manchester’s massively popular ice rink has opened its doors at its New Bailey site.

This new Salford location is just a quick away from its former home in Spinningfields and it will once again be the biggest outdoor ice rink in the area, offering visitors a very Merry Christmas experience.

Whether you’re looking for a day out with friends, some after lecture fun or a special date night, the rink promises some Yuletide magic for everyone.

We’re told that there’s festive food and fairground rides as well as the enjoyment of a glide on the ice. Organisers also promise festive choristers, DJs and themed sessions.

The rink is open until Sunday January 3 and it’s just one of a host of local festive attractions that our students here at Riverside can enjoy in the run up to the holidays – including Manchester’s famous Christmas Markets.

Libby Witherden, head of marketing and events at New Bailey, says: “There is a whole festive line-up planned at New Bailey over the winter and we’re looking forward to seeing people lacing up their boots and hitting the ice!”

Visit for more information on how to get there and to book your tickets.

And for information about Christmas walks and water cruises and the Enchanted Christmas Market that is being held at The Quays log on to