A Blackpool company which specialises in digital media at sports grounds has won its first overseas deal – in New York.
Eleven Sports Media, based at Whitehills, has teamed up with New York City Football Club to have its digital platform at the Yankees Stadium and to support its academy.
Eleven was founded in 2009 to provide smaller businesses with valuable access to their local sports clubs, and providing the tools and support to those clubs so they could provide it.
e company will launch a comprehensive new platform for brand exposure and growth for small businesses across the Big Apple and also become shirt sponsor for the NYCFC Academy teams.
New York City fans inside the Yankees stadium
The deal will let small to medium size businesses in the city a chance to expose their products and services to not only fans at NYCFC home games, but also across social media and broadcast.
The investment is a first for Eleven outside of the UK, where it sponsors academies, youth, B-teams and women’s teams across the British Isles including Blackpool FC.
Its technology also powers bespoke fan engagement channels in grounds and on social media offering statistics and information for fans.
Eleven’s managing director Matt Cairns said: “The excitement levels are though the roof at Eleven Sports Media about partnering with NNYCFC.
“The reputation we have built in the UK and premier league was certainly attractive to NYCFC and other clubs in the MLS. It will allow the club to achieve a true connection with their business community.”
Matt Goodman, Chief Commercial Officer and COO at NYCFC, commented: “We are the soccer team of the five boroughs.
“Our role is two-fold: to connect with the local communities that we are proud to represent and to empower better lives through soccer. We want to do everything we can to help pick up the small businesses. They are the fabric of New York City.
“The most exciting part about partnering with Eleven is that shared focus on small business and on investing in young local talent. Eleven’s history with global soccer, coupled with an emphasis on community and youth soccer, is the most unique part of how Eleven operates.
Eleven Sports Media are sponsoring the training kit for New York City FC
“This partnership will give NYCFC a larger platform to speak to more fans and give more local, small businesses a bigger platform for success.”
A developer is appealing against a council decision preventing him from bulldozing a former Woolworth’s store in Blackpool to replace it with a car park.
Howard Plant was refused permission for the scheme to demolish the building on Bond Street in South Shore, which was occupied by Hartes for 25 years until it closed down in January 2019.
The property, which is locally listed, is in a poor state of repair – which Mr Plant says was already the case when he and his business partner bought the site two years ago.
They want to redevelop the land to provide a 43-space car park which they say will serve nearby businesses and boost trade in the neighbourhood.
The Hartes site in South Shore
Their application was turned down by town hall planners because bats are believed to be nesting there, rather than because of the building’s locally listed status.
A decision notice says approval was not given because “the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the method of demolition proposed would adequately safeguard protected species and so prior approval must be refused.”
An appeal has now been lodged with the planning inspectorate and will be determined by an independent planning inspector.
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A county lines drug gang who used children as young as 13 to transport drugs between Greater Manchester and Blackpool has been jailed.
Ryan Wall, 24, Claire Daniels, 36, Christopher Thornton, 20, and Leigh Sleddon, 38, were involved in an organised crime group that trafficked class A drugs from Tameside to Blackpool.
Wall, of Lakenheath Road, Liverpool and Thornton, of Barlow Road, Dukinfield, were sentenced to a total of 17 years after admitting arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation under the Modern Slavery Act.
Despite not being charged with the same offence, Minshull Street Crown Court accepted that Daniels – herself a mother – of Fitzroy Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, was aware and complicit in the movement of the teenagers in order for them to deal drugs.
She was given a one year and two month suspended sentence.
Sleddon, of Claremont Court, Blackpool, admitted that the children had stayed at his address in return for him being supplied with drugs.
He was given a two year suspended sentence.
The verdicts conclude an 18 month investigation into the transportation of drugs and children – aged between 13 and 16 – led by detectives in GMP Tameside’s Complex Safeguarding Team.
Christopher Thornton (pictured left) and Ryan Wall (pictured right) (Credit: Greater Manchester Police)
Det Con Matthew Elliot, from Operation Fairview, said: “Today, this group has been jailed for their roles in a county line gang – wrecking lives along the way through the dissemination of illegal drugs.
“But what we’ve been able to prove to the court during this investigation, is that Wall and Thornton – in particular – were not just trafficking drugs but also trafficking people.
“They were running their drugs line to Blackpool by deliberately targeting teenage boys, and exploiting them for their own illicit gains.”
He added: “These were boys who were identified by the group as vulnerable, and groomed into travelling between counties – left to fend for themselves and exposed to danger – to do the dirty work on the ground that these offenders didn’t wish to do themselves.
“The act of exploiting children and peddling them for such selfish and criminal ways is an abhorrent crime – but one that is complex and wide-ranging which makes today’s outcome all the more of a success.”
Operation Fairview was launched after a boy was reported missing from the Hyde area.
After working alongside Lancashire Police, officers discovered the boy had been moved to Blackpool and was being used by the gang to supply class A drugs.
Further enquiries confirmed two other teenage boys who had been reported missing from the Ashton area had been in contact with a number associated with Ryan Wall.
Officers ensured the boys were immediately referred to relevant specialist agencies and safeguarded away from further harm.
A strike day was executed at the start of October 2020 where eight people – aged 16 to 67 – were arrested.
Wall, Thornton and Daniels were charged and eventually admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.
The detectives were also able to prove to the court that Thornton, who was jailed for eight years, was also controlling a ‘drug line’ local to the Tameside area supplying heroin, cocaine and cannabis. He had also entered guilty pleas for these matters.
Wall and Thornton pleaded guilty of four modern slavery offences between them while Sleddon pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of an organised crime group.
Tameside Council Executive Member for Children and Families, Councillor Bill Fairfoull, said: “Superb partnership working has resulted in this first conviction of Modern Day Slavery in Greater Manchester.
“We have removed these drug dealers from our streets and stopped them from exploiting our children.
“Our Children’s Services staff have worked tirelessly with the police to secure this result and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.”
A Blackpool woman is set to cut loose and launch her own hair salon, after 20 years of working for someone else.
It will be a new year and new start for Victoria Johnstone who is to open her own hair and beauty parlour, Victoria J’s, in Highfield Road in January.
This weekend she is hosting an open day to let her customers have a sneak peek into what they can expect next year.
Victoria is being joined by colleague Stacey Logan in the venture and both have worked for years at Solo Scissors in Caunce Street which is set to close due to rising costs and the effects of the pandemic.
Vicky Johnstone from Victoria J’s which is set to open in January on Highfield Road
Victoria and her husband Tony enlisted the help of their family to renovate the building which used to be the Sunlounge tanning shop and are now on the lookout for nails and beauty practitioners to rent the two spare rooms she has at the new salon.
Victoria said: “I have worked at Solo Scissors for 20 years and Stacey for 13. The lease is due to end on the shop in Caunce Street so the owner Jayne Sherwin has decided to leave on December 24 and carry on working but from her own home.
“I have absolutely loved working there, but I have always wanted my own salon, so this has given me the push I needed to start my own business.
“It has been daunting but exciting at the same time and we are really looking forward to it. It has taken us five weeks to get the salon renovated. These last two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone especially in the hair and beauty industry where many salons are shutting down.
Vicky Johnstone and Stacey Logan from Victoria J’s on Highfield Road. Both previously worked at Solos Scissors in Caunce Street
“It’s very modern in style and we will have three chairs for stylists but also two rooms for beauticians to rent out, all on one floor.”
She said a lot of their customers from Caunce Street were coming over with them but they were looking forward to meeting new customers.
“I started 20 years ago at Solos Scissors, did my training and apprenticeship there. We have been there a long time and it is sad that it is closing, but Jayne is carrying on at home.”
Stacey said working in the hair industry was more than just a business, as many clients kept coming back over many years.
Victoria and Stacey
She said: “It’s not just about doing their hair, you build a real relationship with clients and you go through everything in your life and their lives together.”
Victoria added: “It’s great, I love meeting new people and making people feel good about themselves.”
“Our open day is on Sunday, November 28, from 2pm to 5pm, with prosecco and fresh orange, as well as canapes and a raffle ticket to win a few gifts. We just want to thank all our clients from Solos Scissors for their support over the years and let them know they can come here, as well as welcome new ones.”
A Lancashire social care boss said lessons had been learned after a vulnerable teenager with serious mental health problems took his own life.
Marshall Metcalfe, 17, died at the Royal Preston Hospital on May 7 last year after he jumped off the roof of Blackpool’s Sainsbury store.
An inquest heard that when he was discharged from an in-patient psychiatric unit on January 6 2020, there was no social care provision already in place as his case had been closed two months earlier.
This had consequences further down the line.
Marshall Metcalfe and mum Jane Ireland, pictured with his two sisters, died within a month of each other
While Marshall, of Heeley Road, St Annes, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and needed to have his antipsychotic drug treatment carefully monitored, his mother was also suffering from episodes of hallucinatory psychosis.
But despite some concerns being raised about her ability to care for him, he went back to live with her.
Four months after leaving The Cove unit, Marshall took his own life in May 2020, and tragically his grief-stricken mother died at the family home just one month later, after taking a high dose of methadone.
The inquest into both their deaths is looking at whether opportunities to help them were missed.
Brendan Lee, head of service for children and social care at Lancashire, was asked why social care had been withdrawn in October 2019.
He said that Marshall’s home visits from The Cove had stopped and said: ” We looked whether there was a role for the children’s and social care at that point, whether we were bringing about change. Had it run its course?”
The inquest heard that The Cove had expected the social care team to be in place upon Marshall’s discharge.
Mr Lee conceded that a letter called a Section 85 Act letter from the Cove about Marshall being discharged should have triggered further action by the Children and Social Services.
It reached business support, not social services, and was not passed on – leading to delays in Marshall receiving social care support.
Mr Lee said: “The letter wasn’t acted on, it was just seen as a letter.”
He said a lesson learned was that such a letter should have been forwarded to social services and other departments had been told to now do so, while a qualified social worker is now expected to be on duty to respond to any letters.
Mr Lee was also asked about the option of alternative home placement for Marshall.
A leading psychiatrist at The Cove had said that no suitable accommodation existed to take in Marshall as a temporary alternative from his mother’s care.
Asked about whether he agreed that such accommodation could not be found if needed, Mr Lee said that some accommodation might have been found for him, as there were some provision available of Care Quality Provision standard.
He said: “Whether or not they would have met Marshall’s needs, I don’t know, but we do have four places looking after six young people.
“I’m not sure how Marshall would have engaged with carers, he was one of the most complex young men I have ever seen.”
Later in his evidence, he said it may have led to an application before a court if Marshall and his mother did not consent.
However, no such plans were pursued.
The inquest, led by coroner Alan Wilson, continues.
Plans to use a semi-detached bungalow as a residential care home for two adults aged over 18 have been refused by Blackpool Council.
A meeting of the planning committee heard there was no local demand for the service at the property at 124 Norbreck Road which has already been the subject of a failed bid to convert it to a children’s home.
The council’s social services said there were vacancies in existing residential care homes in the town, and bringing in vulnerable adults from other parts of the country would put additional strain on local services.
A council report says: “The lack of need for the facility would bring out-of- town vulnerable adults into Blackpool and divert resources from local residents.”
Town hall planners have refused the application
Objections to the application had been received from 18 residents on Norbreck Road, the two Norbreck ward councillors, and Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.
Coun Maxine Callow told the meeting: “The property was not built for the proposed use and neighbours have not been considered at all in this.”
She added: “I feel we should feel some sympathy for residents of this area. Most are of pension age and for two years they have had their lives put on hold.”
Applicant Outbound Care said in a letter supporting its submission its mission was “to provide a trusted home environment designed to both develop and prepare adults for a successful transition into living independently.”
This included a skilled team of staff “dedicated to both the social and professional progression of the adults in their care.”
In February this year the council refused an application for the same property to be converted for residential care for up to two children aged between 11 and 17.
The scheme was found to contravene council policy blocking new residential homes where there is already a children’s home within 400 metres.
The policy was introduced to prevent over- concentration of children’s residential care homes in one area.
There are two styles to choose from, and both will help the homeless in your area.
The online retailer Stand4 Socks are currently selling Blackpool skyline socks, and with every sock sold, they donate a pair to someone in need.
The founder of Stand4 Socks, Josh Turner said: “Our model is to donate a thick antibacterial pair to homeless locally to our customers, for every pair we sell. Socks are one of the most requested items by homeless shelters, but as a wear through item, they are rarely donated, unlike money, coffee or old coats – we wouldn’t donate our old odd, hole ridden socks would we?
“In the last 5 years we have donated 150,000 pairs of socks across the UK. Homelessness tends to be concentrated, although not solely, in our towns and cities up and down the country, and our city skyline collection now covers over 60 locations. I design each sock personally, being based in Manchester I could easily visit Preston and Blackpool to draw landmarks like the Harris Museum, St Walburges Church or the Deepdale. The idea being community supporting community …through socks!”
Stand4 Socks was founded by Josh Turner and their ‘pledge’ is: “For every pair of socks we sell, we donate a pair to someone in need. Always.”
Stand4 Socks add that the homeless tend to walk more than the average person, and without the luxury of fresh socks, this can lead to a number of very serious foot health issues, so they created purpose built donation socks which will help towards avoiding these problems.
Every purchase of a Stand4 Socks item comes with the guarantee of ‘Buy One = Give One” and now customers can do a good deed whilst also wearing their hometown with pride.
Available in male and female sizes, the city skyline socks range from £11.99 to £12.99 each, however Gazette readers can use the code LANCASHIRE20 for 20% off the Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn and Bolton sock ranges
Made from Softer Combed Cotton, all the antibacterial socks have reinforced heels and toes to prevent the chance of holes forming, and are fitted with a Comfit Arch which gives extra support to the arch of the foot.
The city landscape collection includes Blackpool.
Referring to the Blackpool sock range, the Stand4 Socks website states: “Home to the pleasure beach, tower ballroom and famous illuminations, represent Blackpool in these skyline socks, whether this is where you were born, your new home or just somewhere that holds a special memory. The striking black and white colour scheme elevates any outfit and provides great comfort with combed cotton knit.”
You can see the full range of socks available on Stand4 Socks website.
The Blackpool sock also comes in tangerine.
These are the socks that readers can use their 20% discount on.
Detailed proposals have been unveiled for a £6.3m new business hub in Blackpool town centre which is part of the resort’s Town Deal..
A courtyard, cafe and roof terrace are included in the blueprint for the transformation of the Stanley Buildings.
The triangular building, which sits between Church Street and Caunce Street, dates back to 1935 and is locally listed.
Owned by the council, it is currently occupied by shops, offices and a takeaway with some empty units.
But designs by architects Cassidy and Ashton, which are part of a new planning application, set out a vision to refurbish the site for use by start-ups and small businesses including retail.
Providing the application is approved, work will include external alterations to the windows, replacement shop fronts, the creation of a courtyard at ground floor level and a new roof terrace on the second floor.
The takeaway would be converted to a cafe, and facilities would include a new entrance lobby, landscaped courtyard, bicycle storage and a function room.
A design brief accompanying the application says: “The overall objective of the proposals is to develop the existing site to provide a mixed use offering of
Artist’s impression showing the refurbishment plans
offices and retail space with supporting communal facilities.”
This would be done “by way of a newly landscaped courtyard and terraces, which would support a range of small and medium sized enterprises at this highly sustainable site within the town centre.”
Funding includes £4.5m of government cash from Blackpool’s Town Deal and match funding of £1.8m.
Demand for space inside the new hub is expected to be high – with the council’s audit committee being told earlier this year occupancy levels within the council’s two existing business centres – the Enterprise Centre on Lytham Road in South Shore, and FY Creatives on Church Street – currently exceeded 90 per cent.
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