12 August 2022
Northampton’s revamped Vulcan Works played host to a select group of visitors on Tuesday (09 August).
Privy to a tour of the newly refurbished site were Andrew Lewer MP, West Northamptonshire’s councillors, members of the council’s regeneration team, funding partners and operators. They were all were given a guided walkaround of the transformed building, alongside a visionary explanation of what the site will offer local businesses.
Originally a Grade II listed ironworks factory, Vulcan Works was built in 1875 for engineering company Mobbs & Co and was later turned into a leather warehouse. It is considered one of the best surviving engineering works for production of boot and shoe industry machinery. The building has been transformed into a mixture of renovation and new build and is located in the area between Guildhall Road, Angel Street, Fetter Street and St John's Street within Northampton's Cultural Quarter.
Over the past few years it has undergone a £14 million regeneration project which has involved the refurbishment of the old iron stonework factories along Guildhall Road, the refurbishment of the former museum store and the creation of a new three-storey building on the corner of St John's Street and Fetter Street as well as constructing a new block on Angel Street. The development has created 68 lettable units, including office, studio and managed workshop space specifically aimed at start-ups and growing businesses within the creative industry. Units range from 10m2 to 100m2.
South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3 million together with £3.06 million from the European Regional Development Fund. West Northamptonshire Council covered the remaining costs.
It is hope that during its first ten years of operation, Vulcan Works will support up to 150 businesses across the county, creating around 500 jobs.
A company called Oxford Innovations has been contracted to manage the space, deliver business expertise and raise the finance that entrepreneurs need for their businesses to thrive.
Cllr Daniel Lister Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration & Growth, said:
“The transformation of the building is remarkable and the design and spec of exceptionally high quality. I am very hopeful for its future in enabling small businesses and start-ups to take that next step along the ladder of success. We have digital and creative arts businesses who are already interested and I have no doubt that the units will fill up very quickly,
“We have high level of growth businesses and start-ups in Northamptonshire but unfortunately we also have a really high failure rate, higher than in some areas of the rest of England. This building and the practical support on offer under its roof with will help to address this problem. Not only are we offering high quality office space but it will come with business a support programme including workshops, seminars, 1:1 coaching, networking and facilitation. With proper support, start-ups, scale ups and small businesses will be enabled to maximise and accelerate their growth and fully contribute to Northampton’s business community.”
Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP’s Chief Executive added:
“We’re delighted to formally open the Vulcan Iron works having watched this project develop over the years. The transformation of the former ironworks adds much more than new, quality business units to the town. This is about nurturing the vibrant entrepreneurial culture so prevalent in Northampton. It has created the space dedicated to helping businesses to share ideas, collaborate and grow. We very much hope that it brings a lot of pride to the town.”
09 August 2022
Northamptonshire's Public Health Directors Sally Burns and John Ashton are offering advice to help people stay safe in the heat:
Yet again we’re experiencing hot weather in Northamptonshire, in common with much of the country. You may already have noticed the temperature creeping up, which is great news for those of us who love being outdoors and enjoying the warmer weather. This is likely to continue until the weekend so a Heat-Health alert has been put into place as even overnight temperatures are predicted to be very warm.
Normally in hot weather temperatures tend to drop overnight giving the body sufficient chance to rest and repair, however this normal process can become a struggle when temperatures don’t drop. It can be unpleasant for any of us, but is a particular issue for those whose underlying health conditions are made worse by heat.
There is no denying that high temperatures overnight and in the daytime unfortunately come with health consequences for some people. So we’re asking you please keep an eye on those most vulnerable, particularly those who are older or have lung or heart conditions, as well as children. And to take care of yourself too!
Top tips for staying safe in the heat
- Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated
- Stay hydrated, take water with you if you are out and about
- Avoid travelling at peak times if you can, particularly if transporting children, babies, or the elderly. If you have to travel ensure you have enough water with you to allow for any delays due to accidents or breakdowns
- Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm as this is when UV rays are the strongest - avoid physical exertion at this time
- If you have to go out in the heat stay in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat
- Close curtains in rooms that the sun faces - this will help rooms remain cooler - remember it could be cooler outdoors than indoors
- Never leave anyone in a parked closed vehicle – especially not animals, children or babies
- Avoid alcohol as it will further dehydrate you, this is because it causes you to both urinate and perspire more than normal
- Look out for signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and follow some common sense behaviours to make the most of what should be a glorious time for most.
Sadly accidents, often fatal, happen in water at this time of year particularly involving youngsters. That’s why we’re asking parents to supervise their children in and around water. Although it can be fun to cool off in water structures such as bridges, locks and flood channels, and reservoirs and quarries should be avoided.
Make sure you know the RNLI’s Float to Live advice
Unexpectedly cold water or strong currents can catch even experienced swimmers off guard. Better to swim safely at one of the county’s organised events where support is provided
09 August 2022
Residents across West Northamptonshire are invited to join National Highways public consultation events throughout August and September to find out more about the proposed improvement works along the A5 in Towcester.
They are an opportunity to find out more about their proposals and share your views. During the events the project team will outline the proposed options to improve Towcester town centre and answer any questions you may have.
The proposed work will include improving:
- Road safety
- Traffic volumes
- Public spaces
Drop-in events will be held on the following dates. Please just turn up:
- Wednesday 31 August, from 10am to 7pm at the Sawpits Centre, Towcester (NN12 6FT)
- Monday 5 September, midday until 7pm at Waitrose Car Park, Richmond Rd, Towcester (NN12 6HZ)
- Tuesday 6 September, 9am to 2pm at Aldi car park, Old Greens Norton Rd, Towcester (NN12 8AX)
National Highways will also be holding online events on Wednesday 17 August and Wednesday 24 August from 7pm to 8.30pm via Microsoft Teams.
If you’d like to attend an online session please email: [email protected] and you will be provided with details of how to attend
09 August 2022
Less than a year after achieving bronze status in the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) have both been awarded silver status.
The ERS silver award is the second step in a constant improvement programme which makes it easier for reservists to find flexible employers and improves employment pathways between the forces and the private and public sectors.
After the initial bronze award in December 2021 which recognised both councils’ openness to employing reservists, veterans and anyone connected to the forces, both have since put in place policies which allow reservists to carry out their military commitments.
Cllr Matt Binley, NNC’s AFC Member Champion and Executive Member for Housing, Communities and Levelling Up, said: “I am so pleased that after less than a year both councils have been awarded silver status, which clearly demonstrates the work we have been doing across the county to help and support those in the Armed Forces, as well as veterans.
“A career in the military provides a wide range of skills and experience which can easily be transferred to the roles here at the council and we are committed to continuing to support and work alongside more members of the Armed Forces family in the future.”
Cllr David Smith, WNC’s AFC Member Champion and Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement, said: “As a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, this council is committed to supporting members of the armed forces community – those currently serving, reservists, veterans and family members.
“I believe our rapid progression to the next stage of the ERS shows that this council is leading it’s community and I would urge all employers in West Northants to join us in the scheme and help deliver on the shared duty of care to members of the armed forces community.”
2022 marks the ninth year of the Awards scheme. In addition to these 44 Silver winners, the East Midlands region also had a record 18 Gold Awards this year.
To achieve gold status in the ERS the council must show it has committed to taking on those leaving the services via the Careers Transitions Programme and have registered for the Forces Family Portal.
Both councils offer a range of support for serving personnel, veterans and their families which could include support with finance, housing and employment and education. For more information, visit - www.afcnorthamptonshire.co.uk.
08 August 2022
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will be delivering a Refugee Employment Support event in partnership with DWP on Monday, 15 August at Northampton Central Library.
The event will take place between 2.30pm and 5pm, and be attended by local employers and support providers including Futures For You and Travis Perkins.
A variety of free help and support will be provided, as well as live vacancies together with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support.
Other services available on the day include:
- Professional translators to support customers with interviews
- One to one career support
- Help with employability skills
- A childcare expert to discuss childcare options
- Vacancies from local employers
- A chance to discuss education and study options
Cllr Daniel Lister, WNC Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Town Centre Regeneration, said: “A job is about more than simply making a living and gaining financial independence, it’s a chance to make friends, be a part of the community and fully contribute to UK society – all with a new sense of purpose and identity.
“We want to help everyone in our community to secure local, sustainable employment. Refugees have a positive and direct impact on the community, and we are dedicated to supporting them while navigating through prospective employment and training so they can find a job that is right for them.
“I am pleased that we are able to work collaboratively to combine our efforts to be as supportive as possible to those looking to seek employment in West Northants from other countries. The WNC Economy Team deliver our West Northamptonshire Employment Support Service to help every resident access free, quality support to secure local employment and enable local employers to fill their vacancies with the skilled local workforce.”
The event follows ongoing work and support available to refugees in West Northamptonshire, whose communities have welcomed hundreds of individuals and families fleeing persecution from places including the Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria.
Paul Gisbey, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) District Manager for Leicester and Northants said “In working with Afghanistan and Ukrainian customers we have seen the generosity and kindness the people of Northamptonshire have shown them. Within DWP we are committed to supporting them, when they are seeking financial assistance, and also in providing them employment opportunities. This event is the latest example of that support with West Northants Council, local employers and providers working closely with us to make it a great success. We are immensely grateful to them all”
Recent data from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) shows that West Northants has accepted 727 UK visa applications so far, and is the 34th largest recipient of 150 Council areas.
If you are a local employer who would like to be involved in supporting refugees to access employment, or would like the support of the WNC Economy Team, please contact [email protected].
DWP Northampton are hosting a separate Recruitment Event to support their customers and local employers on Wednesday 17 August, from 10am to midday. For more information, please speak to your Work Coach.
All residents in West Northamptonshire can benefit from the WNC free Employment Support Service. Businesses can also access WNC’s free business support