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Words: Glynis Fox and Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox, Painting by David Work
Featured in the November 2011 issue

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For many people the town conjures up images of fields bursting with vegetables, food processing factories and a major reliance on migrant labour – but that’s not the full story.

However, with twenty per cent of the food on our tables touching Spalding at some point – either by being grown or raised locally, processed or packaged in South Lincolnshire or transported through the area to other parts of the county – it is certainly a jobs and wealth creator.

Little wonder then that there has been so much talk over the past few weeks about the future of the food court at The Red Lion Quarter in Spalding.

However, there is more to this £6.5 million multi-use centre than being a purpose-built marketplace offering local Lincolnshire producers the opportunity to introduce their specialities to the public and keep old traditions and recipes alive and available.

Future stars of the catering and hospitality industry can learn their skills from experts at the development’s Further and Higher Education unit and Sage restaurant, while small and start-up businesses can use the self-contained office accommodation and separate meeting areas on the development’s purpose-built business floor.

The new Boston College centre, now called South Lincolnshire College, currently rents space on the second floor of The Red Lion Quarter where brand new teaching facilities are available for the study of a number of full and part-time subjects.

Open during term-time, from Mondays to Wednesdays (8.15am -7pm), and on Thursdays and Fridays (8.15am-4.30pm), potential students are welcome to visit the College any time to have a look around.

An open evening is also planned for Thursday, 24th November, from 6pm-8pm, where all the subjects will be demonstrated and people can get advice and chat to the tutors.

Full-time and part-time vocational provision has been available since September, where students are currently studying anything from full-time hairdressing to motor vehicle studies.

The popular IT training centre, previously located in Westlode Street, has also moved to the new development but with the addition of increased part-time provision, designed to upskill people already working or seeking employment in a wide variety of fields.

The South Lincolnshire College can now provide part-time and evening courses in all levels of IT and more, with courses in food safety, health and safety, electrical engineering and teaching support.

Boston College continuously reviews the needs of students and employers in its determination to provide the skills people need for successful careers, so if you have a course in mind, let them know!

Whether you want to learn basic French for your holiday or are hoping to undertake a foundation degree in learning support, the South Lincolnshire College will have something for you.

Then there is the new state-of-the-art Sage Restaurant, which provides Spalding with a groundbreaking opportunity for apprentices and trainees to work in a commercially-run environment while being comprehensively tutored in-house by experienced industry-trained professionals.

With light lunches such as risottos, warm salads and pasta and a full fine dining menu available in the evening - all expertly prepared and designed with seasonal, local, quality produce in mind - Sage is the ideal environment in which to enjoy the produce the area is known for.

The restaurant environment is a state-of-the-art attraction itself, with a theatre-style open kitchen bringing the buzz of the talented chefs to your table, while cameras in the kitchen reveal the skilled chefs at work on widescreen TVs adorning the walls of the restaurant.

Head chefs and restaurant managers, with extensive, international four-star experience – and front of house staff whose skills have been honed by working at venues such as Ascot, Epsom and Buckingham Palace – share their talents with twenty apprentices, who have been selected and given the opportunity to learn while they earn.

Sage is about celebrating Lincolnshire’s food heritage so local businesses and employers are accommodated, rather than competed against, with the aim of building partnerships, boosting interest in and channelling innovation in what has always been a ‘foodie’ town.

South Holland District Council economic development officer Nigel Burch said the Red Lion Quarter development features twelve top floor offices, as well as three retail units.

“We are pleased to say that three of the offices will shortly be rented out, to an electrical wholesaler, a supporter of innovation in public services and a consultant in facade engineering,” he said.

“Easy in-and-out terms are available to businesses. As more move into the building, this will help to attract other enterprises and naturally this has the potential to create new jobs. The vision is for the Red Lion Quarter to become a central hub in the thriving economy of South Holland.”

Spalding offers a mix of shopping and services, in the town itself and at the nearby Springfields Shopping Outlet, where you will also find the Festival Gardens.

Spalding Water Taxi Company operates a seasonal service between the town and Springfields – but it is hoped that this will be supplemented with other transport.

“The relationship between the town and Springfields generally works very well and we are exploring the possibility of setting up a regular bus service between the shopping outlet and the town next Spring,” said Mr Burch.

With 5,000 Eastern Europeans in the area and 84,000 in South Holland District, it comes as little surprise to learn that two licences have recently been granted for businesses run by this sector of the community, and that the number of Eastern European businesses in the area has been growing in recent months. But South Holland District Council is keen to help all enterprises to become more successful.

“As part of our economic development strategy, we are looking towards applying for European Regional Development funding to help retailers and market traders in the town, perhaps by offering training and skills workshops,” said Mr Burch.

On the jobs front, Sainsbury’s has expanded its Holland Market store, creating further opportunities, power station operator InterGen’s plan for extending its Spalding site holds the promise of hundreds of new jobs, and sixteen jobs have been saved by B&Q’s investment in the town’s former Focus DIY store.

PORK PIES
South Lincolnshire has once again come up with another tasty product, which is helping to put Spalding on the map.

The great-granddaughters of two rival Lincolnshire butchers have launched a new company, making hand-raised, artisan pork pies.

Adams & Harlow, which was launched at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London, is the brainchild of Mary and Lizzi Adams, whose family has run Adams and Sons Butchers’ in Spalding since 1910.

The handmade pies, filled with 100 per cent British meat, are produced in the original Spalding premises, using family recipes handed down from both George Adams and his rival Dick Harlow, who founded a pork pie business in Boston in 1895.

Director Mary Adams said: “I am sure my grandfathers would be delighted to see that today’s pork pie connoisseur can still enjoy the tradition they started.

“Alongside the original famous hand-raised pork pie, our delicious range also includes Red Devil pork pie, with cheese and chilli; the Huntsman Pie, made with layered pork and chicken breast, with a topping of crispy sage and onion stuffing; and the Gamekeeper Pie which is topped with morello cherries.”

The new brand is focused on supplying independent retailers, hospitality and food service, but already supplies a number of Antic pubs across London, as well as creating an exclusive pie for Fortnum & Mason.

BUILDING GETS NEW LEASE OF LIFE
An impressive Jacobean-style shop in Spalding town centre has been given a new lease of life and is now trading as a hairdressing salon.

The Crown Affair has moved into 24 Hall Place, a Grade II listed building, formerly used as a charity shop, which has been transformed with the help of a scheme managed by South Holland District Council.

The building is two storeys high and built of ashlar – stone cut into blocks – with a blue slate roof and ridge tiles. Severely weathered stonework has been replaced with the same materials from a quarry near Stamford and the building repointed.

The roof has been repaired, lead replaced and the original window design restored to its former glory. 

The facelift was made possible under the Partnership Schemes in Conservation Areas project – a link up between the council and English Heritage – to help rejuvenate traditional buildings in Spalding town centre and conservation areas in Crowland, Long Sutton and Holbeach.

Since 2007 more than £300,000 has been spent on improving commercial buildings with the help of grants toward traditional restoration work.

The Crown Affair’s fourteen strong crew is now offering beauty treatments and a wig styling service, for medical and illness-related hair loss.

Owner Frank Martino said: “We aim to be one of the town’s most progressive salons by providing the latest services and techniques within the industry. All of the staff at Crown Affair are extremely excited to be a part of this new venture in this beautifully restored building in Spalding.”

CENTRE’S CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN
Springfields Outlet Shopping, just outside of the town, is counting down to a festive season designed to go with a bang.

A number of new brand-named stores have opened at Springfields in the last month and a range of activities are planned for November, which are guaranteed to attract as many people as possible.

There are new shops for the craft enthusiast, lovers of the great outdoors and fans of all things leather, as well as stores for fashion and beauty aficionados.

The Craft Outlet Store opened at the beginning of October. It is situated at the front of the Fens Tourist Attraction building in the Festival Gardens and stocks items from major craft names including Inkadinkado, Hero Arts, BoBunny and K&Company. 

Womenswear store Jacques Vert and The Body Shop also joined the list of Springfields’ retailers recently. In fact the Springfields store is the first of The Body Shop’s new outlet stores within its new expansion programme in the UK.

The Craft Outlet Store director Eric Pepper, who comes from Billinghay near Sleaford, said: “We think that an outlet centre is the way forward for craft material retailing and Springfields is a great location for us. This is our first ever store.”

For lovers of the great outdoors, Trespass also opened for business in South Avenue. It will be perfect for those who take advantage of the countryside and coast or even those who visit the shops and outdoor markets, come rain or shine.

Trespass is an independent British brand created in 1984 which focuses on performance outdoor sports and leisurewear. The store stocks a variety of clothing and accessories for the whole family.

Michael MacDonald, graphic, marketing & product developer at Trespass, said: “Bucking the current trend, Trespass is expanding its network of stores, providing great value performance clothing across the country.”

Springfields’ success story continues to go from strength to strength with Lakeland Leather also trading from the outlet. The store in South Avenue stocks fashion clothing and accessories for men and women, and offers an extensive handbag range.

Visitors to Springfields will also be able to help raise money for service personnel past and present while they shop.

The Royal British Legion has been named as the centre’s official Charity of the Year for 2011/12 following a successful 2010/11 campaign when visitors helped raise £7,310 for Help for Heroes – the highest ever tally for a charity at Springfields.

Visitors will be able to donate to the Legion every day, as there will be collection tins in stores and official merchandise, such as pin badges, brooches, jugs, T-shirts and wristbands, available to buy at the Springfields Information Point.

Lot of events are taking place at the Springfields events centre and Festival Gardens during November. They include a fireworks spectacular, which has a sporting heroes theme, the toy fair on Sunday, 6th November - featuring more than 200 tabletop sales of new and old toys, as well as models and trains – and late night shopping on Thursday, 17th November, which will see the arrival of Father Christmas and the opening of Springfields’ Winter Wonderland Walk and Santa’s Grotto.

SOLICITORS EXPAND
Solicitor Sills & Betteridge is another firm which has expanded its team in Spalding.

The growing Lincolnshire law business, which opened at Welland Workspace in Pinchbeck Road, just over a year ago, has enjoyed a very busy year handling primarily family legal work and was in need of more space for its expanding workforce, and also to allow it to offer a wider range of services.

Staff have now moved into the first floor of the building and the team has also been joined by solicitor Sellina Kauser, who is a member of the Family Law Panel and who worked previously for a Northampton based charity.

Sills & Betteridge partner Caroline Johnson said: “We will now be able to offer a wider range of legal services, including conveyancing which we, up until now, had to refer to other offices.

“We very much welcome Sellina Kauser to the practice and look forward to developing our services now that we have more space.”

JOBS BOOST FOR SPALDING
Spalding is set to benefit from a jobs boost as plans for the expansion of its gas-fired power station move forward.

Independent generating company InterGen, which is behind the £500m proposal, is currently securing financing for the expansion and engaging with construction partners.

It was given the go ahead for its plans by the government last November and it is hoped building work at the site on West Marsh Road will begin next year.

The Spalding Energy expansion, which will see the plant double in size, is expected to create up to 600 construction jobs and forty local permanent jobs when the project is complete.

The plant will emit about fifty per cent less carbon than a traditional coal plant and managers say it will help to ensure security of supply.

InterGen’s European general manager, Mark Somerset said: “InterGen has enjoyed being a part of the Spalding community for nearly ten years, during which time we have forged many strong partnerships. We look forward to building upon these relationships, bringing skilled jobs to the area and boosting local businesses.”

The expanded facility will feature the latest natural gas combined cycle technology (CCGT) to ensure maximum energy efficiency and minimal impact on the environment. It will be among the most efficient electricity generators in the UK.

The expansion represents a substantial investment and will provide 900 megawatts (MW) of additional generating capacity, which is enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately one million homes.The new plant is expected to be operating by 2015.

Sixty new jobs have been created in Spalding by the expansion of the town’s Sainsbury’s store.

The premises in Holland Market are larger and there is a wider choice of goods for customers including increased clothing, electrical and homeware ranges, as well as a new pizza counter.

It also has a new in-store bakery, new pharmacy and a new restaurant as well as a Sainsbury’s groceries online shopping service.

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