Sunnier outlook for Scunthorpe
Enterprise and innovation are helping to boost the prospects of the north Lincolnshire town following recent investments. By Melanie Burton.
Scunthorpe is historically renowned as one of the largest steel processing centres in the UK, with the headquarters of British Steel firmly rooted in the town and steelworks that have been in existence for around 150 years.
The industry is still part of the fabric of town despite the challenges that it has faced for quite a number of years, even before the pandemic.
A new chapter in British steelmaking began, ironically, just before Covid hit when leading Chinese multi-industrial company Jingye Group bought British Steel’s UK assets in March 2020 to put Scunthorpe firmly back on the global map.
Now British Steel is one of the leading steel manufacturers in Europe, producing around three million tonnes of quality steel products every year and with manufacturing facilities across the UK and Europe, supplying premium products around the world.
Last year it invested £100m to support the next stage of its transformation focusing on improving its manufacturing operations and supporting clean growth and now it is looking for 50 new apprentices to join the business.
Heather Bateman, early careers advisor, said: “We have a rich history of recruiting apprentices into our business, so we’re delighted to be maintaining this tradition. The successful candidates will get first-class training from our highly-skilled employees and training partners, and be able to play a valuable role in the growth of the business.”
British Steel HR director, Derek Scott said: “Steel is vital to modern economies and we’re investing in our business and our people to ensure we keep supplying the steel society needs.
“Our transformation is well underway and our new apprentices and graduates will play key roles in helping us build a net zero future.”
Although the historical predominance of the steel industry made Scunthorpe a virtual monotown, there are other industries in the town including food production, distribution and retailing.
Earlier this year planning permission was granted for a ground-breaking high-street concept, which will bring new jobs and new people into the town and one of the UK’s leading construction groups has been appointed to progress the multi-million-pound enterprise and innovation hub in the heart of Scunthorpe town centre.
Galliford Try will complete detailed designs for the £12m redevelopment for North Lincolnshire Council as part of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund. Designs are set to include outstanding collaborative spaces for businesses and licensed café bar.
Leader of North Lincolnshire Council and Towns Fund Board member, Councillor Rob Waltham, said: “The enterprise and innovation hub will be a game-changing addition to the heart of Scunthorpe, welcoming new people to the town centre for new reasons.
“Not only will businesses benefit from the incredible environments and green space; the growth of staff and young professionals will directly support Scunthorpe’s bars and hard-working retailers. It is a real win-win for the high street.”
The innovation hub is one of several projects being delivered to transform Scunthorpe and create a different future. The schemes are funded with £30m of Government cash from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, through the Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund.
They include delivering gigabit broadband to hundreds of businesses, creating an advanced manufacturing park, delivering green energy schemes for schools and community buildings, new cultural experiences, a blue light facility, and hundreds of news homes.
The plans are designed to stimulate the creation of more, better-paid jobs, driving prosperity and ensuring a new future for people who live locally.
Around 900 more commercial properties in Scunthorpe will be able to access gigabit broadband thanks to £150,000 of Government cash which is part of the Government’s £27m Town Deal for North Lincolnshire.
Ultrafast fibre was already installed in parts of Scunthorpe earlier this year and several local businesses have subscribed to the services and are benefiting from the enhanced digital infrastructure already.
Access to ultrafast fibre will enable businesses to benefit from efficiency improvements and cost savings through improved online sales, marketing, ordering and invoicing, as well as enhanced video conferencing and VoIP services, improved access to cloud-based services, and easier document sharing – meaning businesses become more efficient.
This new Government money offered the opportunity for a further £500,000 of private sector investment, to extend the gigabit network into southern parts of Scunthorpe.
An additional £6m of cash from the Government’s Levelling Up agenda has been allocated to increase community pride, enable local businesses to grow and ensure people have the right skills to take advantage of any new jobs.
It is just some of the £2.6bn being spent nationally between now and 2025 through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – which is designed to replace the funding which previously came through EU regional economic development programmes.
Councillor Waltham said: “The Government is backing our plans to keep people safe and well, enable our communities to flourish and the local economy to grow and will mean we have more people completing high-quality skills training.”
The money is designed to support people with no or low-level maths skills to get back into work by offering personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses to improve confidence and numeracy skills.
Alongside this, a new post-16 special free school is being built in Scunthorpe supporting more students to develop important life skills and prepare them for adulthood. Work on the new school is progressing at pace. Called Trent View College, it will provide up to 60 places for pupils aged between 16 and 24 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Students will be expertly supported to develop their skills across a range of subjects including catering, the arts and technology, building on previous learning.
The school is being developed by the council together with the Government’s Department for Education (DfE) and the Wellspring Academy Trust.
The development follows glowing praise from Ofsted for the support that children with SEND receive across the region.
In their report, inspectors highlighted how young people achieve better outcomes, access opportunities and lead better lives in the area.
Cabinet member for Children and Families, Councillor Julie Reed, said: “Having seen the impact of the experience of my son, who needed to go out of county for a specialist college placement, I completely understand how important and valuable it is to have great facilities like this locally.
“This will enable young adults to stay in their community amongst friends and family and provide the opportunity to work with local employers, gaining new skills and important connections to give them the best possible to start to adult life.”
More than 100 independent retailers call Scunthorpe’s High Street and surrounding streets home – selling a wide range of products including fresh food, clothing, sportswear, jewellery, picture frames, shoes, homeware and electronics.
And the communities all around Scunthorpe are being urged to ‘shop local’ in support of their independent traders who help to add to the shopping experience of visitors from further afield.
NLC leader Councillor Rob Waltham said the independent retailers give towns and high streets a diversity which makes them unique.
“There are some fantastic shops and some great places to eat which are all run by people passionate about their products – and about serving their customers,” he said.
“Those people and those products are things which can only be found here and that sets this community apart from the thousands of other towns and high streets across the country.”
Earlier this year Cllr Waltham launched a campaign encouraging people back to their local retailers, to enjoy the range of fresh products on their doorstep together with supporting the local economy and local jobs.
Cllr John Davison, cabinet member for Ashby, Bottesford and Scunthorpe, said: “We know it will be hugely different as people will be here for many different reasons; working, living, and spending time with family friends to enjoy a whole host of leisure and cultural activities.”
Through the pandemic, more than £200m of Government cash was given to people and businesses in the district to help them survive.
SUPPORTING OUR RAILWAYS
Two Scunthorpe area based companies are playing a pivotal role in getting the country back on the right tracks – at least on the railways.
Crowle Wharf Engineers Ltd (CWE), the independent supply, maintenance and logistics partner for the rail industry, has signed a major new contract to overhaul part of Network Rail’s material delivery fleet.
And British Steel has been awarded another major contract extension by Network Rail to provide more rails for its tracks.
CWE Ltd has been providing high-quality engineering solutions since 1966. Specialising in safety-critical engineering for demanding environments, it works with energy, rail and steel companies and their industry service providers.
Its new contract will see it overhaul the draft gear assemblies of Network Rail’s Mk3 Autoballaster fleet which is used to deliver ballast to worksites. They have to undergo scheduled 10-yearly maintenance which includes the requirement to overhaul the draft gear.
In total, the project will see CWE overhaul 24 assembly sets at its Centre of Excellence for Rail, which is based at its facility in Crowle near Scunthorpe.
CWE was chosen as the preferred partner for the project thanks to its long history of providing one of the most comprehensive maintenance and overhaul services in the UK.
The contract win builds on CWE’s existing work with Network Rail, which has seen it manage ad hoc and planned outage support for Network Rail’s rail grinder fleet, overhauling multiple parts within the trains.
“Being appointed by Network Rail to work on this project is testament to our long-standing and proven track record of delivering major overhaul projects for the rail industry.
“This is an extremely important and significant win for CWE as we look to build on our ambition of being a strategic partner for the rail sector,” said Nick Andrew, managing director at CWE.
British Steel’s two-year agreement with Network Rail sees the company retain its position as a principal supplier to the company which operates and maintains Britain’s rail infrastructure.
By the time the contract concludes in March 2024, employees at British Steel’s Scunthorpe headquarters will have supplied Network Rail with more than one million tonnes of rail in a decade.
And in addition to the supply of rails, the contract will also see British Steel build two new developments to further enhance services to Network Rail.
They are a multi-million-pound new storage facility for long length rails and a dedicated train servicing facility to allow essential maintenance to Network Rail’s Rail Delivery Trains.
British Steel’s commercial director for rail, Craig Harvey, said: “This agreement is testament to the high-quality products and services our people deliver, and we look forward to continuing our work with Network Rail to ensure millions of passengers and freight operators enjoy safe, enjoyable and timely journeys.”
The rails – which will largely be used for maintenance and renewals – will be supplied during Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (CP6), which runs until 2024 and is designed to make the railway more reliable and cost-efficient while increasing capacity and building on its reputation as the safest railway in Europe.
Work will start shortly on the new storage and servicing facilities, both of which will be built on British Steel’s Scunthorpe site.
Craig said: “The first facility will provide increased storage of long length rails which is key to providing flexibility, while the servicing facility will increase reliability and performance for trackside deliveries.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “British Steel plays a significant role in delivering our track
“Further investment in the Scunthorpe site enables improved resilience and performance to support the provision of a safe and reliable network for passengers and freight users.”
THE WINTERTON SHOW IS BACK
The Winterton Show (2nd-3rd July) is set to return after two years of cancellations, due to the Covid pandemic. This year the show celebrates its 150th birthday, with the first show having been inaugurated in 1872.
To mark this special event, the Show Committee is organising a fantastic number of amazing entertainments, which it is hoped will be enjoyed by every member of the family.
During both days there will be the usual craft, enterprise and floral marquees, together with numerous trade stands and charity stalls. The large Dowses Funfair will also be present, providing the usual thrills and laughter for all to enjoy.
A classic motor car display, together with vintage tractors and old farm machinery will celebrate yesteryear.
SATURDAY – AGRICULTURAL DAY
• There will be pony show jumping as well as cattle, driving turnouts, sheep and agricultural horses all on display.
• There will be a themed decorated float parade, travelling through the town, down to the showground, led by the Scunthorpe 119 Squadron RAF Air Cadets.
• In the Main Arena there will be the Squibb freestyle stunt team, also the Cavalry of Heroes (horse stunt team), a display of modern farm machinery and the Fyrebird Band.
• In the Second Arena there will be the Vander Wheel Super Heroes and finally the Van Burren Show.
SUNDAY – FAMILY DAY
• In the Main Arena: On the Edge stunt team, Sky Track Kites, and chainsaw demonstrations.
• 10-mile road race and junior football competition.
• Also on Sunday there will be a dog show and the Vander Wheel Super Heroes in the Second Arena and finally the Van Burren Show.
• Music will be provided by The Moggies, the local Sixties band, on the Band Stand, opposite the beer tent, on both days.
As can be seen, this special 150th year is set to be a fantastic weekend, for all to come and enjoy.
NEIL VESSEY OFFERS STORAGE TANK SOLUTIONS
As an established independent business specialising in the supply of new and used storage tanks to all types of industries in the UK and overseas, Neil Vessey can offer fabrication and installation of new steel storage tanks, manufactured at their premises.
Based in North Lincolnshire, the company offers a comprehensive choice of new totally enclosed/fully bunded storage tanks of all sizes and capacities, from 2,500 litres up to 150,000 litres, which are fabricated on site and ideal for storage of diesel and other oil products, as well as leachate and other liquids. Additional services include storage tank disposal management, with onsite asssessments to ensure that all environmental and bunding requirements are met.
“We also stock a wide choice of quality used storage tanks of all types,” explains Neil Vessey. “We pride ourselves on listening to our customers to ensure we supply exactly what they need and we’re happy to offer advice over the phone.”
For more information visit www.neilvessey.com
PERFECT PLAYTIME FOR AGES 0-14
If you’re looking for a clean, safe and stimulating play environment for children up to the age of 14 to let off steam and enjoy themselves, while you kick back and relax in an inviting and comfortable environment, Dandi’s in Skippingdale Retail Park offers the ideal setting.
Here the warm and welcoming dedicated team provide a well thought out, multi-tiered soft play structure which has earned them the reputation as Scunthorpe’s best indoor play area, with specialist play zones for babies, toddlers and juniors, as well as full catering.
Whether you’re looking for the ideal day out to enjoy with the whole family on a rainy day, or somewhere special to host a birthday party or celebration, Dandi’s delivers an affordable solution while also helping to build children’s social skills, general fitness and confidence.
For more information visit www.dandis.net or tel: 01724 852136.
LOW CARBON CONFIRMS SECOND COMMUNITY CONSULTATION ON GATE BURTON ENERGY PARK PROPOSALS WILL LAUNCH ON 22 JUNE 2022
This second consultation exercise will run for six weeks and give people the opportunity to comment on more detailed proposals for the new solar and energy storage park proposed to be built on land near Gate Burton, Lincolnshire.
Gate Burton Energy Park holds the potential to generate around 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity – enough clean energy to power over 160,000 homes and avoid more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.
Feedback submitted to an initial consultation held earlier this year, along with the findings from ongoing environmental and technical studies, has been used to refine proposals for the project.
By registering your details on the project website www.gateburtonenergypark.co.uk information about what is being consulted on and how you can take part will be sent to you direct.
To find out more contact the project community relations team on:
Freephone: 0800 860 6259
Post: Freepost Gate Burton Energy Park
THE BEST IN LIVE ENTERTAINMENT IS RIGHT ON YOUR DOORSTEP
Scunthorpe’s Baths Hall and Plowright Theatre are Lincolnshire’s best kept secrets, offering back-to-back live entertainment for all ages and tastes. This year, as audiences flock back to live venues, there is something for everyone: music, drama, comedy, dance – even live science! Forthcoming highlights include:
Keith Duffy (formerly Boyzone) and Brian McFadden (formerly Westlife), who, as Boyzlife, are bringing their unique brand of power ballads to the Baths on Sunday 23rd October.
Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice’s silky-smooth Strictly skills will grace the Baths Hall stage on Saturday 25th June for a true dance extravaganza.
The Johnny Cash Roadshow (Thursday 30th June at the Baths) is the only show to be endorsed by the Cash family. This will be followed on Friday 1st July by the one and only Dionne Warwick.
Dionne is a five-Grammy award winner and one of the most charted female artists of all time – another night out you simply can’t afford to miss.
If you like to laugh, TV’s Luke Kempner will have you rolling in the aisles with his new show Macho Macho Man on Friday 7th October.
And sport aficionados will never forget an evening with one of cricket’s living legends – Geoffrey Boycott. Sir Geoffrey is appearing at the Plowright on Wednesday 21st September.
Scunthorpe’s theatres are at the heart of the community, and the annual pantomime, Cinderella featuring the one and only Annie Fanny, is a Christmas must-see tradition. Tickets are available from Wednesday 7th December to Saturday 31st December.
For more information, call the box office on 01724 296296 or visit www.scunthorpetheatres.co.uk. And don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter on www.northlincs.gov.uk/theatres-direct bringing you the latest shows and special offers straight to your inbox!
ENJOY FINE FOOD AND A NIGHT OF LUXURY
Here at San Pietro we are incredibly proud of our multi-award winning restaurant with rooms. Our 2 AA rosette fine dining restaurant uses the Sicilian heritage of our chef director Pietro as the inspiration for our menus. Our artistic kitchen team creates a truly unique dining experience that you will be talking about for years to come!
Want to make a night of it? Our beautifully decorated boutique hotel features 14 stylish and luxurious rooms that you will never want to leave. Each room features a luxury Hypnos bed with goose feather pillows, separate bath and rain shower, Wi-Fi, smart TV, minibar and divine Molton Brown toiletries.
We offer a fantastic range of Dinner, Bed and Breakfast packages starting from just £155, and ranging up to our La Dolce Vita package for £395 (includes overnight stay in the Illuminata Suite, flowers, bubbly, cocktail & canapé reception, private dining and more). Whether you are visiting for a unique dining experience, a luxurious overnight stay or both, San Pietro truly is the perfect boutique destination. We look forward to welcoming you.
Visit www.sanpietrouk.com or call 01724 277774 for further information.
JOHN LEGGOTT COLLEGE LAUNCHES NEW 180-DEGREE IMMERSIVE LEARNING SPACE
John Leggott College of West Common Lane, Scunthorpe, has invested £170,000 of Government funding in a state-of-the-art virtual reality learning and skills space. It is designed to impress with its unique purpose and the exciting opportunities available for students and the wider North Lincolnshire community.
This innovative 180-degree technological immersive space allows students in the college to learn and develop with each other and participants from other colleges and establishments. It can be used for many different purposes such as employee interactions, presentations, lectures, careers events, open events and overall enhance the day-to-day learning experience. For example, aspiring lawyers could role play in a virtual courtroom. Similar 3D technological spaces have been created at Wilberforce College in Hull and Franklin College in Grimsby as part of a collaborative Advance Colleges Trust (ACT) project.
The Immersive Space hosted a grand reveal event last month showcasing a demonstration of the new space for students, teachers and representatives of the local community.
The Immersive Space is a 180-degree space. The visual image can be projected onto the floor, which gives the impression that students are involved in the image being presented on the screen; this in turn creates a more realistic experience and has even been compared to a virtual reality headset but for multiple audiences to enjoy.
Not only is it going to be used by students of the college, it is also available externally to other businesses and community groups looking to create realistic experiences with the immersive space.
EXCELLENT AND EFFICIENT LEGAL ADVICE WHEN IT IS NEEDED
Symes Bains Broomer Solicitors has gained a reputation for supplying high quality legal services to the region’s private and commercial communities.
Their legal skills and commitment to the interests of every client have enabled them to become one of the largest and most progressive law firms in the region.
However, they still place great importance on providing a friendly and personal service.
“At Symes Bains Broomer our fundamental goal is to make the lives of our clients easier by supplying consistently excellent and efficient legal advice when it is needed. We aim to be clear and straightforward in our guidance so that problems faced by our clients suddenly become more manageable.
“Achieving these aims and goals can only be possible by having great people with fantastic knowledge and expertise. At Symes Bains Broomer we are proud to have an excellent group of people with deep and detailed knowledge in their chosen specialisms. Many of our staff have been with the firm for a number of years, getting to know clients and developing an innate knowledge of their needs.
“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, we refuse to stand still and we are always looking for new and exciting opportunities.”
Symes Bains Broomer has offices in Scunthorpe and Goole covering North Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and beyond. Due to expansion, the Goole office will be moving to exciting new premises in the summer.
Photographs: Mick Fox