Top 100 digital enterprise companies in 2022

Top 100 digital enterprise companies in 2022 

With a rise in digital companies, a report has been done by Digital Enterprise on the top 100 most digital enterprise companies.  

One hundred of the most digitally transformational, resilient and innovative businesses in the Leeds City Region have been recognised in this year’s Digital Enterprise TOP 100 report, which has been announced following a highly competitive campaign.  

Suzanne Bradbury from Digital Enterprise said: “The quality of entries was extremely high, it was a challenge to pick the top 100”. 

Here are the top 100 digital enterprise companies. 

  1. 9xb- ecommerce without Limits – This is an award winning e-commerce company that builds and supports ecommerce websites. 9xb.com
  1. Abeceder  H2R combines both face to face HR support with a digital HR employment solution that can help manage each aspect of employer employee management correctly. Abeceder.co.uk
  1.  Advancery- This is an award-winning independent IT business which provides dynamic IT services and cloud-based solutions to all businesses throughout the UK. advancery.com
  1. Aeroservices – Aeroservices fulfil a wide range of requirements of clients. It’s a established and preferred distributor of Aviation Spares, Components,  Lubricants and Consumables to MOD forces. aeroservicesltd.com
  1.  Alpha Card- Their Z-fold Card and infinity Folding Cards bridge the printed and digital worlds by using cross-media technology such as: QR Codes, RFID, NFC and AR (Augmented Reality) to deliver versatility. Alpha-cards.com
  1. Amalida- They are a property management agency with over 17 years experience. Takes hassle out of property management, with quick systems, transparent fixed fees and no nasty surprises. Amalida.com
  1. Anthropods – A design and manufacturing enterprise which provides unique and sustainable accommodation solutions. They’re based in N Yorkshire, they combine contemporary product design with computerised production techniques and sustainable materials. Anthropods.co.uk
  1. Arkline – Legal agents who specialise in tracing services and  process serving.  They have a specialised in-house tracing team and a field force who operate nationally. Arklineuk.co.uk
  1.  Ascensor – Award-winning digital transformation agency which help clients to harness  power of digital. It was established in 2007, and can provide data driven software development which include websites, web apps and native apps. Ascensor.co.uk
  1. Assured Marketing – Involved in campaigns across industries such as: events, telecommunications, healthcare and many more. It has specialised in areas of marketing from digital channels to brand management. Assuredmarketing.co.uk
  1. AVIE- contemporary, luxury slow fashion label dedicated to creating elevated and stylish clothes floor desk to dinner versatility. Aviestudio.co.uk
  1. Bishopsound- design and manufacture audio equipment, which deliver the unique and clear British sound we’re renowned for, and Yorkshire is birthplace of some of the most respected British sound manufacturers.  Bishopsound.com
  1. Bow.Gifts- Masterminds the correct gifts for businesses who want to invest their budget into staff, clients and prospects. Strengthens business relationships through cleverly combining the right combination of innovative and unexpected products for clients. Bow.Gifts

14) Candle Digital- Help training providers take expertise online. With consultancy, design and development services , it helps trainers develop online academies, learning hubs and digital learning to grow revenues. Candle.digital

15) CCTV Direct – Main focus is on the customer. At frontline of industry, researching new solutions and regularly developing portfolio of products, in this fast-paced technology sector. 

16) CFA Tax- Qualified Tax advisors and offer advice on most efficient ways to deal with your tax. They aim to spare you from financial headaches, and free up your time by offering a comprehensive service for your taxes. Cfatax.co.uk

17) Clevershot- 

18) Cooperative Innovations – 

19) Creative Marketing Solutions – Long, established full-service marketing agency offering branding, logos, brand management, web design , coding, hosting, optimising and upgrading, SEO/PPC, PR, social media marketing, paid social media advertising, video, photography and print. Cmsadvertising.co.uk

20) Creative Thinking Media –

21) Danny Thompson photography- Commercial brand photographer. Works as a integral part of businesses capturing pro images from staff headshots to products and events, helps businesses develop brand photography,  keeping imagery consistent.    Dannythompsonphotography.com

22) My Leadership Strengths – 

23) Yorkshire Payments 

24) Direct voice and Data

25) Distant Future

26) Doc Abode

27) Eat Out roundabout 

28) Everon Switcher On IT

29) Expense Plus 

30) Experience Heritage

31) Family Fund Services  

32) Flat Stan first aid 

33) Flowing Events 

34) Glean 

35) Good O Food

36) Evri 

37) Howard Conrad

38) Incline Labs 

39) JCAAC 

40) JS IG

41) Kreativeinagency 

42) Lextra Learning 

43) Lofthouse security 

44) Lowe Maintenance 

45) Made By studio 

46) Modo25

47) Mouldsandco

48) Mycloud Media 

49) Nautilus Education 

50) Network Scientific

51) Northern Media 

52) Orchard House solutions 

53) Piccalilly 

54) Power Mark 

55) Propel your product 

56) Rainbow Trout films 

57)  Red Tronic 

58) Reel Film 

59) RFPLC

60) Rob Beadle

61) Sales Star

62) Semper Fli

63) Shoo Social Media 

64) Bubul expert 

65) Skills Forge 

66) Social Progress 

67) SOS Marketing 

68) Sparkle Communicaions 

69) Sticky To

70) Ikoustic 

71) Strength and conditioning education

72) Study Linlks 

73) SuccessEmy

74) synap 

75) Tailor made media 

76) The Link training 

77) Time Tele

78) Time outdoors 

79) Translate UK

80) Ultra Accountancy 

81) Underwood training 

82) Vapour Cloud 

83) Visible thoughts 

84)  Dry eye and Me 

85) Volta compliance 

86) Wetherby Business Centre 

87) English with an expert 

88) Wildfire 

89) Wise owls Learning

90) yes school 

10 worthy of special recognition 

91) Power Sheds

92) Maxton Designs

93) National Safety Inspections

94) 6B Digital

95) Coptrz

96) NGC Networks

97) Jorvik Group

98) White label loyalty

99) Untha

100) Dempseydyer

  

 

CHARITIES INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM THEIR FUTURE WITH THE HELP OF WEB DEVELOPERS

Most charities are so hyper-focused on the important work they deliver, that they don’t invest in their marketing, explains a leading web design agency who specialises in transforming the websites of charities. Huddersfield based agency, Fallen Leaf Design have recently completed a ‘game-changing’ website for national charity, Association of Child Protection Professionals. Helping the charity reach that next level by improving their efficiency to create more members, and inevitably to make a bigger impact on those they serve. 

Company Director, Adam Welsh, said: “Charities deserve to capitalise on digital technology, and it can ensure their sustainable success too. We want to use technology to create change and impact on people’s lives. Having a great website can reduce business admin, drive revenue and be a cost-effective shop front without massive overheads. We’re not just a web design company we’re a solutions provider,” said Adam Welsh, 39, owner of Fallen Leaf Web Design. 

Adam and his team of five turned his passion into a business nine years ago and now specialises in helping charities streamline their business, but most of all enable them to serve more people. 

“We love working with charities because we can use technology to really help them focus on the important work they’re doing,” added Adam who has just completed his latest website for York-based charity AoCPP. 

AoCPP are a charity that support and train the people that support vulnerable children and young adults in the UK. 

AoCPP had an existing website which was costly to maintain, and they were on an annual contract with limited options. Fortunately, the charity were referred to Fallen Leaf and were seen as the ‘right fit’ to help them achieve their goals. Fallen Leaf Web Design could take the charity from feeling stuck to sustainable. The new website is now more accessible for visually impaired individuals, cognitively impaired, deaf or hard of hearing and an aging population. Director Adam says “70% of UK websites currently exclude 20% of the population which means that these site visitors never return. By making simple changes to the website, we can improve how long visitors stay on the website, and who can access the information.”

The team at Fallen Leaf are able to use their expert knowledge to transform any website with their advanced technical solutions which make it easier for the client to use.

“AoCPP are a membership organisation, so the objective was to streamline the member process, signpost information easier and allow the charity to reduce admin tasks and increase memberships, which ultimately helps their charity to make a return on their investment” explained Adam who always wants to make sure the third sector get as much value from their marketing activities as possible. 

Charity spokesperson, Helen Wilson said “Adam and the team at Fallen Leaf Web Design worked closely with us to understand our organisation and to help us become clearer about what a high functioning, good quality website could do for us.  The project was well managed and collaborative from the start. The new site was delivered ahead of schedule and has already generated an increase in memberships for the AoCPP and given us the ability to manage more of our events via the website freeing up our valuable administrative resource to concentrate on other work.  We will continue to work with Fallen Leaf as they support us to develop the e-commerce element of our income generation strategy. The down-to-earth, approachable, and can-do attitude of this company make them a pleasure to work with.”

The website (https://www.childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk) now allows for e-commerce, a new member’s platform and the charity can sell events through the platform, reducing their business admin.

To Fallen Leaf, it’s a simple solution but for the charity it has been a game changer. 

“What we’ve done for the charity has really laid that foundation for them – they’ve got the platform to really build on which they didn’t have before. The website makes a real impact and is much clearer in it’s proposition and communication with members and site visitors.

Fallen Leaf Web Design proudly say that they are always looking for their web solutions to generate revenue for the business, is the right fit and produces exceptional value. Many agencies can create a website, but where Fallen Leaf excel is with the planning, understanding of the objectives and taking a holistic approach. “For our team it’s about making an impact not just making a profit,” Adam added. 

Fallen Leaf Web Design now works with many charities after discovering the benefits they could offer non-profits.

Adam said: “We call the third sector ‘profit for good’ organisations as we know that they do need to drive a revenue and save money to do more good in the world.” 

For more information on Meltham based company Fallen Leaf Web Design, go to: https://www.fallenleafwebdesign.co.uk

Collaboration, co-production and content creation is key to growth and here’s how you can do it

If you’re looking at promoting and growing your organisation so that it’s sustainable you need start creating, collaborating and co-producing content. These may sound like ‘just’ buzzwords but having a collaborative model is vital for your marketing, your organisation and those they wish to serve. For this reason the world of business is shifting to empower ‘clients’ and ‘experts by lived experience’ to inform their products and services.

Here Sophie Mei Lan explains…

I set up Sparkle Community Media CIC to help organisations to connect, grow and serve more people beyond their current reach through co-producing raw, real and relatable content for their own platforms and to be featured in the mainstream media.

We do this by co-creating written and digital content and training their organisation in a range of communications skills. We also encourage them to collaborate with their customers to create content, develop products and their services, or better still create user-generated content. 

Not only is this vital for community organisations who are delivering essential  services to hear the voices of those they work alongside but it is vital to promote what they’re doing and to develop on their strengths. 

Here are some tips to start building collaboration into your schedule:

– Look at what’s strong, not what’s wrong with those you work with: Play to your strengths as a team. I am co-running a Digitally Active project to enable neurodivergent digital entrepreneurs to gain employment through media training. We have witnessed first hand how much talent is being missed by organisations overlooking someone because of their ‘disability,’ rather than looking at how their organisation could be disabling their team to thrive. 

– Collaboration is key: Collaborate with others with complementary skills. This may be internally within your team or using external partners. Depending on your offer, onboard key partners to deliver. 

– Build a community: Engage people with your mission, your product or service. Use this online community to support and listen to your customers. We recently rebranded our influencer marketing group to Sparkle Content Creators Collaborative because we’re a community and we want to support those we work with to prosper not just feel like ‘numbers of followers.’ We’re passionate about making media content with meaning and encouraging others to do so. We realised how influencers’ are at a high risk of mental health problems so we want to help them feel as well and confident as possible when making content though a supportive peer-to-peer platform.

– Co-produce your services and content: Coproduction blurs boundaries between those delivering and receiving products. See people as the assets they are and by working together you can achieve a collective and better outcome. 

Whether we’re developing our own media platforms, delivering media services or communications training, we always try to engage a range of voices to deliver the best outcome possible. 

We are a social enterprise so our profits are then re-invested back into delivering community media projects alongside marginalised communities to improve mental health and wellbeing. 

To collaborate with us, you can follow me @SophieMeiLan and go to: https://sparklecommunications.co.uk 

— 

Best Wishes 

Sophie Mei Lan 

Peace, Love & Sparkle!

Chicago: The musical is back- what we expected and more | Review

When the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history CHICAGO lands on your doorstep, as a CHICAGO fan it would ‘be criminal to miss it.’

But how did it live up to my stiletto high expectations?

CHICAGO, dubbed by the Metro as the ‘sexiest musical ever’ has been in Leeds for one week (until– Saturday 14 May 2022 when it continues its UK tour).

The cast too had a lot to live up to with one of the world’s greatest classical singers, Russell Watson, starring as Billy Flynn, and Three Degrees soul sensation Sheila Ferguson starring as Mama Morton, joining Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes (Dancing On Ice, Grease, Legally Blonde) as Roxie Hart, West End star Djalenga Scott (Annie, Chicago, West Side Story) as Velma Kelly, Jamie Baughan as Amos Hart and B.E. Wong as Mary Sunshine.

CHICAGO: The Review

The razzle dazzle of the cast and the grim backdrop of the prison cell combined with outstanding vocals and seamless choreography, makes this legendary musical a must-see regardless of how many times you may have seen it previously.

I had been nervous prior to show that it would be worth the ‘night out’ after a long day, but the show didn’t stop impressing from start to finish.

I was only concerned when I watched the cast begin to slide down the bannister of the cell but as they did with everything in slinky and sassy fashion. And my expectations were surpassed time and time again.

CHICAGO: The story

Set amidst the decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.

Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, CHICAGO’s sexy, sassy score includes the show-stopping songs Razzle Dazzle, Cell Block Tango, and All That Jazz.  Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, Book now.

CHICAGO is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 May 2022.

FROM FEELING ISOLATED AND HOUSE BOUND TO SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH CLIENTS AND BUILDING A COMMUNITY BUSINESS FOR OTHERS

– A former special needs teacher who became housebound when experiencing a mental breakdown has created an online group, The Calm Mind Community, to stop others feeling alone and isolated.

– Methley-based mother Abi Fenton, 38, left her job as teacher to become a holistic healer and now runs Reiki group sessions, as well as one to one sessions to help her clients feel confident to get back into society.

– Reiki Healer, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reflexologist Abi shares tips and advice as well as her own personal story and struggles within The Calm Mind Community online group to help improve mental health for everyone.

– Abi also fundraises every year for the Leeds Mind charity. This year she is facing her fears and jumping out of a plane.

– Mum-of-two Abi has gone from “struggling to manage with my own mental health to supporting others to heal.”

– Abi is running a FREE mini course throughout Mental Health Awareness Week.

Leeds mum is on a mission to improve mental health for everyone.

A former special needs teacher who became housebound when experiencing a mental breakdown has created a safe space, The Calm Mind Community online, for people to feel part of a group of like minded people to reduce isolation.

Methley-based mother Abi Fenton, 38, left her job as teacher to become a holistic healer and to help others build up their confidence to feel less isolated and more connected with others and society.

When suffering with Mental Health problems people become isolated due to a negative mindset stopping them from having the confidence to be out in a variety of situations.

People may express that they feel ‘nobody wants me’, ‘I am not important to anyone’, ‘it feels safer to be alone’ or ‘I feel isolated and trapped within myself’.

This fear or panic about what others think about us can affect our work, social and personal life. Anxiety and Depression can also make us feel isolate and disconnected within our own mind, body and soul.

Leeds Mum-of-two Abi, wants to help others after her own recovery journey from “struggling to manage with my own mental health to supporting others to heal.”

The Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP & IEMT practitioner, Reiki Healer and Reflexologist chose to train in complementary therapies after being off work with suspected chronic fatigue.

Abi said: “I was off work as a teacher for a very long time, trapped within my own home when I initially was very ill, breathless, dizzy and I couldn’t leave the house.

“But all checks came back negative but when I questioned Anxiety, they said it could be, so I didn’t have chronic fatigue, they just gave me that title as they didn’t know what else was wrong.”

Her condition turned out to be health anxiety, a surging mental illness across the UK as a result of the Pandemic.

Abi said: ”A lot of my clients often come to see me and have no confidence or belief in themselves which makes them very isolated from society and within themselves. They avoid situations or make up excuse to not have to attend events, or their anxiety and panic have so much control over them they feel they wouldn’t be able to cope out in the world.

One of Abi’s clients expressed how “it helped me get out of my own head and focus on what is going on around me. It gave me confidence, I don’t doubt myself as much so I’m not stuck inside my own head feeling lonely.’’

Abi added: “I have also noticed a large increase of clients coming to see me due to the pandemic and they have said they may have always had some anxiety or stress but the pandemic has heightened this and that it is now affecting their life and they are seeking support.”

We can reduce loneliness by connecting with ourselves, others and the world around us, explained Abi.

Abi often finds with the majority of her clients that they have lost that connection with who they are, so she does a lot of work on self belief, self worth, self love and confidence which then influences how they engage with others and the world too.

Abi said: “I didn’t know how to support myself with my mental health, back in 2010 when I had my breakdown and turning point moment.

“But through taking a holistic approach to my wellbeing and with the right support I was able to recover and use my experience to support others.”

She has since retrained as a complementary therapist and set up her own business in Methley, Leeds as well as working online and creating The Calm Community Facebook group.

Often people think they are the only ones also suffering or feeling this way. But one of the members of The Calm Mind Community said: “You often get in the mindset of thinking you’re the only one struggling with something, and then in the group someone will say ‘me too’ and that really helps, to know it’s not just you!’’

Recently Abi has started Group Reiki sessions to allow like minded people to come together and share healing. People in the group said that ‘’I really like the group reiki it’s lovely to chat to like minded people and make potential new friends.’’

She now wants to raise awareness, and share her own journey to help Leeds Mind, a charity close to her heart.

Abi who has a treatment and therapy room at home in West Yorkshire, Leeds said: “I wanted to challenge myself this year with my sky dive because more than ever we need to support everyone with their mental health and Mind do such vital work.

“I have always feared heights and I remember as a child an awful event when I clung to the sides of a building due to fear. With all the therapies I have trained in I am now much better with heights, however I do know I will be using some self hypnosis and other healing in preparation to the jump.’’

To donate, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abi-fenton1

Abi’s passionate about supporting as many people with their Mental Health as possible so she has created a FREE mini course that runs throughout Mental Health Awareness week in a private Facebook group to teach people how to reconnect, realign and rebalance within to help with isolation and other symptoms of Mental Health.

Sign up to the FREE mini course via this link to support your Mental Health during the week of 9th May and reduce loneliness.

Or for more information and to book a treatment, go to:

You can also find Abi Fenton on Social Media at:

5 TIPS to not feeling isolated this Month.

● Embrace in the things that you enjoy, get creative and share with others. Maybe even look to see if there are groups or communities online or in person that share similar interests to you?

● Connect with your emotions, journal, talk to friends or family or even a therapist. Reflect and accept that all emotions are valid.

● Love who you are, we are all unique let’s celebrate all your wonderful qualities.

● Use nature to try and reconnect with yourself.

● Treat yourself to a little gift, it doesn’t have to be anything big (it can be as small as 5 mins to sit and have a cuppa or a bath), but this helps you feel worthy.

Remember that you are not alone in this, there are many people in the world who feel the same as you.

There are also people who care about you and want to help and support you through these times, accept that support there is no shame in accepting help.

Life is a learning journey.

@AbiFentonTherapies

https://www.abifentontherapies.com/

Social Enterprises join together to support LGBTQ+ Young people who fear “homelessness”

A Community Theatre and Media Project to Support LGBT Young Adults has launched.

Around half of LGBTQ+ identifying young people said they feared if they were open about their identity to family members, they may be evicted. A further 64 percent of LGBTQ+ young people say that homelessness has made it difficult to have friendships and other relationships–these deeply disturbing figures come from the Albert Kennedy Trust’s LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report 2021.

A previous AKT report based on data from Centrepoint (2018) found that around 24 percent of young people who are homeless identify as LGBT, and that figure is probably higher. Homeless particularly effects trans, gender non-binary and LGBTQ+-identifying young people with a disability.

Not enough people know how large scale this problem is–but Empath Action CIC working together with Community Media CIC would like to help change that. 

Our highly praised stage show “The Man in the Moon” debuted as a project part-funded by Wakefield Council’s Festival of the Moon in August of 2019 for #WordFest. 

Now, thanks to a generous grant from Nova’s Live Well Wakefield’s Small Grants Programme, we will restage the play in February 2023 for four shows, with an incredible community element running the year up to then that will see a group of LGBT+ young people (18-24) from across the District work with us to develop and facilitate the play.

Our LGBT+ theatre practitioners will learn about writing, creating props, management, acting and staging theatre in a community setting and grow their connections, their sense of place, and their understanding of working in the arts and community sectors. 

Empath Action CIC Director Steven Busfield says of The Man in the Moon: A Community Rising:

“This theatre show was always intended to draw attention to the desperately high rates of homelessness and home insecurity suffered by LGBTQ+ youth. To be able to restage this play is incredible, but to be able to do so while engaging directly with LGBTQ+ young adults who can also feel cut-off and culturally isolated from the Arts is an indescribable privilege. We at Empath are so grateful for the Live Well Wakefield team’s belief in this project and the positive difference it can make for our participants and the wider community.”

As part of The Man in the Moon: A Community Rising, we have also formed a partnership with Community Media CIC (sparklecommunications.co.uk), a social enterprise focusing on empowering people through new media. This partnership will enable our group of LGBTQ+ young people to gain a crash course in how to use social media in a healthy and enriching way to promote The Man in the Moon and their own work, to make connections, and to form support networks.

CEO Sophie Mei Lan says of the project: “We love working delivering communications training to ensure all voices are heard in society and in the media. By sharing stories we can improve one another’s mental health but help people to feel connected too. 

“Many young people consume a lot of content online but still feel disconnected, so we want to help transform people into content creators so that their voice is also heard in a powerful way. 

Empath will be focusing on the expressive work in person whereas we will support them to express online – all in a positive holistic way.”

If you identify as LGBTQ+ and are aged between 18-24 and live in the Wakefield District and would like to be involved in our play, please don’t hesitate to email us at hi@empathaction.org.

Free Digital Skills and Community Journalism course as unemployment soars alongside digital exclusion

Free Digital Skills and Community Journalism course for Wakefield/ Yorkshire residents with learning disabilities as unemployment soars alongside digital exclusion. 

– Digital exclusion rife with the Pandemic exasperating issues as people now rely on digital technology more than ever before. But much of the online world simply “shut out” people with special needs. Yet a lot of people with neurodivergent minds and SEN aspire to work in digital. 

– Less than 6 percent of Adults with SEND are in employment in Yorkshire and women fare worse 

– A large proportion of disabled people are unemployed or economically inactive, the rate has risen from 45.9% to 47.7% last year with employers even less likely to take on disabled employees. 

– Statistically speaking, people are most likely to be excluded from digital spaces if they are living with a disability, experiencing poverty, facing language barriers or long-term health conditions; and in Leeds alone, tens of thousands of adults are offline or lack essential digital skills – with that number rising to 11.9 million people across the UK.

– A new course aims to empower digital entrepreneurs and content creators with Special Educational Needs to give them the voice, choice and skills to start their journey into a digital career. From a job in digital to starting their own blog or running a social media marketing business. Learning key digital skills are not only sought after tools for digital enterprises but for all organisations plus they are transferable. 

– The excision world of digital can open an abundance of opportunities but currently it’s exposing and reflecting barriers people with special needs face in society today. 

– Reduce digital exclusion and creating the content to cause change as we hear the voices of those ‘shut out’ by a lot of the online world through our Digitally Active Project. 

With soaring unemployment, digital exclusion and a lack of opportunities for those with special educational needs (SEN) following the Pandemic, a new course aims to “give hope” and up-skill people with an interest in digital.

“We want to look to the future rather than focus on the detrimental impact the Pandemic has had on already disadvantaged people.

“We hope to empower participants to start creating content, sharing stories and most of all to give people confidence,” said Julie a course organiser and co-founder of Digitally Active whose son is on the autism spectrum.

“Unless you want to do cooking or gardening there’s not a lot to choose from,” explains Julie Crossfield. 

Julie’s son is a keen sports blogger and social media marketeer so what was available pre-Pandemic wouldn’t have harnessed his skills in these areas. 

Julie and other parents have also witnessed that employers are now even more cautious to take on disabled employees, volunteers and provide work experience due to having to deal with the rising cost of living and the impact Covid continues to have on their business. 

“They worry they’ll have the time to show new employees and volunteers the skills needed to carry out jobs but that’s where we come in to ensure that all our trainees feel confident in what they can offer,” added Julie. 

 A huge part of training is the confidence building as it’s not always a “skills gap but a promotional lack” as many ‘disabled’ people don’t even get to the interview process or have the confidence to apply with a large proportion of disabled people unemployed or economically inactive,” said Sophie Mei Lan who delivers Community Journalism and Content Creation Training to communities through the project, CoActive Arts and Community Media CIC. 

The national unemployment rate of disabled people has risen from 45.9% to 47.7% last year with employers even less likely to take on disabled employees. 

As it’s such a big issue Digitally Active have joined up with Wakefield Charity CoActive Arts which brings together adults with learning disabilities and provides a space to belong for everyone. 

CoActive co-founder Jody Gabriel, said: “The social model of disability tells us that we have to change the environment to accommodate the person, while the medical model of disability would prefer to change or treat the person so that they fit in better with their environment. This digital skills and journalism course promises to do both. Make adjustments to the work place and give support so people with atypical cognition can thrive and navigate the situation, while at the same teaching skills so people can fit in and function in the digital world. It’s about playing to our strengths.”

CoActive and Digitally Active are piloting their first free digital skills course in order to train and empower budding digital entrepreneurs and content creators with Special Educational Needs to give them the voice, choice and skills to start their journey into a digital career. From a job in digital to starting their own blog or running a social media marketing business. 

“Learning key digital skills are not only sought after tools for digital enterprises but for all organisations because they are transferable. 

“I have witnessed from my community media work alongside people with impairments that by making necessary adaptations and forging a more inclusive environment, with the right processes and technologies, many people are able to work and actually have some much greater skills in specific areas,” added Sophie. 

The team behind the project which is funded by the UK’s Community Renewal Fund hope that this will grow into an enterprise on its own and connecting businesses with talented trainees to carry out a range of digital jobs. 

“In many incidences, people have lost the confidence to seek employment or they need support to even access the relevant opportunities online. So we hope to start to change the rhetoric around disabled people and their ‘lack of potential’, because not only are these humans missing out but the world is a much poorer place without their powerful voices.”

The 5-week training course for neurodivergent adults and/ or those with disabilities in a range of content creation, digital skills and communications which has been part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

To book, contact: Julie.crossfield@icloud.com or go to: https://www.yorkshirefamilies.co.uk/work-with-us-join-our-team/

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.   For more information,

visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund- prospectus

The Curious Incident of the Dog — Reviewin the Night

Startled by the initial blast of sound we were brought to attention by the sensory overload experienced by Christopher, played expertly by David Breeds. Christopher then brought us into his world experiencing safety in prime numbers and exact details of memory. Looking at the stage it was as if we were entering Christopher’s mind with the impact of his experience illuminated on the walls of the box. However, certain images and signs shouted and loomed over him so much that they would not, could not be contained in the box.

Balance was regained by Christopher articulating his thoughts by giant workings out on the floor that illuminated the stage graph paper walls. His Special Needs mentor Siobhan, played by Rebecca Root,was his ever comforting voice reminding him of how to work through and cope with his anxiety. Siobhan at other times was Christopher’s voice equally as convincing. His parents Ed, played by Tom Peters, and his mother Judy, played by Kate Kordel, were characters in whom he placed trust yet both vexing in their particular ways. They carried the audience into the drama and complexity of adult relationship exposing their individual limits yet love for their son.

Other characters played the scenario of those in Christopher’s everyday life and revealed how he could trust no one, as all fell short of his expectations. Having experienced London with our autistic son who found the impact of the cacophony of sight and sound excruciating, both Breeds acting and the stage audio visual were true to life. After such an ordeal for both Christopher and the audience the later inclusion of live animal was a welcome relief. Carried along with Christopher’s triumph of having achieved what at one time seemed impossible, we were nevertheless reminded by Kordel’s parting expression of feeling unable to answer Christopher’s question ‘I can do anything now can’t I?’ This play is a must see both for great acting, stage direction effects and the mix of shared trauma, heart-warming humour and illumination/education of the lived experience of autism.

GET RECYCLING, REUSING AND SWAPPING PRELOVED GOODS AT THE RIDINGS – an eco-conscious guide

From refillable detergent bottles and shampoo to recycled cartons, free little library, charity shops and now swap shop – there are a number of ways Wakefield’s community hub at The Ridings Shopping Centre is helping eco-conscious customers to recycle, reuse and reduce their carbon footprint.

As you enter the centre from Kirkgate, you will see the British Heart Foundation where you can donate or buy second hand furniture. Our first stop just up from there is Superdrug where you can recycle medication packages, then further along is Eco-baby where you can donate or buy preloved baby goods and donate bras too. 

Then it’s Swap Shop time – a new initiative from The Ridings Shopping Centre designed to support the community and the environment. 

Swap shop

We know how clothes can cost the earth with fast fashion being one of the highest polluting industries in the world, aside from oil and gas. So it’s important to reduce our waste as much as possible and what better way to that than this new space which incorporates the Free Little Library (book swap), a clothes exchange and seating area… 70s style. 

You will be able to borrow, swap or bring in items you no longer want, but other people may find useful!

But before this new initiative is ready to launch they need your help and let’s face it we all need a good declutter. 

They need donations to add to the items they already have, they are looking for:

👉 Books

👉 Magazines

 👉Toys

👉 Board games

👉 CDs

👉 DVDs

👉 Albums / vinyl

👉 Computer console games

 

Donations can be left at the customer service lounge on the upper mall next to Boots. 

On your way up you also pass Morrisons where you can donate to your local food bank or recycle old batteries too.

Across from the Customer Services you’ll find Created in Yorkshire where you can buy refillable shampoos, soap and fabric conditioner as well as up-cycled products. 

 

Wakefield Antiques Centre is also full of quirky vintage treats. 

 

Along your way through the mall you’ll see “Makey Wakey” signs which features a cultural hubbub of arts, third sector organisations and creative offerings, run by The Arthouse.  

One of the suppliers to some of these organisations is Crafting for Good CIC which reuses and recycles craft supplies. 

 

You’ll also see recycling bins throughout the centre and a range of craft and vinyl fayres as well as the Wakefield Hospice shop. 

 

Where will be your first stop?

 

For more information, go to ridingscentre.com 

TikTok tips for businesses + meet the Bradford businesswoman booming on TikTok

With 500 million daily active users TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms of the decade but with so much else on the marketing agenda in business, why and how should we use it?

Here AD:VENTURE ambassador Sophie Mei Lan (https://community media network.co.uk / https://sparklecommunications.co.uk) also shares why she has stopped “messing about dancing” on the platform and is starting to use it to grow her business, while still having fun.

Sophie also speaks to some local businesses who have made it ‘big’ on the platform. 

Why is TikTok important for businesses?

It is not all about dance moves, it’s a subtle marketing strategy whether it be for your brand, driving a cause or selling products, paid for advertising doesn’t always make an impact. 

  • 36% of consumers use ad-blockers 

This is a more natural and organic way of growing a community, building your audience and connecting with your customers.

As a start-up brand and micro-business (which makes up most of the businesses in the UK) it can be hard to compete to make a noise but your strength is your authentic voice and skillset.

Larger brands have to try mimic more personable ‘raw’ content whereas smaller brands tend to have less red tape and can experiment using TikTok. 

Here are a few statistics, from Social Pilot, that show why a business cannot afford to ignore TikTok: 

  • It has 500 million active users globally
  • With 33 million downloads in Q1, 2019, it was the most downloaded app on the AppStore
  • It is available in 155 countries
  • 90% of TikTok user access the app multiple times a day
  • On average, 1 million videos are viewed on TikTok daily
  • TikTok users spent $2.3 billion on in-app purchases in 2021, a 77% increase from 2020. So, you really can’t afford to miss the boat — your competitors sure won’t.

But does TikTok actually result in sales?

At the bus stop recently, I spotted an identical water bottle to the one I had just purchased off TikTok for my daughter, the woman had also bought it off TikTok and I also recognised when exploring wholesale sites for products. 

It was a perfect example of how small brands are capitalising on TikTok for drop shipping products or even selling their services. 

You’ll be glad to know, or surprised, that this app is more than just for kids, as She Talks Cars, founded by Abigayle Andre explains: “I create car content to help inform UK drivers on news, reviews and help them to make informed car-buying decisions.” Her platform is made up of established UK drivers who follow Abigayle to influence their purchasing of luxury motors. 

The Bradford-based entrepreneur talks business too as she has had more than 2 million views to a short useful video she made for a client, which resulted in hundreds of their app downloads not to mention receiving a number of messages from her community explaining how they have purchased a vehicle as a result of her guidance.

Abigayle, an automotive journalist, content creator, and serial entrepreneur, says:  “I love cars and I love helping people. So it works well.

“TikTok has brought me some amazing opportunities and also created an amazing community of like-minded people who love cars who I enjoy engaging with. It’s like a family.” 

Abigayle’s shares her top three TikTok growth tips: 

  • Give Value For FREE 

What do you know about it? What are you passionate about? Use your channel to educate others on that topic, you may think people already know this stuff. But you’d be surprised how much value YOU have. 

  • Put Your Audience FIRST 

Always create with the audience in mind, this can be hard to figure out at first. So get started on what you think will help others and what you’re passionate about and as people start asking questions or talking about specific things, lean into that! 

–  Be Consistent 

Post 3-4 times per day for at least the first 2-4 weeks. Then make sure you post every day and keep the theme of your channel consistent. 

TikTok has transformed the life of the Bradford-based businesswoman Abigayle who has also developed a personal brand alongside her businesses thanks to the platform. 

She started sharing her motoring knowledge in the second Lockdown and has since accelerated to success, landing deals with the UK’s largest brands after going viral on the popular social media platform. 

Abigayle said: “I have always had a love of cars and would read every motoring magazine and newspaper as a child.  I started working for the Volkswagen Group in customer relations which sewed the seeds to where I am today.” 

Trailblazer Abigayle has become a brand ambassador and presenter for a range of selective brands, after launching @SheTalksCars on TikTok in Lockdown Two. 

She said: “I just wanted to give consumers the confidence to buy or, as I often advise, lease a vehicle, that is both value for money and stylish. 

“I talk a lot about electric cars too because consumers are more conscious these days and I want to help them discover a motor that embodies all their needs because your vehicle says a lot about you.

“It’s been a whirlwind receiving so many offers from brands and opportunities but I am selective about who I work with as I have to believe what they do as my followers come first to me.”

Abigayle who has acquired 55k followers within months, receives tens of messages daily from grateful customers 

“My followers deserve honest up-to-date advice and I take that responsibility seriously.”  

We spoke to businesses who were also flying on the platform to discover their top tips. 

Top tips on using TikTok for businesses: 

  • Be first on the trends: If you see something trending, add your angle to it to tie in with your business. 
  • Be concise: Follow a format e.g. Hook (Problem), Agitate and Solve. 
  • Tell short stories: Be creative in how you tell stories but human stories work.
  • Choose a niche so you are speaking to a clear audience. 
  • Collaborate with other users in your field or related.
  • Cross-purpose content: Yes, original content on each platform is ideal but let’s be realistic when starting out. Choose a primary social media platform to focus on and focus on creating native content on that then share and tweak on other platforms.
  • Create React Videos or do duets with people talking about relevant topics. 
  • Influencer Marketing: Pay or gift keys influencers on the platform to promote your product/service.
  • Life hacks or teaching: If creating entertaining content isn’t your main goal on the platform, create engaging content linked to your business #learnontiktok or #lifehacks e.g. How to use TikTok to grow your business.

How have you found TikTok so far? 

For a range of free courses, support and tips to grow your business, go to: https://www.ad-venture.org.uk