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Yorkshire Water best water company in England for customer service

July 30th, 2021

Yorkshire Water has been rated the top water company in England in a customer satisfaction survey. The firm has been awarded a score of 78.3 in The Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index, which is based on customer reviews and feedback, and sits above the national average of 77.4.

Rated as the top water company in England, Yorkshire Water also came fifth in the list of all UK utilities and scored particularly well in the ‘experience’, ‘customer ethos’, ‘emotional connection’ and ‘ethics’ categories. Yorkshire Water’s score improved by 4.2 points since July 2020.

 The company attributes the uplift to the hard work and focus that colleagues have given to customer experience over the last year, by redefining its strategy and driving service improvements, including its recently launched website. The new site has improved customer experience by making it easier for customers to ‘self serve’ by having access to advice for frequently asked questions, improved incident mapping or being able to paying their bill online.
Customers often provide feedback to Yorkshire Water, in the form of ‘WOW! Award’ nominations – which aim to highlight great customer service. Jessica Roche, head of customer experience strategy at Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re thrilled with the latest results as shows the hard work is paying off to ensure we’re supporting customers in the best way possible – along with the more obvious improvements to customer facing platforms, there’s also lots going on behind the scenes. We’re training and coaching our customer service teams so that they can continue to support the communities we serve. In the last 12 months we have provided 60,000 customers with financial support and helped an additional 12,000 customers get the tailored support they need through our Priority Services Register. Our colleagues have continued to provide our essential services to customers during the global pandemic ensuring that at all times customer can rely on us and we will continue to keep making positive changes to our customer experience.”

Brews with the BID city centre recovery meetings get underway

July 14th, 2021

BRADFORD BID is hosting a series of special events to help businesses network while finding out more about the organisation and its plans to help boost the city centre’s recovery and development.

Bradford Business Improvement District (BID), the limited company funded by levy-payers to help promote and develop the city centre, will stage four quarterly “Brews With The BID” – with free tea and coffee at the top of the agenda. The morning get-togethers will take place at the Midland Hotel, in Forster Square, and will also provide a face-to-face opportunity to talk to the BID team about ideas for improving the district’s core retail, office, hospitality and leisure zone.

Business engagement officer Nikki Chadburn said: “Brews With The BID are exclusive networking meetings which will occur around four times a year. There are more than 600 BID member business and organisations – all the key players in the city centre – and these meetings are a great opportunity for any or all of them to come together, share good practice and hear news and updates from Bradford BID. Our aim is to create strong partnership working between all our member businesses and members and to help them feel part of a special club all working together in the city’s interests, with access to exclusive benefits, updates and, importantly, a voice. The BID belongs to the members who pay into it via the annual levy and it’s vital that their priorities, suggestions and concerns regarding the aspects of the city and it’s day-to-day life that the BID can deliver on are heard and incorporated into our plans.”

The first of the Brews With The BID events will take place next week, on Wednesday, July 21, and will start from 8.30am. There will be an overview presentation from Bradford BID, including updates about city centre plans, as well two guest speakers from LoyalFree, who operate the BID’s smartphone app for trails and offers, and from the Darley Street Market development. Each meeting will have a particular topic or theme with a variety of guest speakers.

Bradford BID manager Jonny Noble said: “We’re really pleased to be able to start holding events like this again after the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. Creating opportunities for networking is an extremely important part of the BID’s role, bringing people together to talk about the challenges the city centre is facing and listening to their ideas about how we should be tackling them and what our priorities should be is vital. The last 18 months have been tough for all businesses and it’s great to be able to meet up with some of those people who make Bradford such a great place in which to live, work, shop and spend your leisure time. But it’s also a brilliant chance for business in every sector to talk to each other about how they have been coping and to share their experiences, their hopes and their plans as we work to get Bradford fully back to normal and moving ahead.”

To register to attend the first Brews event, businesses need to fill in the form on the BID website at

Yorkshire Building Society announces partnership to digitally upskill people in Bradford from ethnic minority backgrounds

July 14th, 2021

Yorkshire Building Society has announced pilot partnership with Good Things Foundation to provide digital skills training to 150 people from ethnic minority backgrounds in Bradford to help with employability prospects. The partnership forms part of the Society’s commitment to put £240,000 extra investment into Bradford in 2021. Good Things Foundation also supports the Bradford-based Society’s ambition to provide at least 2,000 people in Bradford with employability support by the end of 2022.

Pauline Giroux, Senior Manager for Social Purpose and Sustainability at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “This announcement is about us helping to nurture the talent of people from Bradford that may otherwise be overlooked, and to provide support to the city in rebuilding its economy and opportunities post-Covid. By working with Good Things Foundation to pilot and deliver digital skills workshops for people from ethnic minority backgrounds, we will be supporting adult learners, career switchers and people looking to return to work or start a career to prepare for the future of employment in an increasingly digital world. Our wider investment into Bradford is a reaffirmation of our commitment to the city, where in 1885, our predecessors established the Bradford Self Help Permanent Building Society in St George’s Hall Coffee Tavern, and where the Society has been based throughout the 135 years since.”

Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Yorkshire Building Society on this pilot partnership, providing people in Bradford from ethnic minority backgrounds digital skills training – in turn driving the recovery and ensuring that everyone is healthier, happier, and better off.”


University of Bradford produces most CEOs in Yorkshire – study

July 4th, 2021

THE University of Bradford produces more chief executives than any other university in Yorkshire a study has found. The research, which was carried out by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, analysed data from more than 8.4 million alumni who had left 121 UK universities since the year 2000 and had gone on to become either CEOs or Managing Directors, or found their own business.

The University of Bradford topped the table of universities that produce the most CEOs and MDs in Yorkshire, with 10.5% of alumni going on to hold one of these positions. It finished 13th on the overall list. Bradford finished well ahead of neighbours University of Leeds, which produces the second highest number of CEOs (8.96%), while University of Hull is the third highest with 8.58% of alumni going on to become a CEO or MD. Leeds Trinity University was revealed as the university producing the least number of CEOs and MDs, with just 5.6% of alumni going on to hold these positions.

Looking at the list of universities across the UK in full, a clear North South divide was evident in the research, with 12 of the top 20 universities based in London. The University of Cumbria is the highest ranking northern university on the list, while the Universities of Leicester, Bradford and Manchester also featuring in the top 20.

The research also examined the universities that produce the highest number of small business founders, with the University of Leeds (7.91%) just beating York St John University (7.84 per cent) to the top spot. The University of Bradford finished third in this list for the percentage of alumni that found their own firms, with 7.83%.

The university’s School of Management is world renowned – it was the first business school to be jointly accredited by AMBA and BGA in England and in February this year, its MBA was ranked No.1 in the world for value for money by the Financial Times. Professor Sankar Sivarajah, head of the university’s School of Management, said: “The management school has always been driven by the need for developing business ideas and really targeted at developing people who had the skills to be able to move into industry and business and giving back to business world. “Our FT-recognised MBA is world renowned and one of the reasons why people join it is that once they complete the course, they see a career progression into these high-ranking roles.”

Andy Dodd, Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance managing director, said: “Our research proves that you don’t necessarily need to go to the top universities (according to the guides) to ensure you enjoy a highly successful business career. Many of the top universities for producing CEOs and business founders are among the lower ranked university guide schools, which should provide food for thought for many beginning the long process of applying for university. Hopefully some of our research helps to inspire the next generation of small business owners.”

Bradford BID appoints new co-ordinator to build ‘rich and vibrant’ city centre at night

July 4th, 2021

BRADFORD’S evening and night-time economy has taken a significant step forward with the appointment of its first co-ordinator. Elizabeth Murphy has been appointed by the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) to work with hospitality and leisure businesses to help build a “rich, vibrant and successful” offer in the city centre. Ms Murphy, who is experienced in place management, working with both BIDs and local authorities, started the new role today.

Bradford BID chairman Ian Ward said: “The development of Bradford city centre is at a pivotal time. We are on the cusp of some major developments, such as the opening of the NEC Bradford Live Arena in late 2022, that have the potential to significantly increase footfall. In 2019 the accounting firm PWC and think tank Demos indicated that Bradford is the most improved place in the UK to live and work, with jobs and work-life balance highlighted in a report. We believe that now is the time to start building on this further by developing and supporting our night-time offer to ensure that we have excellent operational procedures and partnership working in place to support the additional footfall and high-quality offer that is in the planning stages.”

BID manager Jonny Noble said they were looking forward to working with Elizabeth to create a better city centre. “The BID is committed to supporting businesses open between 6pm and 6am to operate to the highest standards by sharing best practice, training and intelligence. Through partnership working we aim to create a welcoming clean and safe environment, that has a vibrant and rich mixture of entertainment and leisure options at night, that are easy and safe to access and leave. It’s all about delivering a successful evening and night-time economy in Bradford city centre and to ensure that the city centre economy is thriving and open for business into the evening and night-time.”

Ms Murphy is a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management, an expert and mentor on the Government’s High Streets Task Force and has a Master’s degree in place management.  She worked as the city centre retail and night-time economy lead officer for Wakefield Council and in management roles at Wakefield and Harrogate BIDS.

Ms Murphy said of her new role: “It’s an adventure just to be here – Bradford has so many possibilities. I’m really looking forward to going and meeting the businesses that are open after 6pm and being there solely for them – and that just doesn’t mean just pubs, bars and clubs; it’s a wide-ranging and diverse sector out there and I’d like to bring them together as a business community to work in partnership to really put Bradford on the map as the place to come and visit on an evening.” She said she was very keen to hear what these businesses had to say about the way forward. I’m here for the evening economy and I’ll be listening to their concerns and their ideas and helping to light that fire that illuminates how exciting the potential here is,” said Elizabeth. “It is a really wondrous place – there are some fantastic venues out there and we need to bang that drum and support these businesses and build on the ideas that come from that sector. It’s been a heck of a year for hospitality – and for anybody really with a city centre business – but I think we’re on the cusp of something brand new and Bradford has seen it’s there for the taking and it’s going to be a leader, rather than a follower, and people will be following what Bradford’s doing. It’s a great night out here already and it’s just going to get better!”

Mims Davies MP praises Yorkshire Water after Esholt visit

June 18th, 2021

A GOVERNMENT minister has praised a Yorkshire company for its training opportunities after visiting one of its Bradford sites.

Mims Davies MP, The Minister for Employment, took a trip to Yorkshire Water’s Esholt Wastewater Treatment Works on Tuesday (June 15). She met some of the company’s current apprentices, heard about its training academy and learnt about Yorkshire Water’s involvement in the “Kickstart” scheme.

The utility firm recently employed 75 young people under the initiative, which helps 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit secure fixed term contracts. This allows them to gain work experience and embark on a potential career. Yorkshire Water guarantees that every person who successfully completes its Kickstart programme – which takes six months – will be given a job interview for a role within the business. The roles range from working in the customer experience team, the land and property department, or being part of the flooding resilience team.

Mims Davies MP, said: “It was brilliant to meet the Yorkshire Water team and see first-hand the innovative training and work opportunities being created for local people, including through the DWP Kickstart Scheme and new apprenticeships. From Shipley to Scarborough, right across Yorkshire our Plan for Jobs is boosting skills and job prospects for people of all ages as we push to build back better.”

Yorkshire Water is running its Kickstart scheme in partnership with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and trade unions. The latter will assist the water company by providing monthly sessions to help with challenges faced in a return to work situation or first-time employment, monthly career workshops and CV support. 

Gillian Mason, head of organisational development at Yorkshire Water, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Mims Davies to our Esholt site and talk to her about our commitments to the Kickstart scheme, our academy and our apprenticeship programme.  We’re really looking forward to welcoming 75 Kickstarters to the business over the next year.  We are committed to giving them as much training and support as we can, starting with a guaranteed interview for a role in the company for everyone who successfully completes the six-month scheme.”

Bradford’s diabetes epidemic and what’s being done to tackle it

June 18th, 2021

DURING Diabetes Week which runs until Sunday, the University of Bradford is raising awareness of the disorder. The Bradford district has the highest rate of diabetes in the UK, with more than one in ten of people in the district diagnosed as diabetic – 11 per cent – and many more pre-diabetic or undiagnosed.

The University of Bradford is currently carrying out a number of cutting edge research projects into diabetes and what can be done to support people with the disorder. There are three main types of diabetes; Type 1 is caused by a lack if insulin creation in the pancreas, Type 2 is caused by a poor diet, being overweight or obese and not doing enough exercise, while Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women.

It’s this third form which Professor Anne Graham is leading a consortium of clinicians, scientists and researcher on to identify how to better predict which women will deliver babies which are larger than usual for their gestational age, and makes use of the pioneering Born in Bradford programme. Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at a much higher risk of having very large babies, which may require early delivery or a C-section. Rates of gestational diabetes are increasing globally and it is common in Bradford, and predicting who will be at highest risk can help identify the safest delivery method earlier.

Dr Liz Breen, director of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone, said: “The advancement of diabetes prevention, screening, diagnosis and patient support is a key area of concern for our Bradford population. Researchers within DHEZ , working with our NHS, professional and business colleagues, will collaborate to design and deliver digital health solutions to support diabetes care.”

While gestational diabetes usually goes away after childbirth, mothers and their children are at a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity and cardiovascular problems.

Dr Donald Whitelaw, Consultant in Diabetes in Endocrinology at Bradford Royal Infirmary, added: “Diabetes in pregnancy affects around 500 women in Bradford each year with risks of serious harm to mothers and their babies. Preventing and reducing these risks are key targets to keep the population healthy.”

The University of Bradford’s Dr Kirsten Riches-Suman has also been looking into the impact of Type 2 diabetes on the heart and blood vessels. Using her expertise she discovered the building blocks of blood vessels behave differently in Type 2 diabetes sufferers, making them age prematurely and increasing the risk of blockages, and it can take up to a decade to reverse the problem. This highlights, Dr Riches-Suman said, why it’s critical early pre-diabetes diagnosis is made to improve heart health in patients.

PhD student Alisah Hussain, who is working on the project, said: “Growing up in Bradford has made me want to be a part of this cutting edge research looking at early diagnosis and personalised medicine approaches in the longer term. With the university’s internationally recognised expertise and facilities, we can help our local community not only now, but also for future generations.”

National Science and Media Museum to launch new exhibitions exploring how sound shapes our lives

June 15th, 2021

THE National Science and Media Museum is set to launch a new series of events and exhibitions this summer, which will explore sound and the impact it has on our lives.

Sound Season will take a look at how sound fills our world, helping people to understand what sound is, and encouraging them to play and experiment with sound. It includes two new free exhibitions, which will run between 23 July and 5 December, alongside a programme of special events. Visitors will learn about the journey of a sound wave and how it interacts with different materials and spaces, as well as exploring the biology of sound, and how an understanding of the physical properties of sound can be used by musicians, engineers and scientists to create and manipulate it.

 The first of the two special exhibitions, Boom: Experiments in Sound, is an interactive family exhibition, which will open just in time for the summer holidays. It will uncover how sound is central to our everyday lives, from helping us to judge distance, size and space, to bringing us entertainment in music and television. Families can journey through the science and sensations of sound with exciting displays, including a sound canal and interactive crescendo space. Boom will also feature the Oramics composition machine designed by electronic music pioneer, Daphne Oram, as well as other interactive displays, including a chance to measure the size of sound waves and experiment with how sounds change based on different spaces and distances.

The second exhibition, Sonic: Adventures in Audio, will uncover the museum’s fast-growing collection of sound-related objects, including iconic synthesizers and items used in the famous BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Sonic will also see the debut of a rolling programme of interactive installations by sound artists and experts.

The first installations open on 23 July with Drum and Bass: Time and Space by Edward Wilson-Stephens, a PhD researcher with the museum and the University of Leeds, and Gramophony, by composer and performer Jobina Tinnemans.

 Commenting on the launch of Sound Season, Annie Jamieson, Curator of Sound Technologies, said: “We are really excited to be launching our Sound Season this summer. This is the first time the museum has featured sound-specific exhibitions and it is a great opportunity to explore our ever-growing collections in this area. Sound is a central part of our lives, but despite its importance to our understanding of the world, we don’t often think about it. Through this season of exhibitions and events we hope to demystify the invisible phenomenon of sound so visitors can understand what it is, how it moves through the world and how it can be played with and manipulated.”

The National Science and Media Museum and Pictureville Cinema are now open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 4pm, and every day during school holidays.

Visitors must pre-book a ticket to visit via the museum website. For more information, visit

Bradford BID launches new video podcasts to help businesses get back on track

June 6th, 2021

BRADFORD BID has launched a series of free video podcasts to help city centre businesses get back on their feet and move forward after the pandemic lockdowns. The monthly videos will feature the BID’s business engagement officer, Nikki Chadburn, interviewing experts and specialists on key aspects of business support and advice to help them overcome some of the challenges that Covid-19 has presented them with.

BID manager Jonny Noble said: “A key part of our role is to help the city centre thrive and that means doing all we can to ensure retailers, leisure operators, hospitality providers and service businesses and the like are given every chance to get back on their feet after the blows they have suffered as aa result of the pandemic. Our aim is to encourage people to come back to the city centre and rediscover what a fabulous place it is but we also recognise that this has been an unprecedented set of circumstances and many small businesses in particular will be overfaced by the rules and regulations and will need some guidance as to where to find the support they need. We hope by providing this free, easily-accessible platform we can give them some encouragement and Nikki will be seeking to interview specialists who will help reassure them that better times are ahead.”

The podcasts will be published on YouTube and details and links will be available on the Bradford BID website,

Mrs Chadburn said: “These podcasts will be all about different aspects of business support, to help levy-payers with their recovery phase as they get back to business. Each episode will cover a different aspect of support, including such things as HR and recruitment advice, employment law, training and marketing, for example, with a range of interviewees giving guidance based on their sphere of expertise. We’re very keen for levy-paying members to tell us what help they need and I would urge them to let me know – via the Bradford BID website – what areas they would like us to cover and any questions they want us to try to answer during these sessions.  We’ll be talking during the podcast about some of the projects we’ve devised and are working on to help them, such as the LoyalFree app which provides a host of interactive city centre trials which encourage visitors to spend more time here and residents to rediscover some of the places they may have forgotten or have not been to for a long time, as well as providing an outlet for special offers and discounts that businesses might want to give to help bring in trade.” 

She said the first episode – already available – features details of some exciting new initiatives coming up, including a series of business networking meetings with guest speakers and a new task force to tackle some city centre issues. “We’ve also organized some free training courses for businesses and their staff and one of the podcasts will feature someone from the Virtual College explaining how useful these are and how people can take advantage of them,” said Mrs Chadburn.

Details of the podcasts and when they will be available will be published on the BID website and social media accounts as well as in the BID’s regular newsletter for levy-payers.

Water firm trials new technology to reduce pipe bursts

May 6th, 2021

YORKSHIRE Water is conducting a trial of the new technology to see if it can help reduce the number bursts and the amount of time it takes to isolate a pipe if it does burst. 

The water company is working with R2M Limited to trial 34 remote battery powered actuators. The new additions will mean the flow of water can be managed centrally, from the company’s control room, and may save significant time in the event of a burst or water quality event – meaning less interruptions for customers. 

As well as time saving benefits, cost savings are estimated at around £20,000 per asset, per annum, due to the reduced installation cost and reduced manual handling time.

Sarah Gledhill, innovation project manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “Our customers will see the benefit through a reduced number of bursts and much quicker resolutions if something does go wrong on the network.”

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