Educational Purpose of old Sheffield School is revived after a £1m Gripple Transformation

A listed former Sheffield school is now the Gripple training academy, as well as its staff social club, after a sympathetic £1m conversion by the Sheffield manufacturer which has just hit a record £60m turnover.

Officially opened by a retired Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Jack Nicholls, the familiar building on Attercliffe Common and formerly the popular Players’ Café, is now called GLIDE House, named after Gripple’s private company which represents all staff in the 100% employee-owned group of companies.

The first floor of GLIDE House is home to Gripple’s People and Culture team where it will run training courses for staff from across the world who will learn about Gripple and even work towards NVQ qualifications. In the future the intention is that external staff will also benefit from Gripple’s training skills.

On the ground floor, where a fascinating vintage school atmosphere has been created, there is a bar, restaurant and gym – all run by Gripple staff and open six days a week. Every staff member has a card which enables them to use the gym for free and to order food online, which is delivered to their workplace and paid for via their payslip!

Gripple chairman, Hugh Facey said: “For five years I have been looking for a building suitable to becoming Gripple’s training, conference and board facility. But isn’t just about education, it is about creating a good social for its staff as well. This is what GLIDE House provides”

GLIDE, the Growth Led Innovation Driven Employee people-focused company, sets the principles and communications to uphold the Gripple spirit with a rotating board, members of which are elected by their fellow shareholders.

GLIDE House is within walking distance of a Gripple site on Carbrook Street and another Gripple group member, Loadhog on Hawke Street. Many staff are based at Gripple HQ on Savile Street East and at other group members, PMS Diecasting and GoTools in Rotherham and Laser Scanning in Chapeltown.

Marianne Lindsay joins Shorts’ Radius team

Shorts are delighted to announce the appointment of Research and Development tax reliefs expert, Marianne Lindsay.  Marianne joins Shorts Radius team as a senior manager, helping businesses claim their full entitlement to Government backed tax reliefs for innovation.  She has an Animal Science degree and a background in agricultural and pharmaceutical sales and joins Radius after several years working at a specialist R&D tax relief consultancy using her scientific knowledge to help innovative companies claim R&D tax reliefs.

Scott Burkinshaw, Tax Partner and head of Radius commented “Our Radius team continues to grow rapidly as we help more and more local companies claim their entitlement to valuable tax reliefs for innovation such as R&D tax reliefs.  We have generated savings of over £10m for our clients in recent years and now partner with local Chambers of Commerce and other organisations to help spread awareness.”

“Marianne is another excellent specialist recruit to strengthen our existing team and gives us much needed additional capacity and expertise to service our clients and continue to grow.  We now have one of the most highly qualified R&D teams in the North.”

Marianne added “After a varied career in Agricultural and Pharmaceutical sales, followed by a number of years helping innovative companies claim R&D tax reliefs, I am really excited to be joining such a professional and forward-thinking Accountancy practice as Shorts. Being a part of Radius will give me the opportunity to add my scientific knowledge to an already highly skilled team and help them to continue promoting the R&D tax relief scheme to aid all those innovative SME’s in and around the area.”

Marianne can be contacted by or calling 01246 559955.



Mechanical engineering specialist MetLase has won a contract with aerospace giant Boeing for work at its new Sheffield facility.

The company, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart, has been announced as the tooling and fixture partner for the facility. The deal is initially set to increase the workforce by 15 per cent.

MetLase, which employs 25 people at its 12,500 sq ft state-of the-art facility at the AMP Technology Centre, has begun supplying the first fixtures as part of a three-year contract.

The contract with Boeing is the latest in a line of new business wins that include strategic partnerships with blue chip companies in sectors such as automotive, aerospace and energy.

Steve Dunn, managing director at MetLase, said: “The long-term agreement with Boeing marks a new chapter for our business, as it will enable us to become an integral part of its future plans to develop intelligent and connected fixturing and tooling solutions.

“Our unique approach and technology will see us produce optimised fixtures that are lighter than traditional alternatives, can be produced in weeks as opposed to months and, importantly, through our design iteration service, can be continually improved to deliver the best possible performance.”

“This contract is an ideal way to celebrate our third birthday and is also excellent news for the region, with two other local companies – Maher Ltd and Nikken – also being awarded contracts.”

Pictured (L-R): Sam Simpson (principal engineer at MetLase), Steve Dunn (managing director at MetLase), James Needham (senior operations manager at Boeing Sheffield) and Richard Gould (sales manager at MetLase)

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 1 October 2018

Making Tax Digital – what is it ?

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is an initiative designed by HMRC to make sure the UK tax system is effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers. 

All UK businesses that are VAT registered and above the £85,000 VAT threshold will be required to keep their records digitally and submit VAT returns to HMRC using MTD-compatible software.  This means that many businesses will need to decide about their accounting software soon to avoid facing the complication of changing part way through their accounting year. 

When does it start? MTD for VAT is due to commence for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April 2019. So, all businesses will need to comply with the new process from this date onwards.  

Am I compliant? If MTD applies to you, then you will need to ensure that your accounting software is compliant.  HMRC have released a list of compliant software at 

Next steps? Shorts offer a free MTD Ready Check to help you understand how it affects your business. If you would like an MTD Ready Check contact us by email on or by phone on 0114 2671617. 

Source: Tim Baum-Dixon, SHORTS

Efficient and sustainable agriculture: apply for funding

Up to £20 million available to increase productivity and sustainability in crop and ruminant agriculture systems through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

There is up to £20 million in this competition as part of the transforming food production challenge.

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million for projects to transform how the agrifood sector works with crop and animal-based agricultural systems.

The funding is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s transforming food production challenge. It is provided by UK Research and Innovation and delivered through Innovate UK.

Why agriculture systems need to change

Due to the continued growth in global population, the UK, alongside many other countries, needs to produce more food. However, agricultural production issues such as costs and environmental factors mean we must do so in ways that are significantly more efficient, resilient and sustainable.

To support businesses to create disruptive technologies and embed precision approaches that meet these goals, the government is offering grants through its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

This competition opens on 20 August 2018, and the deadline for applications is midday on 24 October 2018

Source: See further detailed information HERE

Polypipe ‘performs well despite mixed conditions’

The chief executive of Polypipe has said the Doncaster-based plastic pipes manufacturer “performed well” in the first half of 2018, despite “mixed market conditions and adverse weather “.

The listed company reported revenue of £210.2m in the six months ended 30 June 2018, up from a restated £210m in the same period of 2017.

However, profit before tax dipped to £30.1m from £30.5m the year before.

During the period, the group completed the sale of its French operations, Polypipe France Holding, to Ryb for €16.5m.

Polypipe’s UK Residential Systems business reported organic growth of 5.9 per cent, but revenue from its Commercial and Infrastructure Systems division was down 6.6 per cent due to delays in road and other commercial projects.

Martin Payne, chief executive of Polypipe, said: “Against a backdrop of mixed market conditions and adverse weather the group has performed well in the first half.

“With the group’s balanced business model, underpinned by the long-term growth drivers of legacy material substitution and continuing legislative tailwinds in water management and climate change, I am confident the group will make good progress in the second half of the year.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 14th August 2018

Year of “Significant Development” for ITM Power

Sheffield-headquartered energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power has reported a year of “significant development” in its latest financial results, with a focus on expanding staff numbers and its facilities.

The listed company has reported total revenue and grant funding of £14.1m for the year to 30 April 2018, up 53 per cent from £9.2m in 2017.

However, pre-tax losses widened to £6.5m from £3.6m the year before.

During the year, ITM raised £29.4m through a placing and open offer. It also secured funding to support the expansion of hydrogen refuelling station infrastructure in the UK.

The company agreed head of terms on new factory premises, with space planning now underway, and invested in the expansion of its manufacturing and after sales support teams.

ITM has a total pipeline of more than £30m, with £24.1m under contract and a further £6.5m in the final stages of negotiation.

Following the year end, it signed a strategic partnership agreement with Sumitomo Corporation for product sales in Japan and other territories.

Graham Cooley, chief executive of ITM Power, said: “This financial year has been a period of significant development for ITM Power. With revenue increasing by 53 per cent, the company has been focussed on the expansion of staff and the planning of the new, larger production facilities. We’ve also been learning how to maximise a growing portfolio of revenue generating assets in the shape of the first real hydrogen refuelling network in the UK.

“Finally, Power-to-Gas is now demonstrating real traction around the world and we remain very well placed to benefit from this development with our long-running reference plant in Germany.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13th August 2018

£126m Funding for Yorkshire Catapult Centres

Two ‘catapult centres’ in South Yorkshire are set to benefit from an additional £126m in government funding to help develop new technology.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and Sheffield will receive £82m while £45m will go to the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced £780m of additional funding for ‘catapult centres’ across the UK, which are designed to fuel innovation across the country as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.

The centres have so far helped create hundreds of new products, services and inventions, including a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child’s buggy, cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more-efficient wings for aeroplanes.

Hammond said: “It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future. Today’s £780m investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13th August 2018

The Far East is not too far for Gripple

Already with established bases in the USA, France, India, Poland and Canada, the Sheffield-based manufacturer of iconic wire fasteners, Gripple has now appointed a Japanese managing director to lead Gripple’s expansion within the Japanese construction market.

Takahiro Makino will complete the process of creating Gripple Japan by building on the opportunities which arise from the country hosting the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games in coming years.

Later this year 46-year-old Taka will be joined by Tomohiro Seki, who was appointed by Gripple as a sales graduate in 2017 since when he has had nine months’ training with the company in the UK. They will be charged with building thriving business in Japan by establishing Gripple Japan in the world’s third largest economy.

Taka joins the employee-owned company after spending ten years with one of the Japan’s largest suppliers to construction industry. Taka’s work in Japan began after extensive training in Sheffield.

Eric Laroche, Gripple’s director of international markets, said: “Doing business in Japan is very different from our traditional methods. It was only a question of time before we invested directly in the country to further our developments globally. Now is the time!

“Taka has an excellent professional track record and his personality, experience, drive and enthusiasm will be a major asset for Gripple. The board and I are convinced that Gripple Japan will become a significant part of the company’s overseas operations. We welcome him to the family!”

Taka commented: “I did not make my decision to join Gripple until I had met some of its people and had a feel of its culture. When I visited The Old West Gun Works I was welcomed by many members of the Gripple family who were supportive and approachable – my decision was made. I feel there is huge potential for Gripple in my country which is extremely exciting for me and for the company.”


South African Shipment for Xeros’ Washing Machines

Xeros Technology Group, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, is set to supply a shipment of its near-waterless washing machines to the drought-affected Cape Province region of South Africa.

Cape Town is a region where drought has led to a permanent change in water consumption being legislated.

The 16 machines, supplied through Xeros’ commercial laundry division, recently-renamed Hydrofinity, replace water with its reusable and recyclable polymer XOrb technology.

The agreement is the first of several large shipments expected to be sent in the next two months to Hydrofinity-approved distribution partners in countries with high water stress and high water cost.

The technology will be supplied to the South African market by fanute, the sole distributor for Hydrofinity near-waterless laundry systems in South Africa.

Mike Ferrand, managing director of Hydrofinity, said: “Our near-waterless technology will bring huge sustainability benefits as climate change and a rapidly growing population place enormous stress on South Africa’s water resources.

“We are now starting to make significant shipments of Xeros machines around the world. As businesses struggle with stringent restrictions on water use, our award-winning solution offers a sustainable alternative with significant competitive advantages.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 1st August 2018