Wednesday, 27 February 2013

National History Museum of Wales role for Focus Consultants

Heritage and museums expert Focus Consultants is playing a key role in the redevelopment of St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff.

The company helped the project to secure £11.5 million - the largest ever grant award in Wales by the Heritage Lottery Fund - and has now been appointed project managers and cost managers for the scheme at St Fagans open air museum near Cardiff.

“This is a prestigious development at what is already a great attraction,” said Richard Aston, partner at Focus Consultants, which is based at Phoenix Business Park, Nottingham, and has branches in London, Leicester, Lincoln and in Boston.

“The team at Focus Consultants is delighted to be involved in such a significant and inspirational project.” Established as a museum in 1948, St Fagans was the first open-air museum in the UK. It currently tells the story of how the people of Wales lived, worked and spent their leisure time over the last 500 years.

St Fagans: National History Museum is the second most visited open-air museum in Europe, and Wales’ most visited heritage attraction with more than 600,000 visitors per year.

It is also the largest provider in Wales of learning outside the classroom with 360,000 family visitors and 85,000 formal education visitors.

The Creu Hanes - Making History project aims to create an exciting new visitor experience integrating national collections of archaeology and social history together in an open-air museum for the first time anywhere. It will explore over 200,000 years of Welsh history.

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales has drawn up a £25 million plan to establish St Fagans as Wales’ National History Museum.

The Welsh Government has already earmarked funding support of £6 million, and now the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £11.5 million for the development.

The museum is also launching its own appeal.

Specialists from Focus Consultants’ economic development and funding team drafted the business plan and economic assessment for the Heritage Lottery Fund bid. Detailed designs are now being drawn up for the development, with work expected on site in September 2013. The museum is located in the grounds of the Grade I-listed St Fagans Castle, one of the finest surviving Elizabethan manor houses in Wales.

The museum features more than 40 historic buildings that have been relocated from different parts of Wales; these include a several farmhouses, a terrace of ironworkers’ houses and a Medieval church.
Focus Consultants specialises in creative approaches to securing funding packages and delivering high quality projects across the Midlands and the UK.

Focus has secured more than £900 million of grant assistance, and delivered more than £1 billion of projects and programmes since 1994.

For more information visit

Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Spice up Mother’s Day with an Indian cookery class gift voucher from the founder of Anila’s Authentic Sauces

If your mum loves Indian food, why not treat her to a cookery class gift voucher.

Award-winning Anila Vaghela, the founder of Anila’s Authentic Sauces, runs small and friendly cookery lessons at her home in Surrey. During the step-by-step sessions, she shares the secrets of successful vegetarian curries and shows how to prepare Indian starters, desserts and other delights.

Lessons include three-hour taster sessions, four-hour Indian starter classes, six-hour vegetarian thali classes and a four-hour Indian desserts and starters session…with prices from £50.

And there’s currently a special offer on bookings made or gift vouchers bought before May 31st 2013 (Use FRIEND10 promotional code on checkout to receive 10% off your first cookery class).

“I love showing Indian food fans the best ways of using various herbs and spices to create authentic Indian dishes,” said Anila, who is an expert in Indian cuisine and is celebrating 21 years in the business, having sold her first curry sauce at a fair in Surrey in 1992.

Anila’s Authentic Sauces has grown since then and now has a range of eight concentrated curry sauces, which are free from artificial colours, additives and preservatives, are sugar, dairy and gluten free, contain no onion or garlic, and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

The firm also produces a wide range of chutneys, pickles and dips which are made with single fruits and vegetables, and natural ingredients.

Anila’s supplies hundreds of outlets that include speciality food halls, garden centres, delis, farm shops, gift shops and also health stores. The firm also sells direct to the public at farmers’ markets and at food shows and festivals as well as online via

Products are on sale at places like Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis Oxford Street and Bluewater, Chatsworth Farm Shop, and the Wholefoods chain of stores across the UK from Glasgow to Richmond in Surrey.

Visit for more information about gift vouchers and the cookery classes, which are held in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

Anila’s has won 12 Great Taste Awards, including two *** Gold Awards in 2007 for its curry sauces.

Awards include:

One star Gold Award 2012 – Hot Mango Pickle

Two Star Gold Award 2010 – Goan Green Curry Sauce

Three Star Gold Award 2007 - Spicy Mild Curry Sauce

Three Star Gold Award 2007 - Spicy Korma Curry Sauce

Reserve - Best Speciality from the South East 2007 - Spicy Mild Curry Sauce

Silver Award 2006 - Goan Green Curry Sauce

Gold Award 2005 - Chilli Chutney

Gold Award 2005 - Tindori Pickle Best Speciality from the South East 2005 Award for the Tindori Pickle

Anila’s Goan Green Curry Sauce was a winner at the FreeFrom Food Awards 2012. It was also named Best Vegan Product 2011 in the Veggie Awards run by Cook Vegetarian! magazine. Anila’s Spicy Korma Curry Sauce scooped a FreeFrom Food Award in 2009.

Issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Food and Drink Forum offers free support to Leicester food and drink sector firms

The Leicester food and drink sector is being given a boost with the launch of a new scheme to provide free business support to manufacturers working in the industry.

Trade organisation The Food and Drink Forum is running the Leicester Food Specialist service, which aims to help eligible firms to grow and develop.

The £94,500 project is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is providing more than 60% of the cost of the scheme, The Food and Drink Forum, and Leicester City Council through the Working Neighbourhood Fund.

The service is offering two free days of support to start-ups, micro businesses and small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises in the food and drink sector in the city centre area.

This could cover a range of support from technical advice and packaging services to help with new routes to market or accreditation. The two days of support is for a maximum of 25 companies.

A programme of events for all eligible businesses is also planned, which will focus on offering support to overcome key issues and challenges faced by food manufacturers.

A launch event is being held on Thursday February 28th at the Flamingo Restaurant, Loughborough Road, Leicester, for firms interested in finding out more about the project, which runs until December 2014.

“Leicester’s food and drink sector plays a key role in the local economy and this new service, which is funded by the ERDF, will help to ensure that the industry continues to develop and grow,” said Fiona Anderson, managing director of the Food and Drink Forum, which was established in 1998 and provides support to the sector across the East Midlands and beyond.

“It is hoped that the Leicester Food Specialist service will increase the rate of sustainable manufacturing businesses that are launched in the sector and help those that are already established to expand.”

It aims to support the economy of Leicester by nurturing new start-ups in the sector and helping existing businesses to secure new sales, develop new products, reduce their carbon footprint and overcome barriers to growth.

To register interest in attending the launch event and to find out more about eligibility, email or call 01159 758810.

Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR

BSP Consulting appointed to housing framework

Civil and structural engineering company BSP Consulting has been appointed to a framework by a housing group planning to build more than 1,500 homes over the next three years.

The Nottingham-based business, with offices in Leicester, Derby and Sheffield, has been selected as part of the Bromford Group Consultants Framework.

BSP is one of three engineers chosen by Bromford Group to tender for housing projects across an area that includes Birmingham and the West Midlands, Stoke, Cheltenham, parts of Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire, and some areas of Derbyshire, including Erewash and South Derbyshire, and Derby.

“Being selected for the Bromford Group framework is a significant appointment for BSP Consulting,” said BSP Consulting business development director Jef Todd.

“It was a competitive process to secure a place on the framework, and we are delighted that BSP is one of the three successful engineering consultants appointed to help the Bromford Group to build new homes over the next three years.

“The team at BSP has extensive expertise and experience in designing housing projects, both in the private and public sector, and we are looking forward to supporting the Bromford Group in its plans to build much-needed new homes.”

 It brings to six the number of housing frameworks that BSP has been appointed to. Bromford business assurance manager Jayne Forrester believes the fifteen businesses who were successful during the procurement process will help Bromford create a new vision for affordable housing.

She said: “This procurement framework will place Bromford in a strong position moving forward, as 2013/14 looks to be an exciting year for our New Homes team. By introducing this new framework, we can ensure continuing efficiency and sustainability through our procurement processes.

“BSP submitted a fantastic application offering value for money on their services, something incredibly important for a social business which is publicly funded.

We look forward to utilising BSP’s expertise over the next few years, pushing some innovative housing projects forward.”

Bromford, which has offices across Central England, will work with BSP on a number of its own developments.

The procurement framework also allows other affordable housing providers to access the framework through Bromford.

This initiative could potentially see BSP working with South Shropshire Housing, Staffordshire Housing, Wyre Forest Community Housing, Coventry-based Orbit, Walsall Housing Group and Cheltenham Borough Home.

BSP Consulting, with its head office at Oxford Street in Nottingham, provides a comprehensive range of consultancy services in civil, structural, geotechnical, transportation and environmental engineering to all sectors of the construction community, from architects, project managers and contractors to developers and estate agents.

It was founded in 1999 and operates across the UK.

For more information visit

Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Cider apple flavoured coffee launched for spring 2013 by Cherizena

Mail order coffee specialist Cherizena is launching a new cider apple flavoured coffee.

The fresh and fruity flavour combines the aroma of sweet juicy apple with a punchy apple tang … to give coffee lovers something new to savour. Perfect for hot drinks as well as cold frappés, it has been created as a result of customer demand.

It is the latest in a range of more than 20 flavoured coffees produced by Cherizena, which also offers around 30 single-origin coffees and blends via mail order from

“Flavoured coffees are increasing in popularity, especially among young coffee drinkers as a trendy alternative to regular coffee, and our latest one tastes great and has a superb aroma,” said Kate Jones, who runs the family-owned Leicestershire-based firm.

“We’re delighted to be adding cider apple coffee to Cherizena’s range of flavoured and speciality coffees.”

Just like all the coffees in Cherizena’s flavoured range, the cider apple flavour contains no syrups or coatings.

Cherizena, based near Melton Mowbray, is a leading UK specialist producer of coffee and sources premium, rare and speciality coffees, as well as creating its own range of wonderful flavoured coffees.

The cider apple flavour will be available from February 28th 2013 on
and will be available as beans or ground, regular or decaffeinated costing £3 for 115g.

For more information visit

Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Food and Drink Forum's food technical manager gains IFST Registered Scientist Award

Food technical manager Richard Wigley has gained a Registered Scientist Award (RSci) from the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST).

Richard heads up the technical team at The Food and Drink Forum, which provides business support services to food and drink firms across the East Midlands and beyond.

The RSci is a new award based on a combination of knowledge, competence and a commitment to high standards of professionalism.

It provides recognition of the important roles that scientists play within all aspects of the food sector, in areas such as new product development, food safety, food analysis, product quality and food production.

The RSci will allow Richard to access scientific and technical food information provided by IFST to pass onto Food and Drink Forum members, and to continue providing high quality technical support to food and drink businesses in the region.

"We would like to congratulate Richard on gaining a Registered Scientist Award, which recognises the standards to which he works and the knowledge and expertise that he has in this field,” said Fiona Anderson, managing director of the Food and Drink Forum, which is based at Southglade Food Park, Gala Way, Nottingham.

The Forum’s technical team, made up of Richard Wigley and Kasia Chapman, provides a range of business support services, including formulation, shelf life improvement, packaging advice, technical advice and services, labelling and nutritional advice, auditing, accreditation and certification, new product development support and training.

The Forum, which was established in 1998 as a not-for-profit, membership-led organisation to stimulate and support the sustainable growth and development of the food and drink industry in the East Midlands, operates across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, as well as further afield.

It has members across the region, including manufacturers, food service operators, consultants and businesses providing services to the food and drink sector.

Its aims include championing the food and drink sector in the East Midlands, developing strategic influencing partnerships within and outside the East Midlands, and acting as a centre for information and knowledge on all subjects relating to the food and drink sector in the region.

To contact the Forum technical team email or telephone 0115 9758810.

Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR

Croots Farm Shop presents money to Derbyshire children’s charity

Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre is £1,100 better off thanks to the customers and staff of Croots Farm Shop near Duffield.

The charity, which provides holidays in Skegness for disadvantaged youngsters from the county, was supported by Croots during 2012.

Throughout the year, staff staged a number of fund-raising events, and now the proceeds have been handed over to David Harris, fund-raising officer at the charity.

“I’d like to say a really big thank-you to the customers and staff of Croots Farm Shop who have helped us to raise this magnificent sum,” said farm shop owner Steve Croot.

“Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre needs to raise more than £150,000 every year to fund 450 holiday places for disadvantaged youngsters from the county, and we hope this contribution will be a good help.”

The team at Croots raised £600 during a sponsored cycle ride on exercise bikes to mark the shop’s fourth birthday last summer, and collected a further £70 by staging a raffle.

The shop also donated 20% from the sale of its Olympig sausages which were created to celebrate the 2012 games, and held a range of other fund-raising events at Christmas, which brought the total amount raised to £1,100.

The farm shop, which is based at Farnah House Farm, Wirksworth Road, will continue its support for Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre during 2013 alongside its other adopted charity, the Shire Horse Society.

Croots Farm Shop and Kitchen is open Sundays from 10am to 4pm (café until 3.45pm), and from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm (café until 4.30pm). It is closed on Mondays.

For more information visit

Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Food and Drink iNet-funded project to help food firms keep food safe from Listeria

East Midlands food businesses that make, distribute and sell chilled, ready-to-eat products are to be given help and advice to help them keep their products safe from Listeria.

According to data from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) serious cases of laboratory-confirmed Listeria infection in the UK almost doubled between 2000 and 2009. In 2010 numbers decreased but were still higher than during the 1990s.

This bacteria can be found in a range of foods – particularly ready-to-eat meat products, pâtés, fish and prepared fruit and vegetables, but serious infection tends to occur only in people with reduced immunity, such as the over-60s, pregnant women, new-born babies and those undergoing long term treatments.

As the elderly and those with already-weakened immune systems are particularly at risk, the FSA is targeting food provision in the National Health Service as well as examining how these vulnerable groups store and handle food they buy themselves.

It is also targeting small and medium-sized food manufacturers, distributors and retailers to help reduce the risk of infection. Tests have shown most Listeria-related incidents have involved chilled ready-to-eat meats, meat products, cheese, fish and shellfish as well as sandwiches and sandwich fillings.

The FSA is working to encourage best practice and compliance among food manufacturers and enforcement agencies as well as better understanding of regulations relating to storage and shelf-life of high-risk, ready-to-eat products. The Food and Drink iNet, which is run by trade organisation The Food and Drink Forum, is funding a six-month collaborative research and development project at The University of Nottingham working with the food hygiene specialists Diversey, to turn the spotlight on the issue.

As part of the project, a seminar is being run to give small and medium-sized businesses in the chilled food sector, guidance and advice about how to manage the risk of Listeria. The seminar will be held in the Plant Sciences Building at the University’s Sutton Bonington campus between 4 pm and 6.45 pm on Wednesday February 13.

Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall said: “It is important that food businesses are able to play their part in tackling the increase in cases of listeriosis.

“This event is particularly aimed at technical managers, production managers and owner-managers of small and medium-sized food businesses. Everyone attending will receive a guidance document containing the latest advice on how best to control Listeria.”

It will include a food industry update by Dr Cath Rees from The University of Nottingham, and Dr Karen Middleton, from Diversey will discuss good hygiene practices, before Dr Jerry Avis gives an introduction to the University’s Food and Biofuel Innovation Centre.

The Food and Drink iNet, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and The University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region to offer a range of support to small and medium-sized enterprises that work in the sector.

To book places at the seminar email iNet advisor Jo Murphy at and for more information visit

Dr Rees is Associate Professor of Microbiology within The University of Nottingham Food Sciences Division. Visit

Diverseys is a sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene business. It is part of the Netherlands-based Sealed Air Corporation, a global leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection. Visit

Press release issued by Louise Duffield, Perfect 10 PR

Friday, 1 February 2013

Food and Drink iNet helps East Midlands craft brewers tap into overseas markets

East Midlands craft brewers interested in finding out about export opportunities to China are being urged to join a project which is developing a blueprint for carrying out business primarily in South East Asia.

The Food and Drink iNet is looking to encourage craft brewers in the region to explore the possibilities available for exporting to China, where the popularity of beer has shot up in recent years.

Back in 2004, China overtook the USA to become the world’s largest beer market.

The iNet, which is run by trade organisation The Food and Drink Forum, has already supported a Bottle Conditioning Project at the University of Nottingham which is helping brewers extend shelf life and prepare their products for sale in overseas markets.

Now the iNet is funding a second phase of the project which is being led by Nottingham company MetafocusGlobal, with support from the University of Nottingham Food and Biofuel Innovation Centre and the Asia Business Centre, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and Derbyshire firm Thornbridge Brewery, to develop an export solution and channel for those businesses who are looking to export for the first time or to develop new overseas markets.

It will also explore opportunities for smaller breweries in the UK market.

Initially looking at China as the first overseas market - one in four pints of beer sold in the world is bought in China - the project will also develop an online portal for potential distribution in the UK market too for those businesses who are not yet ready for the leap to exports.

Now it is looking for additional brewers to get involved.

“Exciting opportunities have been identified in China and elsewhere for East Midlands craft breweries, but these are big markets with big challenges. The Food and Drink iNet is very pleased to be working with UKTI and funding a project which will explore these sales opportunities and develop a realistic channel for smaller craft brewers with capacity and passion to increase business in the UK and abroad,” said Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall.

“We have some fantastic ales being produced across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland. This project could really help fly the flag for the East Midlands craft brewing industry overseas and in the UK, and we’re interested in hearing from small or medium brewers across the region who are keen to find out more about how they could get involved. Wherever you are on the sales ladder, we want to help you progress and if you have a desire to go higher, you should get in touch with us.”

The iNet’s British Craft Brewers Sales Project will focus on developing a solution and channel for breweries to export to China, but will also form a template for exporting beer to other destinations and for smaller breweries selling online in the UK prior to being ready for export.

“In China the popularity of beer has increased rapidly alongside a desire for spirits. China already accounts for one in four pints of beer sold worldwide, double that of the US, and could account for 40% of total worldwide beer sales by 2016,” said Alan Clements, of MetafocusGlobal, an international internet marketing agency, specialising in helping local companies exploit the Chinese market, which is based in the Lace Market.

“There is no doubt that there are market opportunities for British branded boutique craft beers in China, although the biggest opportunities may be in second tier cities through pubs, clubs and supermarkets.”

But there are a number of potential hurdles that breweries need to be aware of and overcome.

“The Chinese tend to emphasise food safety and like to buy from trusted sources. Britain already has a good reputation in this regard,” said Alan. “Chinese complex food and drink import and labelling regulations and paperwork can be daunting and need careful research, as the Chinese are continually modifying their food laws, labelling and packaging requirements and import procedures.”

The objective of the project is to deliver a full business plan that identifies a structured approach to the product, process and marketing required to sell craft beers to China as a template for other markets.

It will involve research of the market, product development, branding and marketing, logistics, as well as the creation of a portal potentially for the UK market.

The Food and Drink iNet has granted almost £20,000 to fund the Collaborate to Innovate project, which is due to be completed by the end of March 2013.

Any East Midlands Craft Brewers interested in getting involved should contact the Food and Drink iNet by emailing and mark Breweries in the subject header.

The Food and Drink iNet, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham.

It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region to offer a range of support to small and medium-sized enterprises that work in the sector.

For more information visit

Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR

Expansion plans for Croots Farm Shop in Derbyshire

Derbyshire farm shop Croots plans to expand its popular coffee shop to cater for demand from customers.

Work is due to begin shortly on a side extension to the café which will allow the farm shop in Wirksworth Road, Duffield, to serve more than twice as many customers.

Plans are also in the pipeline for phase 2 of the expansion work, which could see a further extension at the front of the café to build a conservatory over the existing decking area – to create a space that can be used all year round.

This would allow Croots to serve up to four times more customers than it does currently.

The move is expected to create an extra four or five jobs to add to the 20-strong team currently employed at Croots Farm Shop, which opened in June 2008.

“Our coffee shop has been very popular since day one, and we’ve been thinking of expanding it for quite some time,” said Steve Croot, who runs the farm shop at Farnah House Farm.

“Initially we plan to extend out from the side, which will give us space for around 30 more seats. We’re hoping that work will start during February and that the new extended coffee shop will be open in May.

“We also have planning permission to extend over the decking area and create a conservatory, which we may do in the future.”

Amber Valley Borough Council approved plans for a single storey side extension and a conservatory to the front of the farm shop in December.

The expansion project marks a significant investment for the farm shop which was a runner-up in the Best UK Independent Food Retailer 2010 category of the Observer Food Monthly Awards and named in The Independent’s top 50 best food shops the year before, said Steve Croot.

The extension will match the existing brickwork and roofing.

The farm shop sells a range of food and drink produced locally, regionally and from further afield. It stocks products from up to 40 producers from within a 50-mile radius of the shop.

It also produces its own range of products, including sausages, pies and ready meals. Since establishing in 2008, it has built up a strong reputation for its butchers’ fresh meat counter - winning dozens of awards for home-made sausages, home-smoked bacon and other meat products.

In 2010 Croots opened a play area.

“We’re really looking forward to the next phase in the development of Croots Farm Shop,” said Steve Croot, who was shortlisted in the Food Hero category of the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards this year. “We’ve had great support from our customers, and we hope they will like and enjoy our new expanded coffee shop when it opens.”

Croots Farm Shop and Kitchen is open Sundays from 10am to 4pm (café until 3.45pm), and from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm (café until 4.30pm). It is closed on Mondays.

Visit for more information.

Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR