Manor & Castle 18, Quadrant 10: Debbie Matthews interview

One of the region’s leading business centres, The Quadrant off the Parkway in Sheffield, has celebrated its 10th anniversary this June. Also this year, Manor and Castle Development Trust (MCDT) – the community charity founded to regenerate the Manor and Castle wards which set up the successful business centre celebrate their own 18th birthday. The […]

Portas returns with 38 recommendations for thriving towns

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? It seems astounding that it’s now 2 and a half years since publication of the Government-commissioned Portas Review of the high street. Has it been a ‘fun’ time for independent retailers, high streets, and town centres though? And what can we learn from town teams and Portas pilots? […]

Northern prosperity is national prosperity – IPPR report

IPPR North’s Northern Economic Futures Commission has published its final report which sets out “a new economic agenda for the north of England, one which seeks to place the region at the heart of the UK’s ‘rebalancing’ towards business investment and export performance”. Alongside recommendations focused on jobs and skills, innovation, SMEs, natural assets, transport, […]

From library ‘at risk’ to prestigious award

A library and tourist information centre which was at risk of closure but fought back, increasing opening hours by 300% whilst saving its local authority 30% in costs, has won “Britain’s top award for town community projects,” from my client, Action for Market Towns. When Northumberland County Council needed to make significant cost savings, there […]

Guardian discussion on community led planning

On Thursday I participated (on behalf of Action for Market Towns) in a live online discussion hosted by the Guardian about Community-led planning. Other panellists came from private sector and social enterprise consultancies, Universities, national campaigning organisations and the public sector. After a lively discussion and lots of questions from website users, the Guardian’s Kate […]

Dave lends where banks don’t – just like CDFIs

Written for and originally posted at He likes bananas and he’s not a fan of banks. So plain-speaking David Fishwick decided he wanted to launch a bank with a difference. A new 2-part series on Channel 4, which began last night, told his story. The irrepressible minibus entrepreneur had realised that his customers, many […]

TV and radio coverage for AMT

Really busy week with my client Action for Market Towns. Their annual convention took place in the lovely Shropshire market town of Ludlow last Thursday: pretty much every hotel and B&B in the town was fully booked, and we reckon the event injected well over £100,000 into Ludlow’s economy. The convention marked the launch of […]

Award success for YCA’s Nikki

Fantastic news on Friday. I’m absolutely thrilled that Nikki Sharpe, the founder of Sheffield-based social enterprise Youth Can Achieve, has been given the ‘Leadership in the Community’ Award at the national ‘Network of Aspiring Women’ Awards. These awards were created by former Apprentice contestant Jo Cameron to celebrate the achievements of women throughout the UK. […]

Death of the High Street

Last night’s Tonight Programme on ITV1, titled ‘Death of the High Street’ is worth a watch ( ). At 25 minutes it could barely scratch the surface, but was a short and succinct summary of the well known issues affecting UK High streets – average vacancy rates have tripled in the last three years – […]

Commissioning: ask for RHITA!

Who’s RHITA? You may well ask. You’re on a website built by Jamie, after all. And the only middle name I’m aware of having is Stuart. RHITA isn’t my name – it’s an acronym for a set of attributes I try to live by in my professional (and personal) life. Reliability. Honesty. Integrity. Tenacity. Attitude. […]