Motorhome dealer hopes new 'glamping' tent will boost lifestyle market success 

A Derby area based motorhome supplier is firmly in the driving seat of a growing lifestyle market, with sales up by a third in a year.
 
The leisure section of Geoff Cox, situated in Derby Road, Denby, has sold motorhomes worth £2.5m in the last six months.
 
This included taking orders for 15 motorhomes at the Caravan and Motorhome Show motorhome  at the NEC, Birmingham, last month and follows a record number of orders for 23 motorhomes worth £1.7m at the previous event in October.
 
These deals put sales up 35 per cent in the company's year ending next month. Latest figures show show that there was a high level of registrations of new motorhomes last year 12,332 compared to 10,572 the year before, a 16.6 per cent increase.
 
In addition to the orders taken at the shows the company attributes its success to its new outdoor showroom at nearby Denby Pottery Visitor Centre which accommodates 40 new and secondhand motorhomes and caravans.
 
As well as models by Slovenian firm Adria, for which Geoff Cox has previously been best UK dealer, the company now stocks models by Euramobil. It is the only UK distributor by the award-winning German manufacturer.
 
Now Geoff Cox is hoping to fuel further success with a new product to the market - a 'glamping'  (glamorous camping) tent.
 
This Adria product is a mobile, modular tent that comes in a large box weighing two tonnes and is delivered on a low loader to a mobile home site or even a field.
 
When the self-assembly kit is put together it opens up into a large tent complete with double beds, fully-equipped kitchen, toilet and powerful shower, television, and even a spa bath, a whole new concept in camping and far removed from traditional images.
 
“We are the only Adria distributor in the UK to have one of these luxurious tents on display,” said Neil Cox, managing director of Geoff Cox.
 
“It's for people who want all the glamour of a top hotel while being close to nature and without having to compromise on creature comforts.”
 
Costing between £18,000-£30,000 and measuring 5.9 by 3.4 metres and boasting stylish and comfortable features the tent can sleep at least four people and even has a loft bedroom.

MP praises apprentices hired by factory and encourages others to follow suit

EREWASH MP Maggie Throup praised young workers as she made a fact-finding visit to an Ilkeston firm to mark National Apprenticeship Week.
 
Maggie met three apprentices when on Friday(March 10) she visited Dales Fabrications which designs and makes aluminium products, including fascias, soffits and rainwater systems that enhance the appearance of a variety of buildings.
 
She approached the firm which hit the headlines last December because it produced curved aluminium solar shading units for digital advertising screens above Piccadilly Underpass in London   between Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge, seen by thousands of motorists each day in an area popular with wealthy international tourists.
 
“It's amazing the range of products that are made in Ilkeston,” she said, while touring the factory on Crompton Industrial Estate.
 
“Dales is another example of how local goods are making a difference to the country.”
 
Maggie met apprentices David Pritchard( 22), from Chaddesden, Derby, who is a production processor but also on a undergraduate programme leading to a foundation degree with Derby College and Sheffield Hallam University; Rosie Dales(25), from Nottingham, a welder; and 18-year-old Tia Bexon, of Ilkeston, who is a business administrator.
 
David had the option to go to university but wanted to learn and earn. “I'm getting a salary and will be an experienced qualified graduate in another two years,” he said. 
 
He gives instructions for what needs to be done, Rosie welds the material, and Tia invoices customers for the work.
 
“It's good to meet the apprentices here and to hear how much they are enjoying the work and how they see their careers progressing,” said Maggie.
 
“I would encourage more young people to look at the apprenticeship route as an alternative to university.
 
And Karl Prosser, managing director of Dales, who himself served an apprenticeship with the RAF, also heaped praise on the apprentices that he had hired.
 
“They are all core members of the business, not just trainees, and they fulfil a very real function,” he said. “They have contributed significantly to our recent successes.”
 
The company boosted sales last year by £1m to break the £4m barrier, beating the previous best figure by almost £1m.
 

Accountant Aaron takes up new position as company director after only 18 months

AN accountant who joined a firm in Long Eaton and Eastwood 18 months ago has now become a director and part owner of the business.
 
Aaron Cooke joined chartered certified accountants LJ Hanbury in August 2015 as the senior accountant and next in charge to managing director Linda Hanbury who set up the business in 1998. Now he has been appointed a director as well as becoming part owner.
 
Aaron(33) from Belper, started training to be an accountant after leaving Kirk Hallam Community College by joining a firm in Ilkeston where he qualified under the Association of Accounting Technicians, the first step up the professional ladder..
 
He then became a chartered accountant in 2008 and moved onto a firm in Derby before joining LJ Hanbury at its head office on Tamworth Road, Long Eaton.
 
“I wanted some new blood to come in and help grow and improve the practice,” said Linda. 
 
“Aaron has proved his worth already. He has introduced a new form of management accounting which provides more information for clients.”
 
Aaron said: “I look forward to providing a friendly and personable service to clients old and new.”
 
Another employee, Sally Young, has qualified through the AAT and is now working in accounts and tax as well as being part time pa to the directors.
 
The firm has more than 500 clients, including customers in Germany, America, Australia and New Zealand, who continued to use the practice after moving abroad. 
 
In addition to Long Eaton, the practice also has an office in Coach Drive, Eastwood. 

Derbyshire firm's innovative product helps vehicle users in London to see the light!

Completing a project at a prime site in a fashionable part of London has topped the highlights of the year for an Ilkeston firm which designs and makes aluminium building products.
 
The work, which helps thousands each day see what has been described as a world class advertising installation, is a first in what has been a boom year for Dales Fabrications of Crompton Industrial Estate.
 
The company makes bespoke aluminium products, including fascias, soffits, and rainwater systems that enhance the appearance of  a variety of buildings, but this latest innovative project has been more technically demanding, and the company hopes it will attract new business.
 

Dales has produced curved aluminium solar shading units for digital advertising screens above Piccadilly Underpass between Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge, popular with wealthy international tourists.
 
These panels allow motorists to see the advertising in bright sunlight in a similar way to low daylight or night.
 
Managing director Karl Prosser said: “This is the first time we have designed and produced curved extruded aluminium profiles to this extent -  covering an area 15 by 13 metres.”
 
“I see the work regularly when I go to London and I'm immensely proud of the efforts of our team,  with help on the bending operation from ABS of Mansfield, in bringing this high quality and innovative project together in one of the capital's most prestigious areas.
 
“Technically, this has been the most challenging project in the history of our company which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. The company is hopeful that this will open new avenues for us.”
 
A spokesman for Outdoor Plus, the company that commissioned and are managing the screens on behalf of Westminster City Council, said they were extremely pleased with the outcome, including the canopy works by Dales.
 
“They certainly do finish it off to a very high specification adding to the overall high quality aesthetic appearance,” he said.
Dales is working on two other major schemes – a flagship BMW dealership in Gloucestershire and luxurious apartment blocks on Chelsea Waterfront, both of which involve cladding and other  products.
 
These works have boosted sales this year by £1m to break the £4m barrier, beating the previous best figure by almost £1m.
 
Karl said the results were down to better equipment, improved customer relations and better project support. 
 
The company has increased the number of project managers from four to six, two of whom are studying for masters degrees – one at the University of Derby, the other at Coventry – with help from Dales,  which is financing their studies.
 
The company's training commitment enables it to help others among its 41 employees, including three apprentices at different educational levels.
 
It has also invested in new equipment this year at a cost of around £400,000.

Derby Lacemaker received National Craft and Design Award

A Derby lacemaker has recently received an award in the National Selected Maker awards, run by ‘Craft and Design’ magazine, and voted for by their readers.  Louise West, based at Friar Gate Studios in Derby, received ‘Finalist 2016’ in these prestigious awards for her traditional and contemporary handmade bobbin lace designs. The selected textile artists invited the public vote and then the final 6 awards in the category were made by a panel of judges. 
 
Louise said ‘It is the first time I have been in the selection of the country’s top textile artists and feel honoured to have been recognised for this award’ after hearing the results. 
Louise teaches the traditional craft local and nationally, and this year is venturing further afield into Europe to teach Bedfordshire lace to Lacemakers in the French Alps. 
 
For more information about the awards www.craftanddesign.net/awards/selected/2016/winners/
For more information about Louise visit www.louisewestlacedesign.co.uk