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The Point at Old Trafford Cricket Ground is open for business

The new £12 million conference and events venue, The Point, has officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the famous Old Trafford pitch. Holding a pair of scissors, in place of his customary cricket bat, was Lancashire County Cricket Club’s very own Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff who was joined by Robert Hough, Chairman of the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

A red ribbon, 140 metres in length, was draped from the balcony of The Point onto the pitch during the lunch interval of the England v Australia ODI. Freddie was greeted with rapturous applause by the full house as he stepped forward with Richard Hough to cut through the ribbon.

Robert Hough, Chairman of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), said: “I feel privileged to be joining Freddie at a venue which is an important asset for the Northwest. Lancashire County Cricket Club is part of the region’s sporting heritage and makes a significant social and economic impact.

Robert adds: “I am delighted that the NWDA has been able to support this development, which is vital in securing the future of international cricket in the region. As well as helping to create an internationally-significant visitor destination, the development will also help to lever in substantial private sector investment.”

Lancashire’s Commercial Director, Geoff Durbin said: “Over the past 14 months we have witnessed major building work as stands were demolished to make way for the construction of this magnificent 1000 seat hospitality and banqueting venue. Watching the cutting of the ribbon in front of a packed Old Trafford, and with 970 guests enjoying the facilities in The Point, is a very emotional and proud day for all those who have been involved with the project.”

The club have recently received approval for the phase 2 development of the ground. Including the building of The Point the total cost will be close to £50 million.

Source: Northwest Regional Development Agency

“The future is bright for Manchester” states Oglesby at IoD event.

Members of the IoD in the Northwest discussed the future of Manchester as a competitor on the global stage, at a packed event at the Manchester Midland hotel. Guest speaker Michael Oglesby, Chairman of MIDAS and Bruntwood addressed a large audience made up of directors from across the Northwest.

Oglesby was positive about the outlook for Manchester, citing a number of large commercial developments such as the continued growth of Spinningfields, the opening of First Street and the impact MediaCityUK will have on the region when it opens, as key attributes to the city and an attractive prospect for international development.

Speaking with great enthusiasm, he stated: “Manchester is coping with the economic climate better than other key regional cities, and the reason behind this is a strong public and private sector partnership. As a result, we have a better climate for commercial success, and we are very much open for business. The future of Manchester is bright.”

The event was arranged by the Manchester branch of the IoD, and was part of a regular calendar of breakfast briefings and seminar events held throughout the region by the IoD.

Source: IOD

Future looks bright for Digital Projection

High-tech company, Digital Projection has been awarded £237,762 from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to develop an LED-based projector with a level of brightness that exceeds existing LED projectors.

The company, which operates across the digital and creative sectors, designs, manufactures and markets high brightness video and data projectors for use in a wide range of professional applications.

Established since 1996 and based in Oldham West and Royton, the company’s new, innovative project aims to increase the quality of LED –illuminated projectors by more than doubling their present light output.

A key feature of the product is its long life and reliability, which significantly reduces operating costs. The project is also expected to safeguard jobs and create more full-time equivalent jobs by 2013.

Digital Projection is aiming to not only increase sales at a local level, but will also be taking its innovative product to the global market, specifically exporting to Asia and the USA.

Grant for Research and Development is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow, helping entrepreneurs and business owners introduce innovative products and processes, including research trials and product testing.

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive, NWDA said: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to provide support to such an innovative company that is not only technologically forward thinking, but also looking at environmentally-friendly methods of creating high-tech products.

“Through Grant for Research and Development, Digital Projection has been able to further its R and D, technological capabilities and export opportunities, which are key features to the company’s economic success.”

Dermot Quinn, Director of Product Development at Digital Projection, said: “This grant acts as a catalyst to help us to explore and take advantage of new and emerging solid state light sources. This will enable new applications of our projection technology at the same time as reducing the environmental impact of high brightness video projection. In combination with our class leading 3D technologies, the outstanding colour of the LED sources will create stunning images that will run for tens of thousands of hours without maintenance or adjustment.”

As part of the response to the current economic downturn, GRAND is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with £1.1 million, together with £1.2 million from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

The NWDA is playing a crucial role in response to the current economic downturn, with a number of actions being taken to meet the needs of businesses during these financially challenging times.

Source: Northwest Regional Development Agency

Emirates confirms A380 world first for Manchester

Emirates Airline is to make Manchester Airport the first regional base in the world to host A380 services.

The world’s biggest airliner will grace Manchester Airport on a daily basis from September 1st as award-winning Emirates truly takes Manchester into the big league.

While the Emirates’ 517-seat double-decker aircraft has become an eye-catching fixture at many of the world’s biggest international airports such as London Heathrow, Paris, Dubai and Sydney, its arrival at Manchester will be the first time the “green giant” has operated into a regional airport.

The superjumbo will replace the existing Boeing 777 on the EK018, departing Manchester daily at 13.30 to Dubai and onward destinations. It will be bringing international passengers into Manchester each day on the EK017, arriving at 11.45.

The Manchester services – which will also be the world’s most northerly deployment of an A380 – will boost capacity by an extra 75 seats a day and introduce the Dubai-based international carrier’s award-winning First Class cabin, which includes another world first – onboard Shower Spas.

Emirates Airline President Tim Clark said: “Manchester has been one of the strongest performers in our growing network of regional gateways, not only in the UK but globally as well.

“Our customers value our commitment to a regional network at a time when other airlines are abandoning them. We are delighted to give our Manchester customers the very best available in the shape of the Emirates Airbus A380 which is transforming the flying experience for our passengers.

“This is a ground-breaking announcement for the airport and its global standing. It is a well-deserved boost for our loyal and growing customer base in the North West.”

Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, Andrew Cornish, said: “Emirates’ decision to operate daily A380 services between Manchester and Dubai represents an historic moment for this airport and the region that we serve.

“We have invested close to £10 million in upgrading the airfield and terminal both to accommodate the aircraft itself and to create a fitting environment for Emirates’ customers, whether it is at check-in, using the airline’s executive lounge or at the gate area.

“The A380 is as iconic as Concorde and her introduction into Manchester by one of our most important carriers, Emirates, will provide a daily reminder that regional airports can support successful long-haul services. We look forward to welcoming the Emirates A380 in September.”

The A380 is the world’s only twin-deck airliner and is the most environmentally-advanced airliner in the sky today. It offers better fuel economy than most hybrid passenger cars, and burns up to 20 per cent less fuel per seat than today’s next largest aircraft. It is quieter too, generating less than half the noise of other aircraft on takeoff.

The Emirates A380 features an Onboard Lounge for First Class and Business Class passengers, with a wide range of drinks and canapés, as well as the space to socialise or simply relax. A further Social Area, incorporating a water feature, is located at the front of First Class.

The whole of the upper deck is dedicated to premium passengers. Towards the front, First Class passengers can relax in one of 14 flat-bed, massage-equipped Private Suites. These incorporate remote-controlled doors, a work desk, an electrically controlled mini-bar and the most advanced in-flight entertainment system ice, available to all onboard.

In Business Class, all seats have aisle access and can become fully-flat beds at the push of a button.

Before boarding at Manchester, premium passengers will also be able to enjoy the newly-opened Emirates Lounge.

Emirates has been flying from Manchester to Dubai and its network of onward destinations since 1990, flying over four million passengers and more than 100 million kilos of cargo to and from the North West. A second daily service was added in 2003 and the Emirates Lounge at Manchester – the most luxurious at the airport – was opened on October 2009.

Source: Manchester Airport

Northwest set for £2.1 million share of £15 million to kickstart bus services

Eight areas in the Northwest of England are set to receive a share of £15 million for bus services Transport Minister Sadiq Khan has announced.

The Kickstart programme offers financial backing for Passenger Transport Authorities to help launch new or improved services, with the focus on getting more people travelling on buses as well as improving accessibility.

Residents in Stockport, Oldham, Bolton, Salford, Tameside, Wigan, Manchester, Rochdale, Morecambe and Lancaster are all set to benefit from a £2.1milion aggregate share of this second round of Kickstart grants.

Sadiq Khan said: “Local bus services are the backbone of our transport system and can provide a vital lifeline for communities. We have already strengthened powers for local authorities to improve bus services and regularly invest in local transport schemes which help make bus travel an attractive alternative to the car – cutting congestion and bringing benefits for the environment.

“But some bus services which could provide an important transport link might not always be commercially attractive from the outset. That is why we launched the Kickstart scheme and why I am delighted to announce funding for Greater Manchester and Lancashire in this latest round of grants. This will help fund new a improved bus routes, ensuring local people get the services they need.”

Kickstart is targeted at schemes which have the potential to become successful but which initially might be more marginal in commercial terms and require so financial help to start them off.

Projects which aim to increase bus patronage – leading to a reduction in congestion and benefits to the environment – as well as to improve accessibility and social inclusion were selected for Kickstart funding.

This round of grants also focused on schemes which make use of the new bus powers in the Local Transport Act 2008. Good practice on the use of these new powers will then be shared with other local authorities and operators.

Source: COI Northwest

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