Championing local food and drink producers

Real Lives Wythenshawe is showcasing local businesses involved in the food and drink industry through a publicity campaign entitled Wythenshawe Hamper.

The campaign aims to increase awareness of the variety of businesses that are based in Wythenshawe, and the opportunities available for retail, distribution and manufacturing companies that may be considering a base in the area.

Thirteen companies have already lent their support, from well-established larger businesses, to sole traders. Duerr’s, the oldest family-owned jam maker in England, has been making preserves for 135 years and is one of the businesses supporting the initiative.

The jam maker’s latest product innovation is half sugar jam, which contains 50 per cent less sugar than the standard products, aims to reflect modern healthy lifestyles. Three flavours are available initially – strawberry, raspberry, and blackcurrant.

Growing business Zymurgorium, the UK's first craft meadery, recognised the renewed passion for all things gin and now produces the popular Original Manchester Gin. Demand for interesting gins, and people wanting to buy from small producers, has driven a near-20% rise in the total amount of the juniper-flavoured spirit sold in the UK.

Domestic gin sales, reported by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, hit £1.2 billion in 12 months (to Sept 2017), with Brits buying the equivalent of over 47 million bottles of gin. This is up 7 million bottles compared to the same period the previous year. 

A YouGov poll recently found gin is now the most popular spirit with 29% of drinkers voting it their favourite.

The association also reported that sales of artisan brands are up 167%, compared with a 30% rise in mass-produced brands. Zymurgorium director, Aaron Darke, said:

 “The demand for quality, craft gin is showing no sign of slowing – we have a huge demand and have introduced new processes to enable even more efficient production. We’re happy to be part of the Wythenshawe Hamper; it’s about time the spotlight was shone on local businesses that are producing some outstanding products.”

Having commenced operation in Wythenshawe, Zymurgorium has moved recently into new manufacturing premises in Irlam, providing 10,000 square feet of production, distribution and office space.

The Real Food Wythenshawe project has inspired many local people to try their hand at growing their own produce. Darren McKinlay started growing chilli plants in his back garden in Northern Moor as a hobby and agrees that initiatives such as Real Food make a big difference to a community: “It encourages use of fresh, local produce and gives people the confidence to grow their own.”

Darren now produces seven different flavours of chilli jams, two fruit sauces and a tomato chilli sauce, under the brand name of Dude & Dudettes Chilli Jam. He gained his first retail experience at Northenden Hive, a pop-up shop project supported by Northenden Neighbourhood Forum, designed to encourage growing businesses to take their first steps into a high street retail environment.

Organisations involved so far:

  • Duerr's
  • The Flava People
  • Himalayas Tea
  • The Authentic Food Co.
  • Minara Foods
  • Northern Grind
  • Zymurgorium
  • Dude & Dudettes 
  • Real Food Wythenshawe
  • Fozz Bee/Wythenshawe Park Beekeepers
  • Baby Bonnet Co.
  • Juiceworks
  • Healthy Food Brands

Wythenshawe food manufacturer creates jobs

Award-winning Wythenshawe based food company, The Authentic Food Co., has recruited 70 new members of staff in Stockport and Sharston after record sales.

Authentic Food is a family-owned frozen food manufacturer that supplies ready meals and snacks to major supermarkets and thousands of restaurants across the UK and Europe.

The company has experienced rapid growth and its turnover has increased by 12% in the year to 31 May 2017. It was recently recognised as one of the UK’s fastest-growing private food and drinks companies in The Grocer’s annual Fast 50 survey.

To fulfil increased demand for its products, the business has recruited for a range of Manchester-based positions including management roles, shift supervisors and quality auditors, as well as various production positions based in its Stockport and Sharston production facilities.

Simon Cowdroy, people director at The Authentic Food Co, said: “We’ve grown significantly in the past few years, but the simple foundations of our success have remained the same: great people, great products and great partners.”

#RealBusiness #RealOpportunities

The airport leads the way in boosting the north west economy

The £1bn Airport Transformation Programme – the largest infrastructure scheme in the north is set to create up to 1,500 jobs. The airport’s on-site academy has joined forces with main contractor, Laing O’Rourke, to deliver a specially-tailored course for those wanting to work on the scheme.

The first cohort of students, has secured roles working on the transformation. All live locally and were out of full-time work before being given the opportunity to work on this project.

Overseeing the first graduation was Manchester Airport’s CEO Andrew Cowan, who said: “I congratulate them on passing their course and securing a job with Laing O’Rourke.

“Our investment in Manchester Airport will give the north the world class international gateway it deserves. But it will also do a huge amount to boost the regional economy by creating jobs, tackling local unemployment and driving up skill levels, ensuring the transformation leaves a legacy.”

Recruitment is continuing for other regional positions, and an early careers event held in February at the Forum, focused on more apprenticeships and placements for young people in trades such as carpentry, and digital engineering, for projects across the north west:

  • The MIF Factory – a cultural venue being created in the city centre
  • Sir Henry Royce Institute – a centre for advanced materials research and commercialisation
  • Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD)
  • Metrolink – Trafford Park Line

More than 200 people attended the event, with nine potential employers and training organisations advising.

Approximately 30 new applications have been received by Laing O’Rourke for the apprenticeship vacancies advertised since the event, and several of the other businesses have since held interviews with candidates they met at the event.

Laing O’Rourke is recruiting for apprenticeships in electrical installation, heating and ventilation installation, plumbing, formwork carpentry, steel fixing, and scaffolding.


More expansion at MHA

A new teaching building is taking shape at Manchester Health Academy. Passers-by will have seen cranes lifting the steel work into place for the three-storey block during the autumn, and now floors and stairways have been installed.

Academy principal, Mr Green, visited the site along with two students and the academy’s finance director, Mrs Staunton.

Following their visit, student James Phoenix said: “I can see from this preview that the new building is going to be very special – a modern jewel in Wythenshawe’s crown”, while student Ali Mohammed said: “It is going to be an amazing addition to the academy. It was a privilege to see the construction at this stage; it will look completely different when it is finished.”

The building has been designed primarily for maths and English teaching, with classrooms incorporating state of the art, ‘teaching walls’. 

The new building will house a new reception, providing a welcoming entrance for parents, carers and visitors. Inside there will be a full-height atrium that will offer a flexible focal space for events.

The £10million transformation programme of the academy’s estate has already seen the addition of a new dining room extension, multi-use games area and FA standard all-weather pitch for students and the community to enjoy. The new building is due to open for use in September, in time for the next academic year.


Photo credit: Bowker Sadler Architecture

Opening of Durie Building at MEA

The Manchester Enterprise Academy (MEA) has officially opened its new Durie building. The event celebrated a world-class educational facility in the heart of Wythenshawe.

Guests began their visit with a tour of the £12 million development taking in the new facilities on offer. MEA students from Year 7 were ambassadors during the visit and were particularly excited to catch up with their former primary school heads.

Principal, James Eldon, and head boy, Mohammad Kak, opened the proceedings and introduced Mike Kane MP who performed the official duties of the ceremony unveiling a plaque in the theatre space. Mike Kane commented:

“What an incredible new campus for the students and our community. We have seen new art and fashion rooms, music and drama studios, English and science classrooms and an amazing new all-weather pitch and a theatre. I would like to wish MEA a fantastic future and continued success in its new campus.”

Peter Durie himself, who the building was named after, also visited MEA in November last year to tour the building and see the campus first hand. 

James Eldon commented, “We cannot thank Peter Durie enough for his expertise, patience and diligence in the creation of MEA. He has made a huge contribution to our success and our community will always be grateful.

“Thank you also to Mike Kane MP for his kind words and to all our guests from local primary partners, construction partners and the Altius Trust board who took time out of their busy schedules, to help us celebrate this great milestone for MEA and our community.”


Real Lives

Etrop Court
M22 5RG