Independent communications consultancy PPS Group's Manchester office has strengthened its team on the back of high-profile work for Cuadrilla Resources, currently exploring for natural gas from shale rock in Fylde and West Lancashire.
The new recruits are former Lytham St Annes Express editor Steve Singleton; former Oldham Chronicle reporter Lewis Jones and Oxford graduate Josh Owens.
PPS North now employs eight staff in its Charlotte Street office.
PPS Group picked-up PR Week magazine's 2011 Issues & Crisis Management Award for its work with Cuadrilla.
Sam Schofield, head of the Manchester office, will continue to lead PPS's support for Cuadrilla alongside other major projects.
Kevin Whitmore has been promoted to associate director and will focus the team's efforts in the commercial, retail and residential property markets.
Schofield said: "From representing local businesses concerned about the Manchester Congestion Charge, to providing strategic counsel on major projects in the energy and waste sectors, my team have always thrived on supporting clients facing communications challenges. Natural gas from shale has enormous potential for local communities in Lancashire, the UK economy and the country's energy security, so we are proud to be supporting Cuadrilla in seeking to unlock this resource."
Whitmore said: "Last year's PR Week Award began what has been a tremendous 12 months for PPS North. We are currently working on some of the region's highest profile development and land-use projects, including our agenda-setting work for Cuadrilla Resources and supporting Harrow Estates' housing proposals for the former BAE Woodford Aerodrome site.
"Steve and Lewis add vital journalistic expertise to our offer and Josh provides additional intellectual firepower, complementing a well established and talented team of communications practitioners."