DISTANCE LEARNING…In a trade deal that offers hope we might survive Brexit after all, more than 7,000 students from China have arrived for their studies at universities in Manchester and elsewhere in the North of England. The import was made possible through a huge multi-agency effort in the UK and China, led by a group comprising representatives from Greater Manchester’s universities, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester Airport Group and the Manchester China Forum. In total, 31 chartered flights between Chongqing Jiangbei Airport and Manchester Airport were arranged to transport the students to their places of learning, overcoming travel restrictions imposed amid the pandemic. The scheme was carried out with the help of the Chinese government, which helped to organise the flights. The arrivals could provide a welcome boost for Greater Manchester, as it is estimated that Chinese students contribute an estimated £500m a year to the local economy.
MELLOR MEMORIES…With work on Salboy’s 500 homes on the site of the former Manchester Racecourse barely underway, the developer is already receiving suggestions for road names within the Calderpeel-designed development. Salford councillor John Warmisham put forward the idea of naming one of the streets after three-time Champion jockey Stan Mellor, who was born in Salford in 1937 and rode many times at Manchester Racecourse. During his career, Mellor rode 1,000 winners and survived the punishment of 750 falls. His most famous victory came on a horse called Stalbridge Colonist at the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1966, when he beat the imperious Arkle to the post despite being a 25-1 outsider prior to the race. Mellor died in August, so Salboy’s proposals could be a fitting tribute to his life and successes.
SITE FRIGHT…You never quite know what you are going to find when you arrive at a construction site. Just ask Liverpool-based construction design and management firm Project Four, which tipped up to site the other day only to be greeted by what looked like the giant, luminous tentacle of an extra-terrestrial creature. What is it? Answers on a postcard, please.
PARTY POT…As ideas go, this one is pretty good. Mark Hawthorn, chief executive of Bolton-based investor Landmark Group, started thinking about all the money that would not be spent over the festive period due to Covid-19 restrictions and had a lightbulb moment. What if all the money we would usually spend filling our bodies up to breaking point with wine and food was donated to charity? Hawthorn lobbed the idea out into the business world like a philanthropic grenade and has since been inundated with replies supporting the idea. So far, the initiative, known as Xmas Party Heroes, has raised £500,000. Get involved and swap a stinking hangover for a spot of philanthropy this Christmas.
LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY…North West housing developer Mulbury has pledged support for the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, an organisation that helps encourage a better mental health culture within the industry. The housebuilder intends to donate £2,000 a year to the charity, which provides financial, physical and mental wellbeing support to construction workers and their families. Greg Mulligan, co-founder and director at Mulbury, said: “Being a predominantly male industry focused on manual labour, physical health is very much on the construction sector’s radar, yet while mental health is a growing concern, it often takes a back seat. It’s vital – not just as a business but as a sector as a whole – that we help de-stigmatise talking about how we’re feeling and make mental health a top priority.”
OOPS!…Step aside Aldi and Lidl, there’s a new four-letter discount supermarket retailer in town. ‘Oops’, part of Liverpool-based meat and poultry merchant KPFF, has just opened its first stores at Central Retail Park in Bolton and Corporation Street in Preston, and it has an interesting USP. Specialising in frozen food, Oops sells products that would otherwise have been thrown away due to overproduction or slight imperfections. I know what you’re thinking, there is no such thing as an imperfect fish finger, but it turns out that is only because, before now, it would have just been tossed in landfill before you had a chance to see it. Oops plans to open 30 stores across the UK, including outlets in Warrington and St Helens before Christmas. Waste not, want not.