Academy Print and Design, Altham

CREATING a unique solution to a very real problem, makes Academy Print and Design stand out from the crowds.

In an industry struggling to keep its head above water, the team behind managing director Nick Oakley created an all encompassing answer to the marketing needs of any company wanting to succeed in today’s market.

The Media Village enables the Altham print and design company to offer every tactical marketing tool in the box, while demonstrating to all their clients the importance and value of a successful team.

The Media Village is treated as a company in its own right with regular management meetings, new marketing strategies highlighting clear targets for growth.

The team behind Media Village refers to it as an exciting vehicle that has helped transform the financial fortunes of the Academy Group.

Managing director Nick Oakley, said: “Academy Print and Design works in a traditional industry that, to be brutal, is on its knees.

“We knew we needed to do something to avoid going the same way as too many other traditional printers.

“Our salvation has come about by building a team, a team we have called the Media Village.

“Through it we have not just stopped the decline we’ve grown and developed.

“We are now positive and optimistic about the future.

“We have tried to be innovative in our thinking and what we’ve come up with is a unique but very Lancastrian response to the threats of recession.”

The Mall, Blackburn

TAKING time to invest in people is the heart of The Mall, Blackburn's Team of the Year application.

With more than 600,000sq ft of retail space and over 100 retailers including Debenhams, Primark, Boots and Tesco, The Mall team pride themselves on providing a unique shopping experience for all.

With around 255,000 shoppers entering the centre each week, the 14 strong Mall staff, 23 security team employees and 30 cleaners work hard to make the Blackburn town centre shopping centre a focal point for bargain hunters across East Lancashire.

General Manager Loraine Jones said: "I think we have worked extremely hard as a team to improve the shopping centre and in turn the town centre.

“We have inserted a breath of fresh air into Blackburn and we could not have done that without working as a team.

“We class our team not only as those employed by The Mall but our security staff and cleaning staff who do an excellent job each day helping us to maintain a level of professionalism we would otherwise struggle to provide.

“This is why we believe we should win the Team of the Year category.”

The £66M development scheme has demonstrated The Mall Corporation's commitment to Blackburn and the wider community.

Despite the current economic climate, The Mall is focused on securing Blackburn's financial future.

Unlike many other shopping centres, The Mall continues to offer shoppers a unique shopping experience, with regular offers, competitions and promotions.

The Whitehall Hotel, Darwen

PRIDING itself on offering a top quality service at an affordable price, The Whitehall Hotel has proved it is a real jewel in Darwen’s crown.

Following the hotel’s incredible performance on Channel Four’s bed and breakfast review show, ‘Four in a Bed’ the team behind it have firmly placed themselves on the map.

Over the last nine years the Ross Street hotel’s owners Neil and Tracy Burrows have had an uphill struggle.

In 2003, when they purchased the 17 bedroom country house, the business was making a £250,000 loss.

But with lots of hard work and determination, the pair and their team of 25 employees have turned the business around with a pre-tax profit of £30,430 in 2011.

The dedicated team effort to change the fortunes of the hotel included refurbishing the bedrooms, public areas and grounds; achieving the highest rated hotel status in Darwen; being awarded three AA stars in 2011; creation of a fitness centre, preparations to hold weddings, investing in skills of employees and weekly staff meetings.

Director Neil Burrows, said: “As a team we have successfully impacted the business in key areas people, product and profit leading to industry recognition, financial stability and future expansion.

“The team recently competed in the Channel 4s programme ‘Four in a Bed’ in April this year. The competition features four hotels which are reviewed on key elements including hosting, cleanliness, facilities, breakfast and ultimately value for money. During the show The Whitehall took the opportunity to promote Crown Paints and created an innovative activity relevant to the business. The programme generated in excess of 30,000 hits.

“The hotel won the competition and was also the first establishment in the series to achieve full marks in the evaluation.”