TECHNOLOGY specialist Polymorph has been named Merseyside Independent Business of the Year at the 2019 MIB Awards.

The firm, which is based at The Heath in Runcorn, also scooped the Digital & Technology award and was commended by judges for its Mercury software, which enables naval forces, countries and intelligence agencies to securely share information in real-time and has supported aid vessels to deliver food and reduce piracy.

The awards were presented during a glittering ceremony at the Rum Warehouse, where much-loved Liverpool eatery and gourmet food market Delifonseca also scooped two awards, in the Retailer and Restaurant categories.

Joe Clark, who turned 76 on the day of the awards ceremony, was the toast of the evening when he was named Employee of the Year for his role at Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa in Wirral, while IT provider Doris was named Employer of the Year.

Knowsley Safari Park, Krol Corlett Construction and Your Payroll were among the Knowsley-based contingent to win awards in the Culture & Tourism, Trades & Manufacturing and Professional Services categories respectively.

The Guide Liverpool was named Best Creative Business and Nicola Pink, managing director of Pink Media, was voted Independent Businessperson of the Year. Mindfulness coaching firm Mindfit won the Health & Wellbeing award, Juice Immersive was named Best Start Up and the Community Impact Award went to Northern Power Women.

Morecrofts Solicitors founded and organises the MIB Awards to celebrate the achievements of independent businesses and showcase the enduring impact they have on the regional economy.

Alison Lobb, managing partner at Morecrofts Solicitors, said: “Now in its seventh year, the MIB Awards continues to provide a unique platform to highlight the endeavours of local entrepreneurs and business owners who continue to pursue their ambitions and provide a strong foundation for our regional economy.

“From the incredible Polymorph to the indelible Delifonseca and the inimitable Joe Clark, this has truly been an outstanding year and I must congratulate all of our shortlisted and winning nominees on the high calibre of their submissions.

“It has been wonderful to see so many business teams gathering at the ceremony, many meeting each other for the first time, and we hope they will remain part of the ever-growing MIB Awards community for years to come.”

The MIB Awards is headline sponsored by Liverpool BID Company and the winners are decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from within the regional business community.

Review by Nigel Smith

Tabby McTat, based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, is visiting the Everyman this week as part of an extensive national tour.

The story is narrated by Samuel Spratt, who brings three friends onto the stage to help him tell the tale. Wearing a variety of hats to determine who is who, the four actors take turns to play all the parts, turning the act of acting into a game in itself.

Tabby is a busker’s cat, who becomes separated from his friend Fred and, in his search to find him, he meets up with another cat, Sock, with whom he has three kittens. One of these turns out to be Samuel, who has a meeee-ew that could shatter glass. In itself the story is a simple one that could be told in minutes, so the show relies on repetition and reinforcement alongside a series of games, punctuated by a lot of fun-filled musical numbers that get the children involved.

Looking around the audience, it’s easy to pick out which of the children are familiar with the story, as they are more than happy to join in with the fun. At the performance I was invited to attend there was also a large group of theatre students in the house, who also got very involved and, along with the children, were still performing the actions on their way out.

Luke Rees-Oliviere predominantly plays Samuel Spratt, and his microphone is cunningly tuned to ensure that his voice is more shrill and dominant than the others, something that is perplexing until the story tells us the reason why. It’s a nice touch to have him singing completely out of key at the appropriate moments when in fact he, along with the other three performers, has an excellent voice.

This is sweet, engaging storytelling that will appeal in particular to very young children, played out in very simple fashion on a set made up mostly of two stepladders and a painted sheet. Running at a compact 1 hour it doesn’t stretch young attention spans either, and certainly manages to hold the attention throughout.

After this week at the Everyman, Tabby McTat continues his journey on tour countrywide with dates up to December.

Rating: 3 Stars

A MASTERPLAN aimed at transforming the epicentre of Liverpool’s musical heritage is set to go out to public consultation later this month.

A draft Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) for the area around Mathew Street – home of the world famous music venues the Cavern Club and Eric’s – goes before Liverpool City Council’s cabinet Friday, October 11.

The draft SRF, which also encompasses the Williamson Square area, contains a range of recommendations to help attract new investment and to enable the council to steer the future use of existing buildings.

The document is being created to address a recent tourism report that called for the city to curate a clearer proposition around Liverpool’s pivotal role in the story of popular and contemporary music.

Although the city’s music heritage industry – which is centred around The Beatles – is now worth more than £90m a year, a tourism report has found visitors are increasingly looking for a quality experiential visit.

On approval, the Cavern Quarter/Williamson Square draft SRF will go out to a five week consultation containing a series of public events for people to examine the recommendations in detail and provide their feedback.

The draft SRF makes a number of recommendations across three specific zones:

Cavern Quarter

  • Enhance the area’s daytime offer and resist proposals for further bars and nightclubs.
  • Re-purposing upper floors and specific support for music related businesses
  • Enhance the quality and mix of attractions related to the City’s music, culture and heritage to promote a multi offer experience to visitors
  • Upgrade gateways into the Cavern Quarter
  • Activate key nodes within the quarter, which offer opportunities for events and public art
  • Restore and enhance the character of the area including improving street furniture and building facades
  • Animate blank walls and surfaces as part of a wider art and digital strategy           


  • Enhance the approach to Williamson Square and the Cavern Quarter via a mix of new public art, trees, lighting, balanced street principles and improved wayfinding
  • Strategy to celebrate and interpret the street as the original “pool of Liverpool”

Williamson Square

  • Re-design the square to include flexible performance space and enhanced public realm including seating and planting
  • Refurbishment or redevelopment of the St Johns extension building to improve the northern elevation of the square
  • Consider re-development of Dawson Street site if the taxi rank can be successfully relocated
  • Enhance the Playhouse’s presence on the square – spill out areas, programme of events
  • Activate the façade of the vacant Marks and Spencer building

The draft SRF suggests creating Stakeholder Boards to assist in delivering a programme of events and activities and states that funding could come from a variety of sources be it via Section 106, city region grants and the European funded Urban GreenUP programme.

Following a review of all the representations received, a final version of the SRF will be presented back to Cabinet for final approval. At that point the SRF will be used to guide the determination of all future planning applications within the area.

LIVERPOOL Hospitality Association (LHA) is returning to Rum Warehouse at Titanic

Hotel Liverpool for its fourth annual Hospitality Awards and Charity Ball in October. This unique event celebrates the dedication of hardworking employees at all levels in the industry.

A total of 13 awards will be presented across the evening, with categories that cover a variety of sectors. These include Young Chef Employee of the Year, Sales Revenue Person of the Year, Top Team of the Year

Two special recognition awards, the ‘Mayor’s Award’ and a ‘Judges Award’, will be presented on the night.

The celebration, which will be sponsored by a variety of suppliers including Laurent Perrier, will be a great opportunity for guests to network with their peers whilst raising funds for the chosen charity, Hospitality Action.

Managing Director of World Class Service and the host of the Liverpool Hospitality Association Awards, Tracy Waddacor, said:, “The judging process for finalists has been harder than ever this year, due to the high standard and vast amount of nominations we’ve received.

“It’s amazing to meet such ambitious, hard-working individuals, and in particular we’d like to congratulate all the industry heroes who were nominated.”

Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse General Manager, Brian Connor, said: “We’re delighted to host these awards once more at the Rum Warehouse. It’s amazing to see Liverpool’s most influential hospitality employees come together and get the recognition they deserve, whilst raising valuable funds for a very deserving charity, Hospitality Action.”

Sarah Lowe of Bruntwood Works and Herb Kim of TEDxLiverpool

TEDxLiverpool has confirmed Bruntwood Works as its new headline sponsor for 2019 and beyond.
The day-long event takes place at ACC Liverpool on Sunday 10 November 2019 and will feature a line-up of thought-provoking speakers from a variety of sectors and disciplines, sharing their knowledge and insight with hundreds of ‘TEDsters’.

TED Talk speakers at this year’s TEDxLiverpool include CEO of Liverpool Football Club Peter Moore, renowned novelist and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce, international comedian Tanyalee Davis, design guru Stephen Bayley and reading revolutionist Jane Davis MBE. 

They are joined by acclaimed singer-songwriter Rebecca Ferguson, technology humanist Pete Trainor, STEM evangelist Jackie Bell and employment futurist Paul Redmond, with more names still to be announced.

Part of the Bruntwood Works sponsorship will go towards funding this year’s TEDxLiverpool Bursary Programme, which allows up to 30 applicants to attend the event free of charge as guests of Bruntwood Works and TEDxLiverpool. Bursary applications are due by Friday, 25th October and can be made from the TEDxLiverpool site.

Herb Kim, founder of TEDxLiverpool said: “The TEDxLiverpool team are hugely appreciative of Bruntwood becoming our Headline Sponsor. Bruntwood Works are fantastic partners to collaborate with and we’re honoured to be working together again in 2019.”

Colin Forshaw, regional director at Bruntwood Works, said: “TEDxLiverpool aims to spark deep discussion and connections amongst thinkers and doers from across the city region. This spirit of innovation is at the heart of our offering to customers and we are delighted to once again lend our support to such an inspiring event.”

FEMALE entrepreneurs ready to scale-up their businesses for the next stage of growth are being encouraged to access a special series of fully-funded masterclasses to help them on their way.

As part of the Enterprise Hub programme – Liverpool City Region’s “one-front door” access point for business support – the two October ‘Grow & Thrive’ Business Masterclass events are fully-funded for women business owners in the Liverpool City Region whose ventures are under 42 months old.

Delivered by The Women’s Organisation – managing agent and lead and accountable body of the Enterprise Hub programme – this series of expert-led training sessions has been developed to support women-led businesses with high growth ambitions.

The masterclasses are aimed at entrepreneurs who are ready to build their turnover as part of Enterprise Hub’s drive to help supercharge business growth across the region.

Each of the two fully-funded sessions will provide expert support to enable business owners to take the next step on their journey to commercial success.

The sessions will cover taking on staff, and developing a sales and marketing strategy.

Participants can attend one, or both of the events.

The first session, on Tuesday, October 8, deals with ‘When and How to Take on Staff’, and is aimed at providing entrepreneurs with the skills and practical knowledge to do so.

Local entrepreneur Anna Slater, founder of North West Linen Services, will share her journey and experiences of taking on staff for the first time. From tackling imposter syndrome, the importance of mapping out affordability and strategy, to becoming the employer of 26 staff members.

Expert recruitment consultant, Elaine Courtney, founder of Courtney Recruitment, will explain the main stages of recruitment and how to find the right people for your team.

One of The Women’s Organisation’s business experts, Bernie Cox, will outline the legalities and practicalities of taking on staff, from liability insurance, to setting up a payroll and arranging new employee inductions.

The second session, ‘Master Your Sales and Marketing Strategy’ will take place on Wednesday, October 16, dealing with taking a business into an exciting new phase of growth.

This emphasises the need for a watertight sales and marketing strategy which is vital to building valuable and lasting customer relationships which translate into sales.

Sue Kelbrick, from Wigwam Coffee Shop, will share her experience of developing her business story to achieve revenue growth, including establishing a unique brand.

Experienced sales leader Claire Philliskirk – winner of European Women in Tech Sales, Europe 2016 – will outline how to set, and reach, sales goals.

People performance expert Nikki Cross will also share her advice on the importance of aligning strategic goals with the goals of your team, offering a “how to” guide to setting a people performance strategy which effectively develops your people and grows your business.

Francine Taylor, senior business advisor at The Women’s Organisation, said: “Entering a new phase of business growth can be equally exciting and daunting for entrepreneurs, many of whom may not have much previous experience of running a business single-handedly.

“That’s why it’s so important to get support and draw on the experience, resources and insight which is available to help you scale your business and become a commercial enterprise of real substance.”

She added: “Whether you’re looking to further grow your sales turnover, take on your first members of staff, or even expand into new markets, Enterprise Hub can support you.

“The Grow & Thrive business masterclass series is an invaluable opportunity for entrepreneurs to hear practical tips and advice from industry experts to help them succeed.

“We’re excited to meet yet more talented and resourceful businesswomen and see how we can help them grow their businesses.”

Both sessions will take place at The Women’s Organisation’s Liverpool headquarters, at 54 St James Street, between 10am and 1pm.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Enterprise Hub provides expertise and skills from a wide range of organisations within the Liverpool City Region.

To date, Enterprise Hub has supported more than 6,000 residents from the Liverpool City Region to develop their enterprise skills, and it has helped launch in excess of 1,000 new businesses as a result.

To book onto any, or both, of these sessions, contact 0151-706 8113 or email

You can also visit for more information.



A ‘NEW era’ of Chinese cuisine is set to open in Liverpool next month (November).

The  restaurant, Lu Ban, which is due to open in the former Cains Brewery site, is set to introduce regional Chinese dining to the UK.

Lu Ban, which has its roots firmly planted in the Chinese city of Tianjin, will be launching a fresh, seasonally driven menu which is packed full of authentic dining options, including small plates, tasting menus and Tianjin inspired banquets.

The team behind the innovative concept, including Executive Head Chef, Dave Critchley (pictured), have spent months in the bustling Chinese city of Tianjin, researching, learning, and soaking up the culture and traditions.

Lu Ban Director, Mike Mounfield said: ‘Liverpool was chosen as the first ever Lu Ban location because, like Tianjin, it has an immense sense of community, is founded on great traditions and also has a really vibrant, burgeoning food scene.”

Following a multi-million-pound investment in the Baltic Triangle site, the new restaurant will offer a contemporary approach to Chinese cuisine, and guests can choose from an array of unique dining experiences. The space will contain private dining, a creative food lab, wine room with an extensive wine cellar, and contemporary main dining room, as well as a bar area.

“We want to give them a true experience of Tianjin; celebrating its culture, tastes and traditions, right here in the heart of Liverpool” added Mike.

MORE than 20 young chartered accountants from the Liverpool City Region celebrated becoming qualified at a ceremony hosted by ICAEW – the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The initiative is designed to mark exam success, welcome new chartered accountants into membership and prepare them for the next steps in their career.

The new accountancy professionals met at The Venue in Liverpool for the ceremony last weekend with family and friends.

ICAEW President Fiona Wilkinson presented certificates and prizes to outstanding candidates and signposted new members to support, opportunities and benefits of a relationship with ICAEW in their local area.

Andrew Lovelady, President of the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants, said: “We know that our trainees getting to this point is no easy feat. Our world-renowned professional qualification is deliberately tough, so it’s important that we acknowledge their achievements and show how much we appreciate the huge effort that goes into successfully balancing work and study.

“The event was amazing and I know it means so much to these young people to be awarded their “key to the profession” by the President of ICAEW. There will be many reflecting on the event and we hope the memory stays with them for a long time.  Our grateful thanks also go to our event partners CABA (the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association) and RSA.”

Nick Sell of RSA said “On behalf of RSA, congratulations to all these new chartered accountants! It’s important that they take a moment to celebrate their success; it’s what this event was all about.

SERVICEMEN will be honoured next week (9 October), when their names are added to the Roll of Honour at Liverpool Town Hall.

A total of 26 men who lost their lives in World War One will be added to the plaque in the Hall of Remembrance, with the inscription reading: “Their name liveth evermore”.

Special civic receptions for the families of those being added to the plaques will be hosted by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery.    

Town Hall officials are still searching for the family of three of the servicemen so that they can attend:

  • Private James John Finnigan, a pupil at St Anne’s Refuge and Industrial School for Catholic Boys on St Anne’s Street, who later moved to Heckmondwike and worked at Leeds and Liversidge Colliery. He served with 12 Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and died in the Battle of the Somme on the first day – 1 July 1916, aged 25. He was nominated after his name was discovered by Spen Valley Historical Society, who found him remembered on the War Memorial of Our Lady and All Saints Church in West Yorkshire.
  • Private Thomas Winstanley, of The King’s Liverpool Regiment (13th Battalion) who died on 21 August 1918. He is the son of John and Elizabeth Winstanley of 5 Sand Street, Great Howard Street, Liverpool.
  • Private Edward Sanderson of The Loyal North Lancashire regiment (1st Battalion), who died on 29 March 1917

The families of the servicemen are being asked to email if they would like to attend.

The full list of the personnel being added is:

  • Private RJ Ainscough – MANCHESTER REGIMENT (12TH BATT)
  • Private H Billington – THE KING’S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT) (7TH BATT)
  • Private J Cawley – AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY A.I.F. (25TH BATT)
  • Private T Leonard – CONNAUGHT RANGERS (5TH BATT)
  • Lance Corporal J McCarty – THE KING’S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT) (13TH BATT)
  • Lance Corporal P Seymour – THE KING’S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT) (1ST/10TH BATT)
  • Private D Spechtmeier – LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS (1ST BATT)
  • Engineer Commander CL Stewart – H.M.S. “PATIA” ROYAL NAVY RESERVE
  • Lance Corporal C Williams – SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT (8TH BATT)
  • Private T Winstanley – THE KING’S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT) (13TH BATT)

The Roll of Honour was unveiled by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, on 2 July 1921. The list of war dead began to be compiled during World War One  when names of the fallen were posted in a window overlooking Exchange Flags and relatives queued to add names.

The list of names was made available via the Town Hall’s website in 2008, and now the team receives requests for relatives’ names to go on the additions board, and there are now more than 13,500 included.

Review by Nigel Smith

KAREOKE Tales is a one-act play written and performed by Steffi Sweeney, co-founder of theatre company Wives’ Tales, who have a residency at Edge Hill University’s Arts Centre.

A biographical work, Karaoke Tales introduces us to a host of members of Sweeney’s family, using each of their signature Karaoke song choices as a vehicle to open up their personalities.

Utterly spellbinding from the outset, the show is paced to perfection under the keen-eyed direction of Kate Treadell. The momentum never slackens throughout the 60 minutes onstage, and the work has a real sense of structure, despite the glorious randomness of some of its content.

Sweeney has an immensely engaging performance style, and her timing is as razor sharp as the humour that’s laced through the entire piece. But as well as being laugh-out-loud funny in many places, there is some stunning poignancy and personal depth too, and there are pauses in the beautifully written dialogue in which you could hear a pin drop. Occasionally it seemed that the audience almost stopped breathing.

It is a solo performance but involves a big cast of characters. Here and there this is highlighted by segments of pre-recorded background as part of the wider soundtrack, but for the most part they are brought to life by Sweeney herself. Occasionally she may take to the microphone to directly characterise someone, but mainly it is simply the act of speaking to them as though they were onstage that makes us believe they are actually there. At times you can almost swear you see them.

The narrative is sharp, witty and extraordinarily moving and it is delivered with punch, precision and immense clarity. This is very polished theatre making.

Karaoke Tales originated in an 18 seat karaoke bar as part of the 2017 On the Verge fringe festival. Now developed into a full scale one act play it is planning a tour, for which this performance in Edge Hill’s Rose Theatre is a preview. Watch out for news of upcoming tour dates.

Steffi Sweeney and co-founder of Wives’ Tales Alice Lapworth engage students at Edge Hill in every aspect of the production and performance process. It’s great to see emerging talent not only creating great new writing and performance, but sharing the experience with tomorrow’s creative minds. Working alongside Edge Hill’s Performing Arts Department and with the support of the Everyman’s new writing programme, here we see the future of theatre in the making.

Star rating 
Five stars


TECHNOLOGY specialist Polymorph has been named Merseyside Independent Business of the Year at the 2019 MIB Awards.The firm, which is based at The Heath...


By Bob EdwardsSebastian Ziani de Ferranti was born in Liverpool at 130 Bold Street Liverpool in 1864. His Italian father, Cesare, was a photographer...