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10,000 users sign up to Grafter!

16th February 2018

Grafter is a new free digital solution for business to rapidly engage project, short term and seasonal workers. The concept was conceived by Tom Cape and co-founded with Richard Knight in June 2017.

Following a 156% overfunding raise in October 2017, Grafter has already attracted over 10,000 registered users.

With a range of skills and experience in technology, digital startups, business development and finance, the Founders also share a passion for building and property development which in turn helped shape their insights for the Grafter business.

Tom Cape recognized the opportunity when he tried to find people to shift concrete on a small building project. To his great frustration, he couldn't find anybody to fulfill the job - despite knowing there were local people out there. A similar experience was experienced by Richard so they resolved to tackle the problem together.

Through further research, it became apparent that a large number of business sectors including events, the leisure sector and building required a faster route to find non-specialist workers. Coupled with the fact that flexible working has become a positive choice for millions of people - from millenials to the retired - the Grafter business was born.

Grafter is designed for businesses seeking project, short term of seasonal workers in leisure and events. farming, landscaping, delivery, warehousing and factory/light industry and self-employed workers seeking flexible or short term work that doesn't demand qualified skills or past experience.

As Tom Cape explains, Grafter is fit for the demanding needs of business and workers both now and the future. 'We recognise the way people want to work and the type of work available is changing rapidly. Grafter is the first free digital service that engages all types of flexible workers with local business in just a few steps - making the process of finding work and workers, swift, cost-effective and trustworthy too'.

Whether its labourers seeking their next building project, students looking for holiday income or older workers searching for gardening or driving work, Grafter offers a simple sign up process. 'Grafters' are able to upload their profiles detailing who they are, where they are located and what they are able to do.

In the case of businesses seeking 'grafters' - the service is completely free for businesses to find and engage workers. Grafter also offers a managed service including additional value-add services such as tracked messaging, digital contracting, reminder emails and a cashless payment system. At the payment stage, Grafter charges the business a usage fee of 5% plus VAT.

In a fast growing culture of flexible working, Grafter is committed to supporting good practice and fair work. The service only allows jobs to be posted and priced at or above the minimum wage.

The Grafter team is growing - focusing efforts on the brand and its global reach through digital marketing, PR, social media, events, partnerships and direct to market tactics.

As true digital disrupters of the traditional employment marketplace, Grafter plans to amplify its platform in the future making the website a destination for additional services such as tax administration, accounting and for charities to find volunteer workers.

Grafter is available at and the Grafter app is available on iOS and Google Play.

Still time to register for free entry into Excursions™ 2018

Still time to register for free entry into Excursions™ 2018

8th January 2018

There are just a few days to go until the Excursions™ 2018 exhibition takes place at Alexandra Palace in North London on Saturday, 27th January (10.30am-4pm). Nearly 250 exhibitors from across the UK and near Europe are ready and waiting to meet you - have you booked your free entry ticket?

You can still register online until the show start time, just complete your details and download your digital e-ticket. Alternatively, come along on the day and register at the gate.

On arrival (10.15-10.45am) you will be welcomed in Palm Court with a taster of the much acclaimed tribute acts from the Matinee Shows, which are produced by Groups Direct in association with James R Hearn. The artists will also be performing throughout the day inside the show with tributes to the likes of Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Michael Bublè and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

If you haven't yet booked your free coach transfer, there is still time to reserve a seat online, but hurry as the final date for booking is 22nd January and some coaches are already full. For visitors making their own way by train, a free shuttle service will run from Alexandra Palace main line and Wood Green Underground stations from 10am until 4pm. The W3 bus also picks up from both stations and drops off at Alexandra Palace.

Organised by Tourism South East, Excursions™ is the No.1 stop for inspiration, ideas and itineraries for days out and short breaks for groups and coach tour operators. For more details and to book a place on a transfer coach contact the ExcursionsTM team on Tel: 023 8062 5516 or visit

Ievo Partner With Leading Intruder Alarm Manufacturer

Ievo Partner With Leading Intruder Alarm Manufacturer

27th July 2017

Whilst biometric access control is now seen as the technology of choice for many business sectors, its take-up by domestic and SME customers has been limited through the perception that the technology was more cost-effective for larger installations where the added value of time and attendance data acquisition could be factored into the decision to purchase.

However, a new integration between ievo Ltd, the Newcastle-based manufacturer of CPNI-approved, innovative biometric fingerprint readers, and Texecom, Europe's largest independent security alarm specialist, has now made the technology more accessible to the domestic and smaller SME markets.

ievo biometric fingerprint readers can now be integrated with Texecom's Premier Elite Series of control panel systems, providing a single comprehensive system architecture and peripheral range of devices managed by biometric control. Intruder alarm systems can be activated and disarmed by reading a registered fingerprint and the system can be extended to relay information used for a single door access control entry point to further functionality.

Richard Forsyth, Sales Manager for ievo, commented, 'The key here is a blend of convenience and enhanced security for high end domestic and SME users. Numeric code PINs and fobs can be lost, forgotten or stolen whilst a fingerprint, once registered, is unique to that authorised user. Once a person's fingerprint is enrolled, and this is a very simple process using the same reader, only that user can set or disable the alarm and peripherals.'

'The multispectral imaging technology (MSI) technology that we incorporate into our readers enables identification of a registered fingerprint even with levels of surface contaminants (grease, dust, etc.) present on the skin, whilst the IP65 rating means the readers function in the most extreme environments so can be positioned externally. This is particularly important in industrial and construction environments where the system's ability to provide multi-level access with certain personnel restricted to certain areas is an additional benefit.'

'We're delighted to be working with an award-winning international leader in electronic security devices and see this integration as opening up a potentially huge market for smaller and domestic systems. With the Texecom integration now available, we are already seeing an uptake from those who previously enquired about intruder alarm integration and single door access control.'

'The relationship demonstrates both companies' ethos of constantly developing innovative solutions for customers and the wider security market, and our biometric fingerprint readers fit perfectly with the Texecom's Premier Elite Series and the task of tackling individual security challenges.'

Mike Govier, Texecom's Senior Customer Support Engineer added, 'Additionally, and very importantly for the high end domestic market, biometric authentication is treated as a portable proximity tag, or ace, and thus complies with standards required by Police response systems which have to be operated with such tags. This solution gives us a security system that complies with Police response requirements and greater control over access to a property.'

For more information on ievo biometric systems please visit

From Initial Plans To Lasting Impressions

From Initial Plans To Lasting Impressions

11th July 2017

Your event transport solutions made easy with Event Connect.
With a UK wide network of road transport partners and vehicles ranging from coaches, luxury minibuses and executive cars, Event Connect will work as an extension of your team providing a full service, tailored transport solution to suit both you and your customers.
No matter what type of event you're planning, we've got project planners with the expertise and experience to match and we'll assign you a dedicated project team with the right skills to deliver a transport plan, which offers efficiency and reliability.
With years of experience in event transport and the additional support from our 24 hour control room, our regionally tailored service will ensure you are in safe hands, leaving you free to focus on planning the rest of your event.
Mobile:07768 251 849

Tobacco Dock aims to build events industry community at the heart of successful venue

Tobacco Dock aims to build events industry community at the heart of successful venue

26th June 2017

Tobacco Dock, The City's iconic conference and events venue, is also home to a stunning complex of offices, meeting room suites and semi-private workspaces. TDVL, operators of Tobacco Dock, are now aiming to attract a range of businesses in the events space - including suppliers, event tech innovators, production companies, hospitality specialists and ticketing businesses - to base themselves in characterful offices at the venue.

Patrick Donovan, Managing Director of TDVL, says "Over the last decade we've seen a trend towards clustering where your clients are. FinTech in Canary Wharf, creative industries in Shoreditch and Soho etc. It seems to make sense for events professionals, SMEs and specialist suppliers to be co-located with one of the capital's busiest events hubs. We can't promise that our clients will become their customers, but it makes sense to be on site and in a position to showcase your ideas in a venue where more than half a million visitors a year, and some of the world's biggest brands, are passing through".

The Dock offers private and semi-private offices for businesses from 2 to 30 people and, thanks to the recent explosion of development in the Wapping and Shadwell area, as well as new facilities on site like Dock St Cafe and the super-cool Skylight rooftop bar and lawn-club, the neighbourhood is really coming to life. New residential and retail projects are springing up next-door at London Docks & St Katharine Docks and Thomas More Square also boasts a range of new bars and cafes as well as access to tube and overground networks.

Donovan is convinced about the attractions of the kind of office facilities that he has created at The Dock 'Who wants the hassle of long-term fully repairing leases and all the investment required for reception, security, print room, IT, super fast wi-fi and other facilities? By packaging all that up and being able to offer a business of say 6 people a smart, fully serviced office for less than £20k pa including rent, rates and all service charges - we think The Dock will make the perfect home for small, but fast growing events industry enterprises'.

For further information email, phone 0203 846 9201 or visit

Open-Air Theatre Festival

Open-Air Theatre Festival

26th May 2017

Dean Close School's idyllic outdoor venue, The Tuckwell Amphitheatre has established itself as the premiere location to enjoy exciting theatre, not least open-air Shakespeare productions. The festival team have hand-picked another selection of sizzling Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Speaking on behalf of the festival team, Clara Hambling said: 'Shakespeare in the evening sunshine, with a picnic and some fun loving friends! What could be more civilised?!.'

On 19th July Cheltenham will play host to Folksy Theatre's Twelfth Night, in which two twin siblings, Viola and Sebastian, are separated in a shipwreck. Viola takes on the appearance of a man to be accepted to work in Duke Orsino's household and then the fun really begins! Twelfth Night is a play about mistaken identities, about love and the madness it can drive us to. Filled with Folksy's touch of live music, bold characters and audience interaction, this will be the perfect start to the summer.

On 26th July you are invited to Heartbreak Productions' 1928 Fete of Misrule to enjoy a playful outdoor adaptation of Shakespeare's unlikely love story; The Taming of the Shrew. Everyone wants to marry Bianca, Kate's younger sister but Kate must be married first and no suitor can be found. Enter Petruchio, a gamester on the make who surprises them both with the most unconventional courtship in English literature. A controversial, passionate and tender story of sexual politics brought to life with Heartbreak's hallmark live music, humour and audience interaction.

On 3rd August festival favourites The Pantaloons Theatre Company return with Shakespeare's most iconic comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Midsummer night. An enchanted forest. Puck and his musical fairy band told a tale of lovers, mechanicals, and magical mayhem. This critically-acclaimed theatre company tell the Bard's timeless comic tale in their own distinctive and anarchic style.

Business professionals set to benefit from the largest events exhibition in the South West

Business professionals set to benefit from the largest events exhibition in the South West

15th May 2017

After a successful introduction in Scotland, the next step sees the Venue Expo, co-located with
PA Expo head to the South West. Aiming to replicate the success of Edinburgh, we will be at
the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on the 24th of May 2017.
The Celtic Manor is a fantastic venue, recently voted the UK's Best Hotel at the Meeting &
Incentive Travel Awards held in London. This was the sixth time in the last 7 years that this
prestigious venue has been awarded this title.
This further confirms Celtic Manor's position as the leading destination for events in the UK, the
accolade recognises another outstanding year for Celtic Manor when it once again returned
record revenues, acquired a neighbouring 148-bedroom hotel and secured the final funding to
begin constructing the new International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales) for 5,000
Celtic Manor Resort Sales Director, Danielle Bounds says:
'We are delighted to be hosting Venue Expo 2017 and bringing this prestigious event to Wales
for the first time. Venue Expo has built a reputation as one of the leading MICE industry
exhibitions and hosting this event gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase the fantastic
facilities we have for staging meetings, conferences and events here at Celtic Manor. When we
exhibit at other show venues, we always say you really need to visit Celtic Manor to truly
appreciate the size and scale and quality of our facilities and the great thing about hosting
Venue Expo 2017 is that we can show the delegates all that while they are here for the event.'
The inaugural show will feature unrivalled networking for all attendees to benefit from, including
groups such as Womenspires & Zokit just to name a few. With a variety of networking taking
place, there really is something for everyone. Not to mention a variety of informative seminars,
covering topics from marketing to networking, as well as high quality exhibitors, all offering a
large variety of products and services.
This year's shows will see the team at UKFE - organisers of the Venue Expo, deliver their
strongest profile to date! All have been working hard to ensure that the inaugural event in
Newport is a great success by using the most current and in demand participants such as Stage
Sound Services, Newport City Council, Vale Resort & more... as they continue to strengthen
the title of a leading MICE industry and business focused event across the UK.
'We are all very excited as it's an incredible time for the Venue & PA Expo. Cementing these
events as leading Business and PA focused exhibitions in the North has been a long but
worthwhile journey. The fact we have expanded these profiles to include Wales is incredible. I
am exuberant for the debut in Newport and look forward to working with our exhibitors and
meeting all the attendees.' - President of UKFE Brett Bienias
All delegates will have the chance to return to the Celtic Manor Resort, the stunning setting for
Venue Expo and PA Expo, and treat a guest to a luxury overnight stay including dinner and
breakfast. To be included in the prize draw, simply drop your business card off at registration!
For anyone looking to do business and be exposed to industry leaders from Wales and across
the UK, this is an opportunity that you simply can't afford to miss.
You can can register by following the link or simply turning up on the day:
For further information, please contact
Paalan Sood - Marketing Executive
0151 203 0043

Change At The Helm Of Parallel Blue

Change At The Helm Of Parallel Blue

27th April 2017

John Denton calls time on events
John Denton calls time on events - Paul Martin takes over as Managing Director
After 26 years at the helm of Parallel Blue, the live communication and events agency, John Denton has decided it's time to step down as Managing Director and head off to a well-earned retirement. Paul Martin, currently Business Development Director, will take over as Managing Director with immediate effect and will be responsible for the company's ambitious ongoing growth strategy.
John formed the company in 1991 as Compass Event Management and has worked with many companies and industries over the years, delivering world class events and experiences. John said 'While it is a very sad day for me to leave the company I began all those years ago, I can look back with incredible pleasure on the fantastic times I, my colleagues and of course our clients have had. The moment is right for me to depart and spend more time doing the things I love such as sailing, travelling and of course indulge my passion for food and wine. I leave with Parallel Blue having a bright future ahead of it and I wish everyone all the very best.'
New Managing Director Paul Martin has over 15 years' experience in the events business both within the corporate sector and on the agency side. He has been with Parallel Blue for the last 3 and a half years as Business Development Director. Paul said 'We are very sorry to see John go; his customer centric approach, combined with his experience and expertise in all things events have been the bedrock for Parallel Blue's success over the years. He leaves us with a strong client base and an ever-expanding pipe line of new business opportunities and I am looking forward to leading the growth of Parallel Blue as an events agency with clients' needs at the heart of everything we do.
While John is formally stepping down, I know he intends to continue to act in a consulting capacity so we will no doubt continue to see him on a regular basis. We wish him a long and happy retirement.'

Hat-trick of wins for Joe Manby Limited

Hat-trick of wins for Joe Manby Limited

23rd January 2017

Event services specialist Joe Manby Limited has been appointed to provide services to three events across the UK for the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).

The Harrogate-based company will provide integrated event services to the PLSA's Investment Conference being staged at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the Local Authority Conference in Cirencester as well as the Annual Conference and Exhibition at Manchester Central in October.

The PLSA is the national association for pension professionals and members include more than 1,300 pension schemes with 20 million members. The three events are part of a national programme which the PLSA runs throughout the year, showcasing the latest products and services in the financial sector. The shows attract leading speakers from the pension and political spheres, as well as more than 3,500 delegates. Joe Manby Limited will provide stand installation, show graphics, electrics, furniture & carpet hire.

Kate Hadley, head of events at the PLSA, said: 'The PLSA provides first class and highly regarded conferences to the pensions and lifetime savings industry and it is crucial that we align ourselves with a professional and highly reputable organisation. With the thousands of delegates that attend our events and the complex logistics involved it is important that we get the right support. We very much look forward to working with Joe Manby Limited in 2017.'

Andrew Manby, director at Joe Manby Limited, said: 'We're delighted to add these three new shows in the financial sector to our portfolio. We relish this opportunity to work with Kate and the PLSA team to help deliver their 2017 events.'

Joe Manby Limited offers a comprehensive range of event services to organisers and exhibitors at major venues throughout the UK. It has a growing portfolio and a worldwide customer base.

For further information, visit:

UKFE announce further expansion of the Venue Expo

UKFE announce further expansion of the Venue Expo

20th January 2017

After three very successful years, the Venue Expo co-located with PA Expo has
built an unrivalled reputation for being a leading exhibition for the MICE
(Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) industry across the North of
Year on year, Venue Expo co-located with PA Expo has delivered high quality
exhibitions, including the best products & services, leading content and industry
renowned keynote speakers. It has attracted an array of visitors, including
agencies, PCO's, corporate firms, associations and exhibition/event organisers.
It's a pleasure to finally announce that the Venue Expo co-located with the PA
Expo is expanding to Wales. The two day event will be hosted at the stunning
Celtic Manor on the 24-25th of May 2017.
Celtic Manor is one of the most exceptional venues for convention and events
that Wales has to offer. Previously hosting the Ryder Cup in 2010 and events
such as the NATO summit, it's fitting that this is going to be home to the
impressive Venue Expo co-located with PA Expo.
Celtic Manor Resort Sales Director, Danielle Bounds says:
"We are delighted to be hosting Venue Expo 2017 and bringing this prestigious
event to Wales for the first time. Venue Expo has built a reputation as one of the
leading MICE industry exhibitions and hosting this event gives us an excellent
opportunity to showcase the fantastic facilities we have for staging meetings,
conferences and events here at Celtic Manor. When we exhibit at other show
venues, we always say you really need to visit Celtic Manor to truly appreciate
the size and scale and quality of our facilities and the great thing about hosting
Venue Expo 2017 is that we can show the delegates all that while they are here
for the event."
Previously we have seen masses of attendees and hosted buyers visiting the
event, directly interacting with industry leading suppliers. The UK events
industry is continuously developing and it's only fitting that Wales is able to
benefit from this. It's not only an honour but a privilege to be providing the
platform to enable this.
It's exciting to see that there is a lot of interest regarding the event at such an
early stage, The Leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Debbie Wilcox says:
'The visitor economy is a strategically important growth sector for the City of
Newport, which has seen tremendous changes over the past few years. The
Business Tourism and Business Events side of this is especially important, and
we continue to support the Celtic Manor Resort with their new developments.
The city has excellent transport connections and a range of products and venues
that we hope will give you a reason to return. We are delighted to have the
chance to host this event, Venue Expo Wales 2017, for the 'event specialists and
organisers', on the first time it has come to Wales, and offer a warm welcome to
All attendees to both the Venue and PA Expo are encouraged to attend CPD
accredited seminars and benefit from invaluable networking opportunities. Not to
mention the enormous variety of exhibitors offering services and products
directly relating to the MICE industry.
'We are all very excited as it's an incredible time for the Venue & PA Expo.
Cementing these events as the largest MICE industry and PA focused exhibitions
in the North has been a long but worthwhile journey. The fact we have expanded
these profiles to include Scotland and now Wales is incredible. I am very pleased
to be announcing this fantastic news and looking forward working with such a
prestigious venue like Celtic Manor.'

-President of UKFE Brett Bienias