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The Heath rises to pandemic challenge by attracting host of new businesses to the Park

As the business world struggles to come to terms with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to find the best and most effective way to safely maintain operations, The Heath in Runcorn has continued to successfully attract a range of new businesses to the popular location.

Throughout the national Lockdown key staff at SOG Group, the owner of The Heath Business and Technical Park, worked tirelessly to prepare the multi-occupancy site to ensure the scores of businesses located on the Park could safely operate alongside one another while meeting all the stringent Covid-19 regulations.

Lesley Banks, SOG’s Sales and Marketing Manager, says: “At The Heath, we have more than 100 businesses working alongside each other with communal corridors, spaces and facilities. Our Health & Safety team has worked exceptionally hard over many months to ensure the safest possible working environment for all the businesses located here, and all of their staff. It has been a massive challenge, but we have created the safest possible environment in which people can continue to conduct their business.”

Banks says that as a result of SOG’s unprecedented efforts, The Heath has been rewarded by a clutch of new businesses deciding to move on to the site over recent weeks from a wide variety of business sectors.

“This is a reflection on all the measures that we have put in place and underpins our message that we can offer flexible space, in a safe environment, to accommodate the needs of large and small companies or start-up businesses. We can offer a desk or small workspace or dedicated offices and bespoke laboratory space for research and development,” adds Banks.

One of the latest companies to set up home at The Heath is Stealth Cheshire Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The club, owned by Head Coach Alex Cannon (pictured) with a team of four coaches and over 50 members, has its headquarters in Oldham and affiliate gyms in the North East, Northern Ireland, Madrid and the Costa Del Sol. For the past two years it has been delivering classes from The Heath’s gym but has now opened a bespoke dedicated studio with mat and exercise space, conditioning equipment areas and a chill-out zone. There are classes suitable for all ages from children as young as 5 years old through to adult classes, and even sessions for toddlers and parents.

Says Alex: “As well as our daily Brazilian Jiu-jitsu classes (both Gi and Nogi) we'll be adding wrestling, strength and conditioning, striking classes (boxing), women's self-defence and fitness, and a full kids’ programme. We’ve got loads of activities for those wanting to get away from the daily grind and we also aim to help those people suffering from mental health issues too, particularly ex-forces personnel, by providing a new focus for them. We don’t discriminate, everyone is welcome.

“We’ve developed a fantastic working relationship with SOG and the people that run their gym and events spaces. The geographical location of The Heath is perfect just off the M56 and close to all travel networks, and the facilities here are second to none. It’s the perfect environment for our new studio.”

HTS Group, a leading Electrical Engineering Solutions provider which also specialises in Functional Safety Services, has opened a centre at The Heath that will be responsible for business support and development, Site Services Management and Project Management. Initially a team of eight operatives will be based at the Park with the intention of relocating their engineers, electrical designers and control panel workshop to The Heath in the future.

Managing Director Martin Hold says: “The Heath is ideally located to enable HTS Group to service many of our existing clients who are based in the North West, also allowing us to be well positioned to support our expanding national business. There are a variety of workspaces available here, in terms of size and purpose, providing us flexibility to suit our growing business. The professional SOG team at The Heath have comprehensive experience in supporting the diverse business community based here. This is a well-known business hub, providing networking opportunities for complementary companies too.”

Maltacourt, a privately owned international freight forwarder, specialising in import, export and warehousing across all modes - road, air and sea, has also moved to The Heath. Formed in Widnes in 1981, Maltacourt has always had its Head Office based in the local area, with supporting offices at Heathrow and Edinburgh.

Adam Williams, Commercial Director, says: “By relocating to The Heath, Maltacourt can continue to have its head-office in the region where it was first founded, which allows us to continue to support our local, northern client base. Meanwhile, we are continuing coverage with sister offices in London and Edinburgh, across the spine of the UK and the major commercial hubs of the country.

“After 10 years located at Daresbury, in a self-contained office building, we felt the time was right to relocate to The Heath after originally exploring the move back in 2015. We feel The Heath offers a more social and community feel for our staff and brings us closer to the local amenities of the surrounding area our staff crave, as well as providing excellent on-site services. We’re also hoping to benefit from the increased opportunity to meet likeminded businesses and network with those currently working and operating out of The Heath.”

Initially about a fifth of Maltacourt’s 30-strong workforce will be based at The Heath.

M-Power Activity Services is another local company that has relocated to the business park. Launched in 2002, M-Power is a wellbeing company that has been providing unique activities to people of all ages and abilities and specialises in promoting skills through activity for people with learning, physical and sensory impairments.

Tina Smyth, HR and Finance Manager, says: “M-Power is about empowerment. Through engaging activities within a group of peers, people with learning, physical and sensory impairments are able to integrate into their community and develop their communication skills whilst practicing their independence. Our staff are trained in many activities and are person centred. The services we provide are an alternative to traditional care. Our activities are available in the week, at weekends and in the evenings. We also offer Activity Breaks around the UK and abroad.” More/3

M-Power also offers training and a consultancy service for high risk working environments; specifically, in the adventure and sports industry. M-Power Director John Paul Dixon is working with well-known companies including television and universities as a technical advisor and trainer. Mr Dixon says: “I’m really excited to relocate to the Heath and I look forward to my team and I being part of the network and Heath community.”

Further illustrating the diverse range of businesses that The Heath provides space for is C and A Gifts which Carrieanne Watson launched from home locally a year ago with her daughter and a friend. They supply gifts for celebrations including Mothers’ Day and parties from as little as £2 to £30 and sweet cones, sweet boxes, balloons, baby cupcakes and nappy cakes.

Says Carrieanne: “We have something for everyone from babies to the elderly and can even provide gifts for pets such as dogs, cats, birds or rabbits. Our business has grown in just 12 months and we needed more room to expand, and The Heath has provided us with affordable space and has everything we need to run our business.”

Green Renewables Consultancy is yet another start-up business to choose The Heath as its operational base. Director Nicola Thomas originally launched the business from home earlier this year. However, she requires a base for her growing team which now has six advisors offering consultancy services for providing cleaner, greener, energy bill reducing solutions for domestic energy consumers.

“The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) is a government financial incentive to promote the use of renewable heat. Switching to heating systems that use eligible energy sources can help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and meet its renewable energy targets. Under this new scheme, for homeowners who install an air source heat pump, they could receive quarterly cash payments over seven years. We have a team of highly experienced consultants and fitters who are here to help and assist home-owners in their transition to a greener property,” says Nicola.

She adds: “As our business grows the need for office space has been paramount and we couldn’t have found a better place than the offices at The Heath, with its prime location and giving us access to a Café and leisure gym which is exactly what we needed. Working from a business park also means we meet different businesses and new people, and also have the back-up of lots of support services that The Heath offers.”

Says Banks: “These new companies we have attracted over recent weeks shows just how flexible we are to meet the requirements of a really very diverse range of businesses, from offering basic office accommodation to bespoke office and laboratory spaces for high-tech businesses that also require a level of highly specialised support services.

Currently some employees are being asked or encouraged to work from home which presents a potential risk to employers, under their Duty of Care, as without adequate home risk assessments (follow HSE guidelines) any claims made by employees due to issues or incidents occurring from home working, may lead to the employer not been fully insured. One solution to this is The Heath Business & Technical Park which offers flexible space and meets government guidelines to ensure peace of mind for employers and employees alike during these challenging times.”

About The Heath
The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 120 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit

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13th October 2020