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Big it Up Bulletin - July 2010

The latest update for Big It Up campaigners on major projects and good news stories for Leicester and Leicestershire, brought to you by Leicester Shire Promotions

If you have any more Big It Up stories to tell of how you, your colleagues or organisation have championed the cause of Leicester and Leicestershire, please feed appropriate details through to Simon Gribbon at Leicester Shire Promotions on 0116 225 4001 or email simon.gribbon@l-p-l.com

World-first Asian elephant walkway now open at Twycross

The High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, His Excellency Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, has officially opened the new £1 million Asian elephant habitat and walkway at Twycross Zoo. The opening marked the launch of a unique zoological and cultural attraction in the United Kingdom. Most Zoo’s have themed elephant habitats which reflect Thailand, Burma, Vietnam or India. Twycross Zoo will be the first in the world to theme a Sri Lankan elephant habitat.

Shoppers spent over £1 billion in Leicester in a year

Shoppers spent more than £1 billion in Leicester last year, according to an annual retail survey. The figures, collected by Consolidated Analysis Centre Inc, state that shoppers in Leicester parted with a total of £1.04 billion of their cash. The figure has seen Leicester placed 14th in a league table of the most popular shopping cities in the UK. The study also ranked Fosse Park as the third most popular retail park in the country, with shoppers parting with £220 million of their cash there.

Local bakery gets a taste of success at awards

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies from Dickinson & Morris have won several awards at the Great Taste Awards. The bakery received a taste accolade for four of its authentic Melton Mowbray Pork Pie lines. Organised by the Guild of Food, the Great Taste Awards is the largest awards scheme for speciality and fine foods in the UK. Dickinson & Morris received One Gold Star for its Large Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, its two-pack snack and its six-pack mini Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Two Gold Stars for its Medium Melton Mowbray Pork Pie.

Curve wins international architecture award

Leicester’s Curve theatre has won an international award in recognition of its outstanding architecture. The landmark building in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter was among winners of the prestigious 2010 International Architecture Awards, which celebrate the most significant new architecture worldwide. Curve, which was designed by award-winning Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, was selected by a judging panel consisting of world-leading architecture academics and critics.

Local businesses shortlisted for 'tourism Oscars'

14 Leicestershire tourism businesses are celebrating after being shortlisted to go forward to the final of the seventh East Midlands Tourism Enjoy England Excellence Awards. Leicestershire finalists will join others from across the East Midlands to compete for the prestigious awards at a ceremony on 7 October 2010.

The 2010 finalists are:

• Belmont Hotel, Leicester - Large Hotel of the Year

• Hotel Maiyango and Restaurant, Leicester - Small Hotel of the Year

• The National Space Centre, Leicester – Large Visitor Attraction

• Bosworth Battlefield, Sutton Cheney - Small Visitor Attraction

• Harborough Museum, Market Harborough - Small Visitor Attraction

• Leicester City Football Club, Leicester - Business Tourism

• On-Train Catering Team, Great Central Railway, Loughborough - Outstanding Customer Service

• Ashby Tourist Information Centre, Ashby-de-la Zouch - Tourist Information Service

• Great Central Railway, Loughborough - Tourism Experience

• The Grey Lady, Newtown Linford - Taste of the Region

• Hotel Maiyango and Restaurant, Leicester - Taste of the Region

• Horseshoe Cottage Farm, Cropston - Sustainable Tourism

• Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville - Access for All

• Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville - Think Family

Food labels boost profits

The special EU-protected status achieved by Leicestershire’s iconic Melton Mowbray Pork Pie and Stilton Cheese has been hailed by the government as an example for farmers around the country when it comes to food labelling. Jim Paice, Minister for Agriculture and Food, wants other regions to follow by promoting local specialities through geographically protected status, as has been seen in Melton Mowbray.

Film awards for University of Leicester team

A DVD produced by the University of Leicester’s ITS-Multimedia Services for training counsellors has won an award in the USA from HeSCA, the Health and Science Communication Association. ‘Tightropes and Safety Nets – Counselling Suicidal Clients’ was developed in partnership with Professor Sue Wheeler, Director of Counselling and Psychotherapy at the Institute of Lifelong Learning and Dr Andrew Reeves from the University of Liverpool Counselling Services. The DVD was also nominated for a 2010 Learning On Screen Award in the UK.

New visitor website for Leicester and Leicestershire launched

Leicester Shire Promotions has launched a major upgrade to the official visitor website for Leicester and Leicestershire. www.goleicestershire.com attracted over 1.275 million visitors in 2009/10, making it one of the most viewed destination sites in the UK, ahead of traditionally popular visitor destinations such as Blackpool, Chester and Manchester. The new site builds on this success with a major refresh of the site’s design, content and functionality to encourage greater interaction with potential visitors and increase online bookability for short breaks in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Loughborough University leads on energy research

Loughborough University is leading a major project examining how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can help boost energy efficiency across Europe. The €1.8 million REViSITE (Roadmap Enabling Vision and Strategy for ICT-enabled Energy Efficiency) project is being funded by the European Commission and will draw on the expertise of several key research and industry organisations. REViSITE is being led by Loughborough University’s Professor of Construction Informatics Tarek Hassan, from the Department of Civil and Building Engineering.

Wistow Maze unique to the UK

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, Leicestershire’s famous Wistow Maze is designed in the shape of a Spitfire plane this year. Situated just south of Leicester, the unique maze features hidden clues within three miles of intricate pathways cut through the tall maize crop. The attraction also incorporates high level bridges and viewing towers giving visitors stunning 3D panoramic views beautiful surrounding countryside.

De Montfort University works with BBC on new series

The International Centre for Sport History and Culture (ICSHC) at De Montfort University is working with BBC Radio 4 and well-known broadcaster and presenter Clare Balding to develop a 30-part series on British sport from the 18th century to the present. The series will be broadcast in 2011 in the run-up to the Olympic year and will be part of BBC Radio 4’s commitment to bringing new forms of history to the public.

The National Forest stars in BBC Countryfile

A crew from BBC Countryfile spent two days filming in The National Forest in July for a programme that will be aired on BBC1 on 8 August. Ellie Harrison interviewed National Forest Company Chief Executive Sophie Churchill and learnt how The National Forest came into being and plans for the future. Adam Henson spent the night in the Forest after a day of bushcraft skills training with Woodland Survival Crafts, he also ventured into Beacon Hill in Leicestershire to learn about the site’s history as a Bronze Age hill fort.

Revealed as one of top five improvers

Loughborough University has been named as one of the five most improved universities in the latest Universities That Count (UTC) survey, which assesses the extent to which key environmental and social issues are integrated into the University’s culture. Loughborough rose 14 percentage points in the 09-10 survey and was awarded a Bronze UTC Standard. It also scored more than 75 per centand achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating in two areas of its activity – Biodiversity and Public & Community Engagement.

Beauty spots scoop top accolade

Much loved beauty spots and open spaces around Leicester and Leicestershire have been officially recognised with national awards. For the city, Abbey, Evington and Knighton parks, along with Aylestone Hall Gardens and Welford Road Cemetery have all retained a coveted Green Flag, while Castle Gardens received the award for the first time. In addition, the county's Beacon Hill Country Park and Market Bosworth Park have retained Green Flag status and Watermead Country Park has also been awarded the status.

Innovation recognised

A Leicestershire-born De Montfort University (DMU) graduate was recently named one of Shell LiveWIRE’s Grand Ideas Award-winners for a revolutionary innovation which could change the lives of people with mental and physical disabilities. Kat Pattison started the company, Sonodrome, with her partner Jim Frize, after they both graduated from Leicester’s DMU in 2009 with degrees in BA Hons Music, Technology and Innovation. The technology uses electrical signals from the body to control a computer programme, giving it a number of uses for industries such as healthcare immersive gaming.

University of Leicester involved in PLATO space mission

The UK Space Agency has awarded £3.65 million to help UK scientists prepare for three new space missions designed to unlock the secrets of the Sun, seek out distant planets that could harbour life, and search for dark energy – the elusive constituent thought to make up 74 per cent of the mass-energy in the Universe. The missions – Euclid, PLATO and Solar Orbiter - are part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme and have been selected from more than 50 original ideas to go forward for detailed technical and cost assessments. If selected for development, the UK, together with other ESA member states, will design PLATO’s (PLanetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars) scientific instruments and finance their development while ESA would commission the spacecraft to be built in European industry. University of Leicester and six other UK Institutions have involvement in PLATO.

Hotel chain scoops apprentice award

A Hinckley-based hotel group has been named the best employer of apprentices in the UK hospitality industry. Barceló UK, based in Hinckley, scooped Hospitality Apprentice Employer of the Year at the Hospitality Apprentice Awards 2010. The group was presented with the award at the British Hospitality Association's annual lunch at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Queen's Awards presented to local firms and trust founder

The Queen's Award for Enterprise has been presented at Buckingham Palace to two local hi-tech companies and a Leicester woman who has helped young entrepreneurs. Precision measurement instrument maker Newtons4th of Mountsorrel and oil drill firm Reeves Wireless Technologies of East Leake both won the Queen's Award for Innovation. Maureen Milgram Forrest, co-founder of the LeicestHERday Trust, was given the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion. The award was in recognition of her dedication to improving the life of women.

Skylink praised

A bus service which transports people to East Midlands Airport from across Leicestershire has been recognised at an awards event. Skylink was highly-commended in the travel information and marketing category of the 10th annual National Transport Awards. The judges commended the service for its growth in passengers from 700,000 in 2006 to 1.3 million passengers in 2009.

And finally…

The Big It Up Bulletin is produced in conjunction with Leicester Mercury’s ‘The Business’ supplement. For the latest business news in Leicester and Leicestershire, visit www.thisisbusiness-eastmidlands.co.uk/News/Leicestershire.aspx

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For previous editions of the 'Big it Up' bulletin, please click here .

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