Blakemans are celebrating a fantastic double in two prestigious business awards competitions having just been announced as a finalist in the Staffordshire Chambers’ 2018 Business Awards in the Manufacturer of the Year category.
The honour follows hard on the heels of a similar nomination in this year’s Signal Radio “Inspiration in Business” Awards where we were put forward for “training excellence.”
James Morris, Head of Business Development at the Newcastle-under-Lyme based firm, said: “It is a tremendous honour to get through to the final stages of such important awards against the best the business world has to offer in this area.
“It is testament to the hard work and commitment of all of the staff here at Blakemans. We aim to produce quality products that our customers love and when you get recognition for your efforts it is a great boost to all concerned.”
The response to Staffordshire Chambers’ 2018 Business Awards has been overwhelming with hundreds of high quality entries across all categories.
Sara Williams, Staffordshire Chambers’ Chief Executive, said: “It is great to see how the entries have developed and far exceeded previous years in terms of quality. We see this as a testimony to the healthy state and award-winning potential of businesses within Staffordshire.
“I would like to thank the judges for their dedication to the task and the businesses who took the time to enter. Many congratulations to all of our finalists and commended businesses.”
All finalists will now be visited by the judging panels with the winners announced at a gala awards evening at the Staffordshire County Showground on Thursday, 5 July 2018.
More than 400 guests from across the county are anticipated, where they will enjoy a delicious meal and celebrate the achievements of the Staffordshire finalists.
Mr Morris said: “This year is our 65th anniversary and it would be amazing if we can mark such a special year by winning the Staffordshire Chambers’ Award. We have certainly got our fingers crossed and are looking forward to welcoming the two judges to the business in the next few days to show them around what is rightly regarded as one of the leading factories of its kind in Europe.”
Pedal power has helped a team from Blakemans to give a huge boost to a worthy cause.
The team jumped into the saddle to take part in the annual Douglas Macmillan cycle ride with the aim of raising much needed funds for the Blurton-based hospice which the company has chosen as its nominated charity for 2018 – the 65th anniversary of the Blakemans’ business.
Seven members of staff managed to defy the sweltering conditions and complete the hardest cycling challenge – the Dougie Mac Ultra which headed out to the peaks and covered 92 miles.
The magnificent seven were David Oldfield, Andrew Heath, Steven Shufflebotham, Steven Gregory, Paul Malkin, Martin Weaver and Jamie Barker.
Jason Black and Neil Lewis tackled a new 52-mile route from the race starting point at Port Vale Football Club and out towards Flash.
And then James Morris and Louise Morris plus their two children Tyler and Mollie together with Roger Whitehurst, Angie Whitehurst, Delphine Rowley, Steven Morris, Jen Riley and Gareth Riley all managed to complete a nine-mile trip.
More than 750 riders took part in the whole event which was rounded off with a free barbecue provided by Blakemans with some of their mouth-watering products handed out to riders and their families to put a spring back into their steps after their exertions on the road.
Eddie Hall, who is the World’s Strongest Man and an ambassador for Blakemans, was among the guests and as they also had the chance of a video or photograph with the strong man.
James Morris, Head of Business Development at Blakemans, said: “It was a fantastic occasion. We were the headline sponsor of the occasion and we were delighted it was such an amazing success.
“Cyclists turned out in force, both from our business and from across the whole of the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire community to support such a great cause.
“It was a beautiful sunny day which always helps and everyone seemed to have a great time.
“We are delighted that in this special 65th anniversary year for Blakemans we have been able to sponsor an event which raises much-needed funds for a hospice which is so close to the hearts of local people.
“And I was so pleased Blakemans staff rallied round and put on a great showing among the cyclists. We anticipate being able to contribute about £6,500 to the total sum raised.”
The senior management team at Blakemans have committed to undertake fund-raising activities right throughout 2018 for Dougie Mac as just one of the exciting ways the Newcastle-based business is planning to mark its milestone year.
Racegoers will be able to tuck into some specially developed tasty treats thanks to a ground-breaking deal between Blakemans and Uttoxeter Racecourse.
Blakemans have signed up to be one of the key ingredients at a Sausage and Cider Festival which is being staged on Saturday, 7 April. Well-known cider maker Thatchers will provide the liquid part of this dual recipe for success.
To mark the occasion, the experts in our development kitchen have come up with a brand new sausage – a Gourmet Pork, Apple and Thatchers cider special.
James Morris, Head of Business Development commented: “We have already done some tastings with colleagues from Thatchers and it went down a treat. They are delicious and I think they will prove a real winner with punters at the festival.”
As well as the newly-developed sausage, visitors to a Blakemans’ Gourmet Grill which is to be set up at the festival, will also be able to sample our award-winning Gourmet Cumberland hot dog and the Gourmet Gastro hot dog.
Mr Morris said: “This is the first time we have been involved in supporting a major event such as this and we are absolutely delighted to have forged such strong links with Uttoxeter Racecourse which has a very special place in the hearts of racegoers not only from Staffordshire but the rest of the country.
“I am sure the event will be a huge success and we are really pleased that we are going to be part of it and can showcase some of our products to the racing fraternity.”
All of the Blakemans’ produce will be available from a branded outlet which is to be developed specifically for the occasion.
This year we are celebrating our 65th year, a milestone that we are planning to mark in a number of exciting ways. As a business we have always actively supported a number of local charities and community groups through donations, but with this being such an important year for us we wanted to mark it by doing something extra special.
And this starts with our pledge to support the DougieMac, a North Staffordshire based hospice that provides palliative care for adults affected by cancer. This year alone the DougieMac will provide care and support to nearly 3,000 local people and their families.
We have chosen the DougieMac as our nominated charity for 2018 and we are planning to undertake lots of events throughout the year to raise much-needed funds for the hospice.
The first event that the Blakemans’ team will participate in is the DougieMac’s 5K race that takes place later this month. A team made up of our staff will also take part in the hospice’s annual bike ride in May for which we are also the headline sponsor. The event will see entrants raise money through taking on a number of challenging courses from the MiniMac 9 mile route to the Ultra 90 mile course. Participants and spectators will then be able to enjoy some of our delicious sausages at a barbeque laid on at the end of the course.
Other fundraising activity planned during 2018 will see staff members take on the challenge of the Potters Arf Marathon, UK Cooperate games, fun days and sponsored body waxes!
James Morris, Business Development Director at Blakemans commented: “As a business we have always actively supported a number of local charities and community groups through donations, but with this being such an important year for us we wanted to mark it by doing something extra special.
“We already have a great relationship with the DougieMac Hospice and it’s such a worthwhile local charity for us to get behind and support.
“Committing to undertake multiple events throughout the year is a real challenge but one that I know the whole team will rise to.”
Suzi Smith, Head of Fundraising at the DougieMac said: “ We are delighted that Blakemans have chosen to support the DougieMac in what is also a significant year for us, as we celebrate our 45th anniversary.”
“We can’t wait to see all of the activities the Blakemans team take on and we wish them luck in completing all of their challenges!”
Blakemans are continuing their support of a Breakfast Club at Burnwood Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent.
The project is part of an initiative launched by the Greggs Foundation in 1999 in response to growing concerns that many youngsters were attending school without having anything to eat first thing in the morning.
Blakemans began its relationship with Burnwood in September 2015 and the education site’s links with the famous sausage making company are still going strong.
Our support allows more than 60 children from under-privileged backgrounds to be escorted to school via a mini bus/walking bus where they are supplied with as much breakfast as they want at no cost.
The relationship established through the Greggs Foundation – which now has more than 450 Breakfast Clubs providing meals to around 27,000 children every school day - is blossoming and our staff have just paid another visit armed with lots of presents.
Our staff collected colouring books, pens, pencils, games and toys for the children to enjoy while they tuck into their breakfasts.
Penaluna's 2018 winners of 'The Staff Training and Development Award'.
"The Staff Training and Development Award highlights the drive and dedication off staff within establishments to imporve their standards and policy making". Philip Blakeman (Managing Director) James T. Blakeman & Co. Ltd.
"After making some big investments in our staff, it is an honour to be recognised for our work and earn this title". Lee Penaluna (Owner and Managing Director of Penaluna's Famous Fish & Chips Hirwaun, Wales).
A Blakemans’ award-winning sausage is heading into production after our success in a prestigious national competition.
The public will soon be able to taste for themselves what so impressed judges in the Meat Management magazine’s annual celebration of sausages.
We entered our butchers’ select Cumberland sausage into the “traditional category” which attracts producers from all over the country.
And despite it being the first time we have ever entered an awards event of any kind – we beat off stiff competition to take one of the runner-up prizes.
James Morris, Head of Business development at Blakemans commented: “It is a fantastic achievement for our first time of asking.
Competition is incredibly stiff in these awards with quality levels very, very high. So to get the runner-up award was a fantastic feeling for everyone at the company.
“We are now planning to make this 80 per cent meat Cumberland available to our customers – both in chilled and pre-cooked. The judges loved it so we are pretty sure our customers will too.”
The competition is run as part of UK Sausage Week – an event which celebrates the British public’s love of one of their favourite foods.
James said: “We had been working on this sausage as part of a product development initiative for one of our customers. We tasted it and knew it was really good so we decided to enter into the awards even though it isn’t something we have considered before. To get national recognition is fantastic and we are so proud.”
When Mr Philip Blakeman first met Eddie Hall he told him that he was brought up on Blakeman's sausages, so we thought it would be great to get him in and to pull the first order produced from the new £1.3 million pound cooking plant. The blossoming relationship with Eddie has now seen the largest product in Blakeman's history a 12" high meat content sausage named ‘The Beast’ in honour of Eddie and his achievement.
So put your customers to the challenge to see if they too can tackle 'The Beast.'
The '2017 Worlds Strongest Man' Eddie Hall was invited to open the new £1.35 million production facility at the High Carr factory. In true 'Eddie' style he took the strain as he pulled the first production load from the premises, signalling, yet further investment of Blakeman's expansion within the cooked product market.
The conversion of one cold store unit by McVeigh Projects, taking only 40% of its floor space, creating a manufacturing facility from raw ingredients to cooked product all contained in one auditable area.
Blakeman's have increased their cooked volume by up to 35% (42,000 kg) with less handling of its products whilst still maintaining full traceability.
Tote bins of meat are accurately measured by in floor weighing scales, minced mixed using a KG Wetter and transferred to a Handtmann filling system. Sausages are then portioned and transported by an Arnott conveyor directly to the GEA inline frying facility. The process from raw material to finished cooked product in less than 50 minutes reduces the lead time for customers in the ever fast paced food industry.
"That is as impressive as Eddie"
A massive well done To Eddie 'The Beast' Hall who was crowned 'The Worlds Strongest Man' in Botswana today, (28th May) the first British man to take the title in 24 Years.
Following his historic win Eddie's manager Mo Chaudry said that he is pleasantly shocked and very proud.
"Eddie has dreamed of this day for the last six years of his life, he had to be on the money his training has been relentless to make his dream come true."
He beat the Icelandic strongman Hafpor Julius Bjornsson in to second place, who is well know for playing 'The Mountain' in Game of Thrones. Eddie also beat the four times winner Brian Shaw of the USA who finished in third place.
Huge Congratulations from all at Blakemans
Blakeman's are extremely proud to be sponsors of supreme Eddie 'The Beast' Hall, 5 times the UK's strongest Man and 3rd Strongest Man in the world, as he enters the competition arena this year to realise his goal to become the winner. Eddie a local lad with a strong appetite for Blakeman's sausages holds the world record for a dead-lift of 500 kg that is just under half a ton or in Blakeman's terms 110 boxes of Supreme Sausages.
Eddie 'The Beast' Hall retains his UK title of The Strongest Man at the Doncaster Dome
He said: "I gave it my all and I think I won by a good 10 points. I could have missed an event and still won so I'm pretty happy with that."
It is so important to me to keep improving on my weaknesses and my strengths.
Thanks to all the people of Stoke-on-Trent who are behind me in my effort to win 'The Worlds Strongest Man' title later this year.
...Wow! Good Luck Eddie from all at Blakeman's in your quest.
John Dory's in Lisburn, County Antrim, has won the Staff Training and Development Award after frying out on top at the 2017 National Fish & Chip Awards (26 January), organised by Seafish.
“We recognise the importance of up-skilling our workforce and have put staff through numerous formal courses, supplemented with in-house training. We want to provide opportunities for our staff to gain qualifications and develop their skills.
“I’m so proud to be bringing a national award home to Northern Ireland! Over the past few years we have worked hard to ensure that high standards are met across all our locations and we will continue to strive for excellence.”
Mark Polley (Director) John Dory’s
Lisburn, County Antrim
The UK’s best up-and-coming young fish friers, announced as part of the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards, got an inside glimpse into the James T Blakeman & Co. Ltd. ‘Supreme Sausage’ factory today (8 September) as they experienced a behind-the-scenes tour of the 57,000 sq ft manufacturing facility.
As the factory opened its doors, the frying enthusiasts discovered the ingredients, staff and state-of-the-art equipment and distribution systems that go into producing one of the UK’s finest sausages. They also got one-on-one time with Rachel, learning tricks of the trade as they refined their sausage frying skills.
Philip Blakeman, said: "We wanted the young fryers to see for themselves how Blakeman’s quality products are manufactured with the utmost care and dedication.
“This tour of our factory may be a first for some young fryers. I hope they leave with the knowledge of how the humble sausage they serve to their customers is produced.”
A chilling amount of £900,000 invested is some what thawed by the efficiency and productivity gains at James T. Blakeman (Services) & Co.Ltd cooking plant, with the installation of a double belted helix spiral freezer.
The schedule for the removal of an ageing system and installation period, whilst maintaining normal production would have taxed the metal of many a factory manager. The project management conundrum was put into the hands of Blakemans factory manager Kevin Moller, "this project to say was a headache would be understating the task, yet after a strenuous 9 week period the plant was up and running" says Kevin.
The helix spiral double belted freezer system allows for better product integrity and allergen control combined with greater energy savings and boasts a product infeed temperature of +77° with an output of -30° within 30 minutes. Starfrost Freezing & Chilling Systems of Lowestoft were contracted to install a full internal stainless plant with a highly efficient hot gas defrost and CIP (Clean in Place) system, allowing for rapid cleaning and improved hygiene, with easy to clean slideable conveyor belts a further feature of the installation.
The location of the 'Green Solution' zero environmental impact Ammonia Glacier plant to an external site allows for a significant noise level reduction and frees up space in the working environment.
The ongoing investment translates into lower operating costs with improved productivity and enhances Blakeman's standing in the industry and consolidates the commitment to its customers.
Delicious skinless pork sausages wrapped in tasty smoked bacon combined together to produce the classic traditional favourite ‘Pigs-in-Blankets’, a perfect addition to any meal.
“James T. Blakeman & Co. Ltd are proud to be associated with ‘The Breakfast Club project a Greggs Foundation initiative started back in 1999, to give disadvantaged children a nutritional start to their day.
Blakemans having become a well established local and national company within the food industry felt the need to support it’s local community with help on this meaningful programme. We fully endorse ‘The Breakfast Club’s values for improving health, nutrition, social awareness and attendance, which can only lead to a positive improvement in the classroom results.” Mr Philip Blakeman Managing Director
On June 23rd the partnership officially launched the 333rd Breakfast Club at The Burnwood Primary School in Chell, Stoke-on-Trent with Lynne Hindmarch from the Greggs Foundation and Mr Alan Green representing Blakemans aproned up to help out in the kitchen.