Witley Jones secure £100,000 grant to Increase Production

We are delighted to have secured a £100,000 grant from the Worcestershire Growth Fund with the help of Birmingham-based Central Finance, which will now enable us to extend our headquarters.  Witley Jones secure £100k grant

The grant will enable us to expand our floorspace by 5,000 sq ft. and create 11 new jobs for the local area at our current premises on Sandy Lane Industrial Estate.

The variety of work we do here requires significant experience, high-quality workmanship, the very best machinery and technology and more importantly a significant space to house it all.

To continually develop and diversify our products, ensure our products are the highest quality on the market, and keep up with demand, we needed to invest in machinery and additional premises.

To purchase the property was going to be a huge financial commitment for the business, and we had heard of grant funding for manufacturing businesses was available in Worcestershire and called Central Finance directly due to their grant funding success.

The new space will enable us increase production by 20 percent, ensuring that we continue provide bespoke furniture manufacturing services to more schools and businesses across Worcestershire and further afield.

Culford School Case Study

Culford School is a coeducational independent school situated near to Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Culford provides both day and boarding education to over 670 pupils aged between 1 and 18, set in 480 acres of parkland with exemplary sporting facilities.

Culford School

The school were looking to increase in number of girl boarders at Culford and to integrate day pupils into boarding houses.

We were asked by the school to provide assistance with designing the boarding furniture for Old Fitzgerald House.

Witley Jones have been working with Culford since 2003, therefore we have built up a great working relationship with the school which has allowed us to understand their requirements and how they like to work. This demonstrated on projects when we have designed the furniture for their boarding houses and their on site team have fitted the furniture.

In terms of design, we have worked with the school to make the design simple and efficient to make it easier to replicate through the boarding houses.

In some instances, rooms are an identical design with a double room with an alcove on one side of the door for the wardrobes and an alcove on the opposite side for the vanity unit.

boarding school bedroom furniture

We decided with the school to build these units in plain MDF whereas they would usually be Oak Veneered MDF. Only the doors and filler panels were made from Oak Veneer so from the front they look like a nice built in oak veneered units but inside they are plain mdf to save cost.

We also use a specific Laminate worktop with Oak hardwood nosing to give their range of furniture a bespoke feel to their design.

“Witley Jones Furniture were friendly and accommodating throughout the process providing with knowledgeable insight into the design to ensure that the project met our exact requirements and budget.” commented Gavin Reynolds, Assistant Head (Pastoral).

boarding house furniture

 

Radley College Staff enjoy the American Diner Experience in their Staff Room

Radley College is an independent boarding school for boys situated in Abingdon, Oxfordshire set on a 800-acre estate.

Radley College Staff dining room

They were about the embark on a major redevelopment project to increase the capacity of boarders at the school therefore there was a need to extend all areas of the estate. The need for extra space to facilitate the increase in pupils included boarding house, chapels, sports and dining facilities.

In turn, the development plans needed to look at the facilities for staff which resulted in the need to relocate a staff dining room.

It was at this stage that David Anderson, Radley College Estates Bursar, approached us with a brief to transform a rather small space into an environment to fit 22 staff members during their time outside of the classroom in a short space of time. David presented us with an initial idea on how the design of the space could look.

Radley College American Diner staff room

We went away and built up the idea into a plan with scale drawings within three weeks. Once this was approved by the school, we were able to manufacture and install the American Diner themed dining room within 4 weeks.

The design had to be tweaked to allow sufficient room between table and benches so the angle and depths of the backs of the soft seating was altered accordingly.

From the conception of the idea to installation took a total of seven weeks, providing Radley College with an addition, enjoyable environment for staff to spend their downtime helping to facilitate the growth and development of the estate.

Radley College, Abingdon

 

Woldingham School Case Study

Woldingham School is a Catholic boarding and day school for girls, founded 1842 and set in 700- acre estate on the Surrey Downs.

We have been working with the school for over 5 years completing major works in boarding houses, classrooms, the main dining hall as well as specialist study rooms.

Witley Jones have recently worked on three projects at the school including; the Berwick Lower Sixth Boarding House , East Wing staff accommodation and West Wing ICT projects.

 

Berwick Boarding HouseBerwick Boarding House Woldingham School

The accommodation for Berwick Lower Sixth Boarding House was part of a 3-year refurb plan to completely upgrade the rooms, as the building is 25 years old.  

Berwick was a departure from normal school specification, the school wanted a more modern clean look to the furniture.

The challenge was to replace some old high beds with integral desks with low beds but to still give the girls plenty of study and storage space.

We delivered a sample room for the staff and girls to appraise, from this the final design was agreed to ensure all requirements were met.

The room planning was critical as some rooms have awkward eaves and window details along with existing boxing for pipes which had to be taken into account when manufacturing the furniture.

 

East Wing Gap Year Staff Accommodation

The East wing project was a major upgrade for gap year staff accommodation as the space was in need of major improvement.

As the girls in this room are older, we altered the layouts to reflect a more adult look and changed the bed specification to a divan bed with storage, total 4 rooms.

 

West Wing ICT SuiteWoldingham School West Wing ICT Suite

Working with the IT team, we designed a specific layout and manufactured to school pantone colour reference.

The design incorporated cable management and tower box storage and protection to ensure that the suite was neat and tidy as well as meeting health and safety requirements.

The whole scheme was a trial to update other existing ICT suites in the school and has proved a great success with staff and pupils alike.

Woldingham School West Wing ICT Suite

“Witley Jones has proved to be an excellent supplier for Woldingham School. They deliver on time, in budget and can cope with some bursarial ‘fast balls’.

Witley Jones take a keen and detailed  interest in the overall projects, can work easily with other building contractors and the after service, if needed, is excellent.

You do what you say you will do and we have had many years of repeat orders.” commented Niall Campbell, Bursar, Woldingham School

KEMP Hospice delighted with Bespoke Office Furniture

KEMP Hospice Reception Furniture

 

KEMP Hospice, based in Kidderminster, provide a major support system to the local community in Wyre Forest adding quality of life to both patients and carers.

In 2015, the charity extended the hospice and created a new large reception area. We designed and manufactured a bespoke front desk, which needed to be able to stand the test of time, as well as look very attractive to visitors entering the hospice.

During this project, we also manufactured soft seating for waiting rooms and day rooms along with coffee tables and storage furniture.

After reviewing the needs of the reception area earlier this year, Heidi Hawkins, KEMP Hospice CEO, approached us again, to see if we could design a smaller desk, which would match what had been made 2015 in order to increase the reception space.

“We reviewed activity in reception early in 2017 and felt that it would be great to have the opportunity for volunteers and staff from our fundraising team to be able to have a presence in our reception, as a first point of call for fundraising, as this is so important to our charity. We didn’t want to replace our wonderful volunteer reception team, but rather create some additional space.

“Not only did Witley Jones manufacture exactly what we needed, but they unexpectedly made and donated this desk to us, which was incredibly kind. We are completely delighted with, not only our new desk, but with our entire dealings with Witley Jones.” commented Heidi.

KEMP Hospice highlighted 5 Key Witley Jones credentials –

Above all professional: Witley Jones really care that you are happy with what you receive, so spend time with you discussing options and also assessing where you would like the furniture.

Quality: The quality of all the furniture we’ve received from Witley Jones is exceptional. We know because what we originally requested is as good as the day it came, not a scratch or mark anywhere.

Reassuring: You feel assured that you are receiving the very best service and quality products, which have been designed specific to your needs.

Friendly and hands on: Witley Jones are a close knit organisation and if you called them, they would instantly know who you are.

Socially Responsible: We approached Witley Jones with no expectations and they donated our bespoke furniture to us, enabling us to use the cost of the furniture to further support our beneficiaries.

Witley Jones design bespoke Mondrian Wall for Delta Financial Systems

Witley Jones Furniture were commissioned by Delta Financial Systems to design and manufacture a bespoke cupboard inspired by Mondrian which would be a feature of the office as well as being functional and used for storage.

Delta Financial Systems’ branding and marketing is inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s Neo-Plasticism style and use of primary colours in grid. When opening the central Birmingham office it was natural that their furniture reflected the branding further.

Established in 1995, Delta Financial Systems create and develop administration technology for the financial services industry. Delta provide technology solutions to some of the UKs largest financial services brands including HSBC and Legal and General from their three offices including their new Birmingham HQ, Nuneaton and London.

Delta Financial Services Mondrian Wall Cupboard

 

Mondrian Inspiration

Piet Mondrian was a Dutch artist who was influenced by the cubist style of Picasso and took this to create his own abstract interpretation.

After spending a period of time in Paris, he returned to Holland to develop a style he called Neo- Plasticism which consisted of the three primary colours, a grid of black horizontal and vertical lines on a white background.

Delta Financials System’s has an Mondrian inspiration running through its core from their website through to printed literature. Now, the Mondrian theme is represented in their furniture and working environment.

 

Bespoke Design and Manufacture

The aim was to have bespoke office storage furniture designed and manufactured for the Birmingham office which reinforced the Delta branding.

We set out to design a cupboard to store items that would otherwise have been on display around the office, incorporating the Mondrian inspiration and colours to so that the cupboards would be a feature of the space.

Delta Financial Systems Mondrian Wall storage

The two cupboards which have coat stores at either end and 9 compartments can easily be moved around the office to make best use of the space as coaster were added to the facilitate this.

“You sometimes have a fear that something like this will not come out as good as you hoped it would in your mind originally – honestly this is one of the few things that has actually turned out to be even better than I hoped!” commented Michael Power, Delta Financial Systems, CEO.

Delta Financial Services Mondrian Wall Storage

“The colour rendition on the doors is absolutely perfect – every colour is spot on and really vibrant. The doors are lovely and smooth to open, and we have some with locks on for further security, but even the locks do not detract from the overall design.”

Simon and his team really contributed well and positively to the overall design process, and kept us informed about the build too, even sending us photos of it being constructed which was really cool! All in all a very strong job, well done and very well executed.”

 

ISBA Annual Conference 17th -18th May

Independent School Bursars Association Annual Conference will see over 400 Bursar’s from the independent education sector visit Manchester next week.

We are looking forward to exhibiting at the two day conference which will be action packed with fascinating talks and workshops covering a variety of topics ranging from safeguarding and employment law through to the wellbeing of staff and pupils.

Epsom College Classroom Furniture

The 2017 ISBA annual conference will take place at the Manchester Central Convention Complex from Wednesday 17th May – Thursday 18th May.

We will be demonstrating how intelligent integration of technology in classroom furniture can be designed to save space, create storage and aid collaborative teaching.

Epsom College Teaching Wall with Whiteboard and Interactive Screen

Visit us on Stand 87 to see how your school could benefit from a bespoke teaching wall with sliding whiteboard doors and integrated screen.

If you attending the ISBA Annual Conference, we look forward to seeing you Manchester
next week.

Witley Jones Furniture – Stand 87

All Aboard the BSA #ILove Boarding Bus

The #iloveboarding campaign is to give parents and children a true taste of a boarding experience.

From the outset, we thought that this was a great campaign and the Boarding Bus was a fantastic way to promote boarding school life – we simply had to get involved.

Boarding Schools’ Association approached us towards the end of 2016 about their #iloveboarding campaign and their plans for a #iloveboarding bus.

BSA #iloveboarding bus

With over 75,000 boarding pupils in Britain in state and independent boarding schools, the BSA wanted to promote the quality of a boarding school experience.

Witley Jones have worked alongside the Boarding School Association for over 10 years exhibiting at the majority of the exhibitions and conferences.

We took delivery of the Boarding Bus in September and kitted it out with bespoke built-in bed, desk, shelf and storage space along with a refrigerator and TV,  similar to bedrooms that we design and install for boarding schools across the UK (but only on a smaller scale).

As well as the interior, we also took care of the exterior by sourcing a local vehicle signage  company in Kidderminster to wrap the boarding bus with the BSA branding and graphics.

 

Upon completion, we delivered the Boarding Bus ourselves to the BSA in London in time for it’s debut at the Independent Schools Show at the Battersea Evolution events venue.

Witley Jones furniture deliver the BSA #iloveboarding Bus

Tour Dates

The Boarding Bus will be going on tour around the country over the coming months. Here is where you can catch it -

  • Royal Bath & West Show, 31 May-3 June 2017
  • Royal Cornwall Show, 8-10 June, 2017 2017
  • Royal Three Counties Show, 16-18 June 2017
  • Cheshire County Show, 20-21 June 2017
  • Royal Highland Show, 22-25 June 2017
  • Royal Norfolk Show, 28-29 June 2017
  • Kent County Show, 7-9 July 2017
  • Great Yorkshire Show, 11-13 July 2017
  • Royal Welsh Show, 24-27 July 2017
  • New Forest & Hampshire County Show, 25-27 July 2017
  • The Game Fair, 28-30 July 2017.

Get Involved

BSA member schools can also request a visit from the Boarding Bus for their events and open days to provide prospective parents and students with a flavour of the boarding experience. You can also contact us directly to arrange for the  Boarding Bus to visit your school so you can experience the bus first hand and take a look inside for yourself.

Make sure that you get involved with the campaign online by using #iloveboarding on social media – share photos when you see the Boarding Bus and look out for posts using the #iloveboarding hashtag.

 

Witley Jones fit furniture for BSA Boarding Bus

Education Events for your Diary in 2017

Over the course of the next few months, there are a number of exciting education events, exhibitions and conferences that will be taking place both inside and outside of the UK. Schools, colleges, universities and businesses from across the education sector can all benefit from attending these events; whether you’re looking to network and source new businesses to work with, or to attend inspiring talks from those within the education sector, there’s an event that is perfect for you.

GESS Dubai 14th – 16th March

GESS Dubai brings together exciting and innovative companies from the global education sector; this is the largest education exhibition in the United Arab Emirates attracting headteachers, teachers and bursars from across the world.

GESS is aimed at all levels of education with over 130 speakers spread across the three days providing delegates with inspiring talks and insight into the future of education around the world.

Boarding School Association Marketing Conference 14th -15th March

On 15th March the BSA are holding their marketing conference in Brighton which is a great event for those from the independent education sector who are responsible for admissions, alumni relations and marketing & communications.

The conference has an exciting lineup of talks throughout the day covering a broad spectrum of current marketing topics to re-energise your marketing in 2017 including Dan Germain, Group Head of Brand, Innocent Drinks. The topics range from harnessing your ethos and culture in your messaging to parent engagement with talks on developing a digital and social media strategy in the independent sector.

Also, don’t miss out on the #iloveboarding update – this is a really innovative and engaging campaign that we have had the pleasure of being involved with BSA on by fitting out the #iloveboarding bus that could visit your school.

ASRA Annual Conference and Exhibition 9th -12th April

We return to Brighton in April for the Association for Student Residential Accommodation Conference – the largest student accommodation conference in the UK and Ireland.

The four days are packed with seminars, training sessions and great keynote speakers. This ASRA conference is the ideal place to network, catch up with contacts and colleagues whilst learning something new.

Bespoke furniture Boarding School

Boarding School Association Annual Heads Conference 2nd – 4th May

May sees us return to the BSA Heads Conference in York . The conference looks at all corners of the boarding school environment bringing together an array of headteachers and senior leadership team from across the UK.

The lineup of speakers in May has a sporting feel to it with Gareth Southgate, England Football Manager and boarding parent, and Crista Cullen, Team GB Hockey Player and Oakham Alumnus. The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, The Archbishop of York will also be amongst the speakers.

ISBA Annual Conference 17th -18th May

The two day conference will see over 400 Bursar’s from the independent education sector visit Manchester for the Independent School Bursars Association Annual Conference.

The fascinating talks during the course of the conference will look at wellbeing of both pupils and staff as well as safeguarding and employment law.

We are looking forward to attending all of the exciting events mentioned above and to meeting people from all corners of the education sector. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Witley Jones if you are attending any of these events, exhibitions and conferences.