Tag Archive: Yorkshire

Graduate Surveyor: Local Yorkshire Farmer James Thompson

Local farmer, James Thompson, has been welcomed back to George F. White as a Graduate Surveyor after a successful university placement year.

James re-joins our team to bolster the growing rural professional and farm consultancy services in our Shiptonthorpe and Bedale branches. James recently graduated from Newcastle University where he achieved a BSc in Agribusiness; the degree requires students to undertake a placement year, in which James carried out successfully with us back in 2016/17 and proceeded to impress the management team. Not only does James have an exceptional understanding of the business, he grew up locally to the area and boasts an outstanding level of geographical knowledge.

Graduate - James Thompson

Simon Britton, Partner and Head of Yorkshire at George F. White, said: “We are delighted to welcome James Thompson back to George F. White; he is a strong addition to our growing team here in Yorkshire. A graduate position at George F. White is a great place for James to start his career; we have a strong team of eleven, in which over 65% were recruited at graduate level and are currently working towards or sitting in management positions.  James brings a lot of energy and willingness to learn, a fantastic quality to see in a graduate and certainly the qualities that we expect to see in our employees. I am confident that James will continue to excel throughout his APC studies and over the course of his professional career, we promise to nurture his talent as we have his colleagues.”

James achieved a first class grade on his dissertation which focused on government policy in agriculture and farm diversification in the North and East of Yorkshire; in light of the current political climate, James’ research will prove extremely useful to local farmers and his agricultural background will allow him to relate to the day-to-day operation of a farming business.

On his decision to continue his studies at George F. White, James said: “Having lived locally to the Shiptonthorpe office, I knew of the strong reputation that George F. White has in the community. Whilst on my placement year I not only discovered that the employees at the firm are one big family but also have a great depth of knowledge in such a wide range of enterprises in the rural economy; I was over the moon to be offered a graduate position as I believe George F. White is the perfect place to learn and practise my knowledge to help me with my professional exams in the near future. “

Celebrating Diversity

With the rural sector facing both challenges and opportunities in the coming years we look at one individual who has taken a very different approach to diversification.

Diversity

Over the past few years, George F. White have been delighted to support a number of awards across the region. We have been proud to learn about, and meet, many outstanding individuals and businesses in the rural sector.

From established traditional farming businesses through to diversification projects, and even individuals beginning their journey, the experience of being involved in regional awards, meeting the faces behind the stories, is a fascinating insight into the breadth and depth of skills and entrepreneurial spirit on our doorstep.

In early 2018 we were delighted to be part of the judging team for the Northern Farmer Awards, through our sponsorship of the Outstanding Achievement Award. Following many hours of deliberation amongst the knowledgeable and experienced panel, the winners were decided upon.

Whilst all those shortlisted, and of course the eventual winners, each are worthy of individual praise, there was one entry that stood out from the rest… that was Denys Fell who runs a farm near Hull in East Yorkshire.

Denys farms approximately 270 acres, mixing both organic arable and livestock in addition to fruit and nut trees, potatoes and cut flowers. However, it is not his endeavours in growing wheat or managing the flock of 200 sheep that stood out, but rather his diversification project, a community care centre based on Densholme Community Care Farm which really captivated the judges.

Denys saw the impact of the Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001 and was determined to help farmers struggling with loneliness, isolation and mental health issues, but he wasn’t really sure how.

Almost a decade ago, he invited three young men with profound mental health issues, living in a local care home, to visit the farm to help plant potatoes. Denys immediately saw the benefits of how the farm could provide assistance to those with disabilities, mental health issues, learning difficulties or suffering from addictions. The seed was planted.

Denys set up Densholme Community Care Farm, separate to his farming business, as a social enterprise which now employs ten people and looks after over 70 students per day. All the students have disabilities, mental health issues or learning difficulties and attend for up to four days per week on an entirely voluntary basis.

Denys is incredibly proud of the success of the project; how it has allowed the students to develop friendships, learn new skills and visibly grow in confidence.

It was telling that, for the Outstanding Achievement Award, the judging panel were unanimous in Denys being the winner. It was certainly no surprise on the night when he went on to pick up the Northern Farmer of the Year Award.

Diversification is a topic of significant debate at the moment with Brexit likely to bring about both new challenges and opportunities for those in all business sectors, but particularly rural enterprises. Understandably with much focus being on the efficiency and profitability of such businesses, it is all the more reason that the project undertaken by Denys Fell stood out above many impressive stories from all of the nominations.

To learn more about Denys Fell and the Densholme Community Care Farm, click here.

George F. White Agency: A New Beginning

This year, we made the decision to introduce a complete property management service across all of the George F. White offices. Sheryl Sowden, Head of Residential Agency, and Donna Cheney, Head of Lettings, explain the reasoning behind the decision and the benefits to our clients.

Agency

Historically, George F. White’s agency team have offered both residential sales and residential lettings services, however, for the past four years, GFW Letting, a dedicated property management branch of the group, ran residential lettings in Northumberland and Newcastle. The GFW Letting business model has been a phenomenal success therefore; we took the decision to introduce a centralised lettings and property management service to the George F. White brand in order to complete our all-inclusive offering, meaning that we now have dedicated lettings and property management teams in our Wolsingham, Barnard Castle and Bedale offices.

Not only does the introduction of an expert lettings and property management team in these offices benefit our overall service offering, it presents attractive and innovative opportunities to our clients. The prospect of our residential agency and residential lettings team working side by side opens many doors, particularly in regards to knowledge sharing and best practice. Inevitably, we strive to ensure that our clients get the best from their investment, whether that be when they are buying, selling or letting a property.

Sheryl Sowden said: “A prime example of how the two markets go hand in hand, in particular for clients, is to look at reluctant landlords. This is perhaps somebody that has inherited a property that they want to sell but the market won’t accommodate it for various reasons. We have the facility to advise and offer an alternative option within the same branch, with the same trusted advisors. As vacant properties no longer receive any council tax discounts the owner is liable for those charges, and the longer the property is empty those costs actually increase. In addition to this there is the cost of heating the property to ensure that there is no deterioration of condition, meaning that property owners are losing money unnecessarily. In this case we would look into introducing a tenant in order to take the financial weight off the client’s shoulders in the short or long term.”

“If a client ideally wants to market their property for sale whilst it is tenanted, so long as there is good communication between the management team, tenant and sales team this process can also work very successfully, but transparency and a good relationship are critical. This is also facilitated extremely well if the process is managed by one company working closely together”.

Thanks to both our residential agency and lettings teams being housed under the same roof, our clients are dealing with the same people, but the individual that has the most relevant expertise, they receive the same level of service from beginning to end. Buying, selling or letting a property is an extremely significant financial and emotional investment, therefore, professionalism, transparency and trust from all parties is key.

Donna Cheney said: “Now that we have a Head of Lettings and a Head of Residential Agency, we’ve found that it has enhanced our communication and our understanding of how the sectors are increasingly overlapping. A progressive understanding of each area has allowed us to identify our business objectives as well creating a diverse, attractive and innovative service offering for our clients.  We are extremely positive about the future opportunities that this integration and cooperation affords us and our clients.”

For more information, contact your local team or find out more about what we can offer here.

 

Why the right support network is vital to your farm

It’s less than 12 months until the UK leaves the European Union, a key political shift that will have sweeping changes for farmers across the region. To manage and adjust to the challenges this will bring, and ongoing uncertainty, financial resilience is vital.

farm

Farmers need to focus on improving productivity, in order to increase future sustainability and, given the expected changes in funding and grants, the farming sector needs to move away from relying on subsidies and prepare for a future with reduced financial support by investing in new technologies, creating new revenue streams through diversification and concentrating on succession planning to ensure the longevity, and security, of their farm.

Having in place the right support for your farm business is therefore vital, not only to help you through these uncertain times but also to help maximise the health and profitability of your farm during good times too. Being proactive, and planning ahead, is more important than ever before and a good farm consultant helps farmers to push their business forwards, strategically plan for peaks and troughs all year round, and capitalise on opportunities that would greatly benefit you and your farm, helping to meet your personal and business objectives.

George F. White is one of the largest farm consultancy teams in the North and we’re currently working with a wide range of farms, large and small, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, reviewing the overall health of the business and proposing solutions to farmers to help them overcome the challenges they face. We understand that each farm is unique, and each farmer receives a bespoke service tailored to their specific needs and requirements.

We often hear that consultancy services are for huge farms, or those facing difficulties, but this really isn’t the case. What’s important is that you and your farm have the right support structure, whatever size or type of farm. What matters is developing a close working relationship with your consultant so that you trust them to advise you appropriately, to help you achieve the best outcomes for you personally and also your business.

Desk based consultancy isn’t going to achieve this, which is why our farm team have lots of face to face contact with clients, visiting farms regularly, looking at stock, crops, and machinery and assessing its strengths and challenges to decide where next to take the business, or strategically advise on what it needs at that time, whether that’s preventative measures, business planning and cash flow management, or preparation of funding briefs and farm budgets.

We’re not just a fair-weather consultancy either – we offer all year-round support to help you overcome business and financial hurdles, to maximise profitability. We understand it’s often difficult to let an outsider in, which is why establishing a strong, close relationship is vital from the beginning, working together proactively and planning ahead to help you get the farm business to where you want.

To discuss our farm consultancy services in more detail, contact Elliot Taylor on elliottaylor@georgefwhite.co.uk.

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