ITCS News

ITCS Director scales Three Welsh Peaks in Winter to Save Local School

As Head of ITCS, our Managing Director Brian Stokes is used to steep challenges.

Brian at his desk – no peaks in sight!

As our customers know, ITCS is a multi award-winning national provider of business IT support, Telecoms, Web Design, SEO and Digital Marketing, with more than 40 staff in our South Wales office alone – as well as our national engineers and Midlands office.  What is less well known is that Afan Valley entrepreneur Brian started the company with Gareth John in a small shop in Maesteg 14 years ago, and their dedication has seen the company progress rapidly, which has often felt like an uphill climb as the company rapidly expanded.

However, last weekend, accompanied by his long time friend, professional boxer Geraint Goodridge, Brian took on a climb of a different kind – the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge.

The Three Peaks Challenge usually takes place in Summer. However, Brian and Geraint’s local school, Afan Comprehensive is threatened with closure and urgently needs funds to mount a legal challenge.  With fundraising in mind, the two decided to brave the elements and tackle the total mountain distance of 18 miles (29km) and a total ascent of 2334 metres (7657ft), in hazardous February weather.  Usually the challenge has to be completed in less than 24-hours – but the superfit duo decided to set themselves a target of completion within 12 hours, despite the added challenge of doing it in heavy snow and blistering winter conditions.

Conditions were gruelling and visibility was poor.

The day of the challenge arrived in the middle of the coldest weekend of the winter.  With summit temperatures of -14 degrees, their plan to HALVE the challenge time allowed to climb Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-fan looked unlikely.  Nobody was expected to reach the summit of a snow and ice-covered Snowdon that day, so tackling three peaks and a considerable drive in inclement weather and braving freezing rain seemed an impossible task, no matter what the timeframe.

However, having already driven to North Wales the previous day, the brave duo decided to forge on with their planned ascent – and it wasn’t easy.  Throughout much of their first climb the duo could only see yards ahead, the path was not visible due to being covered in snow and ice and at points they were walking waist-deep in snow.  Getting caught off track several times, the pair had to rely on phone sat-nav to get back on track, and it was somewhat sobering to see that all the other footprints (and waist prints!) stopped half way up.  They were the first to make the summit that day, and had to carve steps into the ice to act as a ladder on the final part of the summit.   Brian had been instructed by his marketing team to take lots of photos, but the view from the summit was non-existent, and he wasn’t keen to risk frostbite by exposing flesh at -14 degrees, so took a few moments of video footage and gladly put his gloves back on!

The pair were elated to reach the Summit of Snowdon in temperatures of -14 degrees

The other two mountains, whilst lower, we not much kinder.  The steep climb up Cadair Idris was particularly challenging in driving, icy sleet which was extremely painful.  Determined to make the 12 hour window, the daring lads managed to save time via an ‘off-piste’ descent, aided by sliding on sheets of ice.  Their original plan to run up Pen-y-Fan was somewhat thwarted due to exhaustion, but despite slowing to a walking pace, they still completed the challenge in under 12 hours, raising just under £1400 to help the school fight the challenge.

The scale of their achievement was brought home when two experienced climbers had to be rescued from Snowdon later that day – making their Three Peaks Challenge even more remarkable.  The duo are now recovering from their climb and preparing for their next ascent – the legal challenge to keep the school open.

Brian said:

“Coming down Snowdon was eerie, the only footprints we saw were our own, and climbing back down the ‘ice ladder’ we had carved into the mountain was scary. One slip and we would have been in grave danger, but we had to keep pushing on. However, the real challenge, to stop the school from closing, is only just beginning.  This school is a cornerstone of the Afan Valley community, so it is vitally important that we do all we can to save it.  I’m proud we were able to play our part and we’ll be helping the school in any way we can.”

Professional boxer Geraint added:

“I work hard to maintain my fight fitness and boxing training is extremely gruelling, so I was amazed how physically challenging this climb was.  As Brian says though, the real fight to save the school is only just beginning.   Afan Valley is a great school, coming 6th in the annual Real Schools Guide  – and closure would see our children leaving home at 7am to reach the alternative school in Margam.  It’s a senseless decision, so I’m confident this is a fight we can win.”

Cymmer Labour Councillor Scott Jones praised the pair:

“I’m proud of Brian and Geraint, two local residents, who have given phenomenal support to our campaign to save education in the Afan Valley.   This closure would have an adverse impact on the health, wellbeing and education of our young people and we will fight it all the way.  These funds will be a massive help.”

The team captured their experience on video: You can view Brian and Geraint’s Three Welsh Peaks experience here:

WebITCS Director scales Three Welsh Peaks in Winter to Save Local School

ITCS sponsored Tondu United FC scores ‘Bags of Help’ from Tesco

Local football club Tondu United recently benefited from Tesco’s Bags of Help community scheme after a vote by the supermarket’s customers in Bridgend chose the club alongside fellow beneficiaries Bridge Mentoring Scheme (which supports vulnerable young people) and Cowbridge Community Allotments.

The three groups each won funding for community projects from the carrier-bag tax scheme, which is funded by the sale of carrier bags in store, and were recently invited to the store to celebrate.

The full under 9’s squad

Tondu Football Club has received a £1,990 grant which will be spent on equipment and a training education course for their volunteers.   Three members of the under 9’s team, who are sponsored by ITCS, joined the store alongside representatives from Bridge Mentoring Scheme, who received £4,000 to grant disabled access to their garden and Cowbridge Community Allotments, who received £1,000 to purchase a large poly-tunnel, which will benefit allotment users.

Three of the young players from the squad enjoyed meeting the Tesco GM Manager, Gareth Jeffries, Lynn Young, Tesco People Manager and Nikki Edwards, Tesco Community Champion as well as other representatives Laura Thomas (Bridge Mentoring) and Charles Champion (Cowbridge Allotments):

Proud Mum, Amanda Deere said:

“The boys train really hard and it’s great that Tesco and the local community want to support them.  Young as they are, they value all the support they receive and who knows, we could have a future Gareth Bale in the team!  At this age, their passion for the game is high anyway, but with the right training the team can develop their skills as well.  This money will make a huge difference to the team and as parents, we are really grateful to Tesco customers for giving them the opportunity.”

WebITCS sponsored Tondu United FC scores ‘Bags of Help’ from Tesco

ITCS celebrates a successful 2017 with appointment of new Operations Director

IT and Telecoms specialist, ITCS, has revealed that 2017 was their most successful year to date, with the company expanding both their turnover and their staff as well as seeing strong performance improvements across the board.

The multi-award-winning company expanded their IT support, web, SEO, telecoms, hyper-convergence and IT security teams throughout 2017 and expect further growth in these areas in the coming months, cementing their established status as Wales’ Top IT support provider whilst expanding coverage throughout the UK.    The company have today announced the appointment of a new Operations Director, Matthew Mutlow, who will be instrumental in driving the company’s continued expansion forward.

ITCS Managing Director, Brian Stokes, said:

“Following another very successful year for ITCS, Matthew’s dedication, performance, and commitment to successful delivery for the company shone out and we are delighted to welcome him to his new role as Operations Director.   He will continue to play a pivotal role in the ongoing growth of the business in 2018.”

Matthew said:

“I really appreciate the opportunity to continue to support the committed and driven team at ITCS in my new role, and look forward to driving the Operations aspect of the business forward throughout 2018 and beyond.”

WebITCS celebrates a successful 2017 with appointment of new Operations Director

(Not so secret) Santa visits the ITCS Team!

The ITCS team had a surprise visit today from Santa, who handed out the secret gifts which the team had been stealthily buying for each other over the previous weeks.

The team really enjoyed both the day and the Santa’s visit.  Here’s just one of the pictures, but you can see them all on the ITCS Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/itcs.co.uk

 

Web(Not so secret) Santa visits the ITCS Team!

Bridgend based Riverside Hardware gets tooled up online with web developers ITCS

South Wales’ Premier Engineering Superstore and the largest Calor Gas Main Dealer, Riverside Hardware have this week launched their new website, developed by leading Bridgend-based web designers ITCS.

Riverside Hardware’s customers can now view and order one of the UK’s largest ranges of Draper Tools and Calor Gas online, (as well as products from other suppliers) and have the tools they need delivered to their door for a small delivery charge, or pre-order to collect from the Bridgend store.

The company already have an excellent reputation for delivering good customer service and helpful advice, which they hope will be enhanced by the new website.

Managing Director Ryan Woodbridge explains why the company has extended their service to include online tool sales, service and advice:

“We try to offer more in terms of product range and support than the chain hardware stores, as many of our customers are professional workmen investing in hardware and tools for their business.  It therefore follows naturally that we have invested time making sure our staff are skilled and knowledgeable about the tools and hardware we sell.  Customers often seek our advice and experience when choosing the right tool for the job.

“However, we could previously only provide products and support to customers who were physically present within opening hours.  The new website will enable us to sell our tools and share our tips and experience with a wider audience, and also helps customers place orders and learn more about our products when our physical store is closed.

“We’re really grateful to Bridgend-based ITCS for making our huge range of products so easy to order online – and keen to stress that the new website is designed to enhance and complement the great customer service we are known for providing in-store already.”

 

Brian Stokes, Managing Director of ITCS said:

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Riverside Hardware on their new web shop.  We’ve built hundreds of websites over the years, but every now and then you come across a really special project where you share so many values with the customer that working with them is a natural fit.

“Both Riverside Hardware and ourselves have a long-established presence in Bridgend, and like us, they are incredibly passionate about customer service.  Building the website so that customers can also buy tools online has been an honour, and we look forward to continuing our solid relationship with Riverside Hardware for the foreseeable future.”

WebBridgend based Riverside Hardware gets tooled up online with web developers ITCS

ITCS Boosts Web Development Team with New Hires

2017 has been a really busy year for the ITCS web development team, with new clients, new websites and new SEO and Adwords clients – so somewhat appropriately, the company have ended the year by bringing new talent on board to boost the team.

Web Developer Jackson Denham and Junior Designer-Developer Charlie Lamb joined the company’s Bridgend-based Head Office in late November and are already putting their experience to good use, working on a wide range of projects.

Whilst ITCS are well known for their long-established IT support services (which saw the company named Wales Top IT Support Provider, although they cover the whole of the UK), many local businesses have been surprised to learn they have a large team of web developers and have literally hundreds of satisfied web design clients, from Estate Agents using all the online property portals to big E-Commerce sites with thousands of products.

The company, a Google Partner, have a unique approach to web development, which allows clients to pay monthly rather than a huge upfront cost.  This means even small businesses can have access to some of the top web talent in the business, with Copywriting, Digital Marketing SEO and Adwords Management services also available at very reasonable rates.

Managing Director of ITCS, Brian Stokes, explains:

“Our business has expanded massively from our small beginnings in a shop in Maesteg to a large, nationwide business, and every time we expand our team, I feel a real sense of gratitude and pride – I’ve never forgotten those early days and while we work with some huge names now, personal service, adding value to clients of all sizes and helping other businesses are still values we live by and instill into our team members.  I’m looking forward to working with Jackson and Charlie in 2018 – and continuing to help other businesses grow too!”

WebITCS Boosts Web Development Team with New Hires

Prime Minister Applauds ITCS

Prime Minister Applauds ITCS Apprenticeship Initiative

The Prime Minister has praised a Bridgend company for taking on its first apprentice and so honouring a promise made at Number 10. The pledge was made by Brian Stokes, Managing Director of ITCS one of the UK’s top IT Support Companies, after the Prime Minister singled him out for a chat. ITCS is one of the recognised Wales Fast 50 companies and has won numerous awards for service and support. Mr Stokes was singled out by Mr Cameron and ready with advice at the star studded reception, full of Welsh TV personalities, rugby stars and other leading businessmen.

Giving young people the chance to learn.

Brian said: “He asked me what I thought the Government was doing right or could be doing better, so I said that I was pleased to see the Government pledge of committing additional investment to apprenticeships. We see a lot of engineers who leave college and cannot get a job in their chosen field, burdened with debt, and have no industry experience. I explained that an apprenticeship is more focused, more hands on, and would give us a better engineer at the end of it.”

“We had quite a chat and I told him we’d be keen to start doing apprenticeships and working closely with the local schools and colleges. I really felt that he took the point and welcomed my feedback.” The Prime Minister clearly did. He was delighted to hear Brian’s enthusiasm for apprenticeships.

Mr Cameron added: “They are a key part of our plans to grow our economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and helping to build the highly-skilled workforce that our businesses need. They are good for people who want to get ahead, good for business and good for the country. It’s great news that ITCS are now taking on their first apprentice and I hope they will inspire more companies to do the same. I wish ITCS and their new apprentice all the best for the future.”

Award winning IT Computer Support and Managed Maintenance Services.

Brian Stokes says he was selected to attend the Downing Street reception as one of Wales’s “Fast 50″ companies. It was also recognition of the role ITCS has played over the years in supporting and rolling out Government backed initiatives. Brian set up the company with his business partner Gareth John in 2004 and they now employ 20 people. The company delivers award winning IT Computer Support and Managed Maintenance Services to businesses throughout Wales and the South West of England.

As Wales’s number one IT Outsourcing Partner, ITCS can save clients thousands of pounds each year, and deliver innovative, cost effective solutions. With their head offices on the Bridgend Industrial Estate they cover the whole of Wales and the South West of England. For further information visit www.itcs.co.uk

WebPrime Minister Applauds ITCS

Bridgend Business Forum Awards – Service Business of the Year

We were honoured to be presented with the Service Business of the Year award to recognise recognising our outstanding IT and business support.

ITCS was honoured to be presented with the Service Business of the Year award to recognise their dedication to providing businesses in Bridgend, and south Wales, with outstanding IT and business support.

Now in its third year, these awards were founded with the intention of seeking out the ‘shining stars’ of the Bridgend business community. They are organised by Bridgend Business Forum and supported by Bridgend County Borough Council.

Along with the other award nominees, ITCS attended a glittering gala dinner and awards ceremony hosted by BBC News Correspondent Sian Lloyd at the Coed-y-Mwstwr Hotel in Coychurch.

We are delighted to add this accolade to our already impressive list of awards, including being included in the Wales Fast Growth 50 for three years in a row.

kmBridgend Business Forum Awards – Service Business of the Year