Connect with us


Joseph Holt Brewery partners with H.M.Pasties to give ex-offenders fresh start

‘H.M.Pasties is an incredible social enterprise, and we are proud to support a business that shares our commitment to giving people a second chance’

Avatar photo



@h.m.pasties / Instagram

A Manchester brewery has partnered with a pasty shop to give ex-offenders a fresh start.

Joseph Holt brewery, a family business based in Manchester, has been brewing beer for six generations. And beyond brewing ale, it has committed to support ex-offenders through a range of programmes and schemes.

Its active support has seen the Manchester brewer help ex-offenders through apprenticeships, in-prison careers talks, and partnerships with organisations like ‘Only A Pavement Away’  which connects individuals in need with employment opportunities in prisons, veteran communities, and several homeless charities.

When Joseph Holt Brewery discovered H.M.Pasties — an award-winning food company in Bolton run by ex-offenders — a collaboration seemed like the perfect pairing.

@h.m.pasties / Instagram

The company has made it their mission to engage with prisons through employment days, offering advice and guidance to those interested in joining the hospitality industry.

They also run apprenticeship schemes and collaborate with charities to assist individuals in rebuilding their lives after prison.

Jane Kershaw, the director of Joseph Holt Brewery and member of the Holt family, said about the joint venture: “We were already aware of the high quality of pies and pasties produced by Lee and his team.

@h.m.pasties / Instagram

“But what truly resonated with us was the alignment of values. H.M.Pasties is an incredible social enterprise, and we are proud to support a business that shares our commitment to giving people a second chance.

“By partnering with them, we not only support the local community but also reduce food miles as they source local, quality ingredients. And seeing our legendary bitter used in a pie is fantastic!

“H.M.Pasties was a perfect fit for us in terms of our shared goals.”

Founder Lee Wakeham — who himself spent two stints in prison during his youth — expressed his delight at the success of their pies.

@h.m.pasties / Instagram

The steak pie, infused with carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, and tomato puree, has been reinvented with Joseph Holt bitter, adding depth and richness to the flavour. While the cheese pie, unlike many similar products, focuses on the cheese’s lusciousness rather than heavy potato content.

H.M.Pasties takes pride in sourcing homegrown ingredients from the prison estate, simultaneously providing employment opportunities for individuals with convictions. The company offers mentoring support, empowering their employees to build new careers and lead a crime-free life.

Lee Wakeham said: “Working with Joseph Holt was an obvious choice for us.

@h.m.pasties / Instagram

“We were drawn to their legendary beers and ales, but more importantly, we admired their strong ties to charitable causes and their commitment to helping ex-offenders rebuild their lives.

“With projects like apprenticeship schemes and prison collaborations, Joseph Holt shares our belief in uplifting those who have faced setbacks.”

After his release, Lee worked his way up from a factory worker to a sales manager. In 2011, he began working with offenders as a resettlement worker and an employment coach, eventually establishing H.M.Pasties in 2019.

Lee’s personal journey is an example of the transformative power of therapy, support and determination.


Boy, 11, left in critical condition after being hit by police van

Awful news this morning

Avatar photo



Good Morning Britain / ITV

A boy has been left in critical condition in hospital following an incident with a police van last night.

The 11-year-old was struck by a police van in Lancaster on Thursday night, May 25th, as the van was attending a call.

Lancashire Police say the vehicle was en route to an emergency call when the collision happened.

The boy was crossing Owen Road just before 8:30 pm when he was hit, and was transported to Royal Lancaster Infirmary in a critical condition.

A police spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the child’s loved ones at this time.

“An investigation is underway to establish the full circumstances that led to the collision.

“We have voluntarily referred this matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), as is standard with an incident of this nature.”

Google Maps

The IOPC said in a statement: “We have declared an independent investigation into the actions of Lancashire Police prior to a road traffic collision in Owen Road, Lancaster at around 8.30pm tonight, in which a child has been injured.

“We understand that a marked police van, with its lights and sirens on, was in a collision with an 11-year-old boy.

“We were notified by the force shortly after the collision and declared an investigation at 10.37pm. IOPC investigators are heading to the scene and the police post incident procedure to begin gathering information.”

According to the IOPC, the investigation is in its early stages.

Continue Reading


Sam Smith cancels upcoming shows due to ‘vocal cord injury’ and tells fans ‘I’m so sorry’

‘Refunds will be available at point of purchase for all three dates; Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow’

Avatar photo



@davidleedesign / Twitter

Sam Smith has cancelled their upcoming shows due to a vocal cord injury and issued a statement telling fans, ‘I’m so sorry’.

The singer had to call off their Gloria Tour show, mid-way through, at Manchester AO Arena last night (Wednesday May 24th) after experiencing ‘vocal issues’.

The lights went off and fans waited in darkness for a number of minutes as speculation circulated on social media, with many wondering if there had been a ‘power cut’.

Moments later, after just four songs, a packed-out arena was told the show unfortunately had to be called off.

@samsmith / Instagram

Afterwards, Sam, 31, issued a statement on their Instagram stories to tell fans — who had missed out on a ‘surprise’ that was supposed to be at the end of the show — how ‘sorry’ they were.

Today, Thursday May 25th, the ‘Unholy’ singer has issued another statement after calling off upcoming gigs.

On their Instagram stories, the star wrote: “Due to vocal issues during last night’s Manchester performance, regrettably we will be cancelling the rescheduled Birmingham and Glasgow Sam Smith shows.

“Refunds will be available at point of purchase for all three dates; Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Manchester’s Finest Group

“A spokesperson said ‘Doctors have advised due to a vocal cord injury, Sam must have complete vocal rest’.

“Sam is heartbroken to have had to cancel these shows but they have been told by doctors that if they keep singing, they will do permanent damage to their voice.

“If they take some rest they will be able to perform again. I’m so sorry.”

Sam already had to push back the Birmingham and Glasgow gigs after suffering from a virus several weeks ago.

@samsmith / Instagram

After calling off last night’s show at Manchester’s AO Arena, Sam wrote on their Instagram story: “Today in soundcheck I felt fine and was so excited to give Manchester an amazing show tonight, with a special surprise at the end.

“During my third song, I noticed something wrong with my voice. I prayed it was just my voice waking up for the show but into the fourth song I could feel something was really wrong.”

The pop singer added: “I came off stage and have tried everything to get my voice back in gear but it won’t.

“I am honestly heartbroken I couldn’t finish the show tonight for you all. I love you all. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.”

Continue Reading


Body found in river in search for missing 24-year-old woman

Shannon’s family have been informed

Avatar photo



Lancashire Police

A body has been found in a river in the search for a missing woman from Lancashire.

Police searching for Shannon Canning from Lancaster say they have found a body. The 24-year-old had been missing from home since the early hours of Friday May 19th.

A search operation was launched to find the young woman who did not turn up for work at Tipple bar on Friday afternoon. 

Public appeals for help were launched by her family and the police force, who said they were concerned for her welfare as the disappearance was out of character.

Lancashire Police

Lancashire Police have confirmed the body of a woman was found in the River Lune near Halton on Wednesday afternoon, May 24th. Shannon’s family has been informed.

Patrols were increased during the week and specialist divers joined the search yesterday. Officers were called at around 4.20pm Wednesday afternoon when the discovery was made.

A statement from Lancashire Police said: “Sadly, officers searching for missing Shannon Canning have an update, following a body recovered from the River Lune.

“We can confirm that we were called today (May 24th) at around 4:20pm to a report that a body had been found in the River Lune, near Halton.

Christine Johnstone / Geograph

“Specialist search teams have subsequently attended the area and can sadly confirm that the body of a woman has been recovered.

“Although formal identification has yet to take place, we believe the body to be that of missing Shannon Canning.

“Shannon’s family have been made aware of this sad development and our thoughts are with them at this upsetting time.”

Continue Reading

Receive our latest news, events & unique stories

Privacy and data policy

We may earn a commission when you use one of our links to make a purchase

Copyright © 2023 Manchester's Finest Group