The Queens Mill Tearooms Teams Up with Bleisure Rewards

The Queens Mill in Castleford is a hidden gem in the Wakefield District. The Mill has an amazing history with evidence of milling taking place in the area as far back as Roman times!

Sitting on the bank of the River Aire and next to Castleford Bridge, the Queens Mill Tearooms offers a combination of lovely views and a breath of fresh air.

You can find further details about The Queens Mill on Experience Wakefield.

The Queens Mill Tearooms has teamed up with Bleisure Rewards so that local employees can hop in and enjoy hot drinks to go with their day out as a Bleisure Experience.

The Bleisure Rewards program offers a range of experiences for employees in the Wakefield District to enjoy experiences around Wakefield and the Five Towns to attract and retain talent, improve employee wellbeing and bring a local economic boost.


OE Electrics Beat the Winter Blues with Bleisure 

No need for the team at OE Electrics to feel the chill this February as they bring a warm welcome glow to employee wellbeing and a boost to the Wakefield and Five Towns economy with Bleisure.

Like most high streets up and down the country, Wakefield is facing a number of challenges and has been affected by changes to the way people shop. However, lots of hard work is taking place to transform the city centre.
OE Electrics has teamed up with the local rewards initiative, Bleisure Rewards to offer their staff free leisure perks around the city as part of a new employee benefits scheme. Taking the culture of OE Electrics and their already extensive employee wellbeing programme beyond the workplace.


“Employee wellbeing is important to us. We are delighted to offer our staff employee rewards as a benefit that makes a positive local impact in Wakefield.

David Masters

Managing Group Director, OE Electrics

“Our goal is to help local firms think outside of the box for their staff wellbeing, talent retention and how they can easily make a positive local economic impact,” says Ali Gordon, CEO & Founder of Bleisure Rewards.

Ali Gordon

CEO & Founder, Bleisure Rewards

“We are delighted to see local businesses working together in support of our city. The Council has worked closely with both companies and it's great to see them grow and benefit the wider Wakefield economy. City and town centres play a key role in the district's five year economic strategy and initiatives like this further support the work already underway.”Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and regeneration, said: “We are delighted to see local businesses working together in support of our city. The Council has worked closely with both companies and it's great to see them grow and benefit the wider Wakefield economy. City and town centres play a key role in the district's five year economic strategy and initiatives like this further support the work already underway.”

Bleisure Rewards is expanding its partnerships with other local employers with a goal to attract a £4m boost over 3 years into the local Wakefield and five towns dining and leisure economy.

Cllr Darren Byford

Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration
Bleisure Rewards is expanding its partnerships with other local employers with a goal  to attract a £4m boost over 3 years into the local Wakefield and five towns dining and leisure economy.

Business with Brunch at Theatre Royal Wakefield

Business with Brunch at Theatre Royal Wakefield

Theatre Royal Wakefield is a treasure within the Wakefield district and continues with it’s good work through generosity and local support. A new local partnership is no exception.

Theatre Royal Wakefield has teamed up with Bleisure Rewards, a local employee rewards program to add to its already successful and much needed fundraising campaigns to help boost ticket sales and promotion of corporate sponsorship opportunities to the local business community.  

Bleisure Rewards held a Business and Brunch event with Theatre Royal Wakefield this week to demonstrate the good work of the theatre and how the partnership is set to support additional revenue into the theatre. Business and Brunch events started last year to support coffee shops and the business community to the high street. In 2020 the events are stepping up a gear to include a leisure experience each month. Helping local businesses experience first-hand the relationship between leisure to boost wellbeing and how leisure also plays a great role in helping to foster stronger and more authentic local business relationships.  

“Leisure is a great way to boost employee wellbeing and we are looking forward to working with Bleisure Rewards to engage the business community into our corporate sponsorship and help employees across the Wakefield District to access theatre experiences” says Sarah Shooter, Development Manager at Theatre Royal Wakefield. 

“Partnering with Theatre Royal Wakefield was a natural choice. The theatre needs to drive revenue and we are engaging local employers to drive revenue. The theatre provides a great experience for employee wellbeing and so there is a win-win all round.” says Ali Gordon, CEO & Founder of Bleisure Rewards. 

Bleisure Rewards is expanding its partnerships with local employers with a goal  to attract a £4m boost over 3 years into the local Wakefield and five towns dining and leisure economy. Business and Brunch events are a great way for local businesses to get involved and learn more. 

Video of Business with Brunch with Theatre Royal Wakefield

Can Organisational Culture Influence the Culture of Wakefield?

Image by Dave Noonan from Pixabay

Recently I have been spending a lot of time talking about organisational culture and employee engagement with Wakefield-based companies. With low attraction and retention around the Wakefield District, many employers work hard at finding ways to keep their employees engaged.  Culture is seen as being important for employee engagement, employee retention and keeping absence costs down.

There are a number of ways that Wakefield employers approach culture within their organisation and here are some of them.

Positive culture:
Be comfortable with making mistakes – It’s OK
Get involved and contribute ideas – make a difference
Recognition for making a contribution
Trust and autonomy
Incentive rewards
Communication of a common purpose and vision
Promoting balance and wellbeing

These are all great and healthy contributors for building an engaging and positive organisational culture in any location. So what makes the workplace in Wakefield different to other cities such as Leeds, Sheffield and York?

Image by Tim Hill from Pixabay
Wider than the workplace

The issue of culture is wider than in the workplace itself.

I frequently ask the question during presentations: “Who thinks that Wakefield could benefit from a boost?” This question is often met with ‘yes’ and a very much ‘me too’. There is a definite challenge in the cultural identity of Wakefield and enthusiasm for it to change for the better. Where do you even start? Who is responsible?

Since 2018 we have focused our business activity within the Wakefield District and in doing so, I have personally grown very fond of the quirks. The contributions being made, the flair being sparked, the good humour and the potential.

The challenges in moving in a new cultural direction lie in moving values and beliefs. This is not easy. It starts by helping individuals see they are safe to make a difference. They don’t have to wait for someone else to do it and that it is OK not to conform to the way things have always been done around here.

Supporting and stimulating a positive culture in Wakefield:

Working with organisations already adopting a positive approach to culture,  we believe is a stepping stone to influencing the local area and making a positive imprint. Leading positive culture by example.

When we take a look at the positive aspects of organisational culture listed, we can see some wider challenges to overcome cultural challenges across Wakefield.

Get involved and contribute ideas – make a difference: You are certainly free to get involved and contribute ideas in Wakefield. A positive culture builds trust in sharing ideas. If we like your idea, then we will help you develop it. If we are unsure of your idea, then we’ll work with you to shape it. Building safe environments and spirit to share and build ideas is important to move the culture of the city forward.

The challenge is when sharing of ideas can be misinterpreted. If we like the idea, we may just take it to claim the glory as there is much glory needed to make both myself and this place look good. If we are unsure of the idea then we’ll ignore you and hope you will go away. This approach can affect trust in sharing ideas in the future and reinforce a stagnant culture in sharing ideas. Ideas are necessary to move a place forward and stimulate a healthy culture and collaboration.

Be comfortable with making mistakes – It’s OK
Intellectually speaking, making mistakes is fine. The reality of making mistakes must be accepted in the same way. A healthy culture stimulates entrepreneurship and for entrepreneurship to thrive, then it has to be OK to make mistakes. The challenge is when mistakes make influencers feel uncomfortable. We are happy for you to do it and when it succeeds, we are right behind you, but we are not making mistakes as we have our reputation to think about. A positive culture of making mistakes and learning fast is the role of leadership and influencers in the city. A reputation of making mistakes and learning fast is a positive one to inspire others.
Wakefield has a strong commitment to voluntary and community activities and individuals are recognised for making a contribution, demonstrating a great strength for a positive culture. Wakefield Council is leading the way to a positive cultural transformation across the district. It takes collaboration as cultural transformation is not possible to achieve alone.

Image by maisonmaigre from Pixabay
Future Wakefield Culture

Wakefield has historically been associated as an ex-mining community and centre for distribution. With the increase in fantastic iconic destinations such as The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Hepworth, The Art House and the festivals, Wakefield certainly has a future in transforming its identity. These in conjunction with collaboration between all invested parties lays down a positive prospect for a cultural transformation.

The key, we believe is in the leaders with a desire to move the city forward as with organisations leading by example. Individuals can then begin to feel more comfortable in seeing their role as a valuable piece of the jigsaw.

Making a positive shift alone seems insurmountable. It is about individuals making a choice and feeling confident they can make a difference and once again collaboration helps to build confidence in moving in the same direction. It takes more ‘yes’s’ and being open to ideas and possibility to move forward.

Bleisure Rewards works with organisations with a positive culture, because by coming together, we can contribute by bringing the best of local culture into the city and inspiring local people to step up and get involved with rewards for doing so.  Rewards help to support the idea that it’s OK to step out of the norm and do something different in supporting your local area.

What is your experience of culture in Wakefield?

In Brief a 2020 Vision for Wakefield in 2020

The start of a new decade seems like a great time to step boldly forward with exciting and challenging goals. Have you set yourself stretching and challenging goals?

We have taken on board feedback, innovation and refocused Bleisure Rewards with a grand plan and as they say approaching the next decade with ‘2020 vision’.

Our goals are:

  1. Raising £4m Revenue into Wakefield Dining, Leisure and Culture
    We have set an ambitious goal to raise £4m in revenue into Wakefield Dining, Leisure and Culture over the next 3 years. How are we going to do it? With the help of brilliant businesses, charities and organisations in Wakefield with the spirit we have to bring a new dynamic to the city. We already have early adopters coming on board with some major players.
    Find out more by joining us at Theatre Royal Wakefield for Business with Brunch in January
  2. Attraction and Retention of Talent in Wakefield
    Attraction and retention of talent in Wakefield is a major pain for many Wakefield employers. Sometimes it is important to recongise a specific opportunity and so we decided to change tact. Bleisure Rewards is re-launching with a focus specifically on employee benefits.    Join us at the Theatre Royal Wakefield Business with Brunch in January to find out how you can benefit, including early adopter advantages.
  3. Making an Impact
    One thing is certain that the Wakefield district is on the up! With the fantastic landscape of culture, dining and leisure along with the spirit of local organisations who appreciate that you cannot solve the same old problems doing the same old things. New solutions can be found through collaboration and thinking outside of the box. Change can be positively embraced. We are keen to collaborate as far and wide across the Wakefield district as possible. Supporting businesses, charities and organisations in achieving their goals. Come along and meet our partners at the next Business and Brunch and explore opportunities to collaborate.

Join us at the next Business with Brunch in January

Wakefield SMEs Gain an Advantage

Wakefield-based SMEs Gain a Competitive Advantage.

A collaboration of local business leaders and experts join forces to give Wakefield SMEs a boost.

Wakefield businesses face many challenges in gaining a competitive advantage. These include

● Competing with nearby Leeds and Sheffield to attract and retain talent.
● Staying with the speed of digital progress and innovation.
● Maintaining strategies for staying in the minds of clients.
● Finding new opportunities to remain competitive and set local businesses apart

Bleisure Rewards is pleased to team up with three partners to offer a free masterclass for local SMEs.

“We are delighted to be bringing local businesses the tools they need to be streets ahead of their competition as the city takes a new direction” Ali Gordon, Founder and CEO of Bleisure Rewards.

The Free Masterclass is on Tuesday 22nd October 1-4pm and will be held in central Wakefield in a local cultural setting – The Art House:

● Nigel Greenwood, Simply Customer, is passionate about improving business procedures by building great customer experiences.

● Ali Gordon, Bleisure Rewards, will be showing how local businesses can tap into an emerging trend in business rewards.

● Rosi Newman, Leeds Beckett University, will share how a new export project for Wakefield SMEs could help your business innovate and grow.

● Beverley Hopper, Credere Solutions, will offer her insight and experience to help SMEs discover how to access much under-utilised tax rebates.

The Masterclass can be booked here

Leadership Evolution Needed to Improve Employee Mental Health

Leading by example, showing and inspiring has been well adopted over the past few decades. With the increasing pressures and stress that the digital world brings affecting the mental health of leaders, then how can we expect to continue to lead by example and improve employee mental health? 

The challenge for our leaders is that many of the challenges facing employees experiencing challenges to mental health are also present for our leaders. Any human being, regardless of a position within an organisation is affected by the ever increasing speed at which the world operates due to technical advances. This is both inside and outside of the workplace.

The rise of technology and the amount of information coming in at us has increased. This has resulted in increased pressures both in terms of workload and social pressures.

The way to combat these pressures is to build tolerance by exposing ourselves to physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual well-being. The problem is that life is so busy, it can be easy to put these aside, even for leaders.

If we want to inspire balance and good mental health in organisations, then as leaders we need to show people how to behave. We can not expect employees to follow a regime to improve their mental health if we are not doing it ourselves.

We have started yoga sessions to allow business leaders the space to understand how they can be authentic in their leadership, improve their own mental-health and support their employees to reduce stress and increase satisfaction at work, for increased productivity. We believe by focusing on your well-being, the technology can work harder in the background to help you reach your business goals, rather than adding to your stress levels.

Want to make a difference to leadership in your city? Send us a request. 

Discover Bleisure Events

Social Media and Employee Mental Health

Mental health in the workplace is a hot topic. With a rising trend of stress related sickness, there is a need for further intervention in the workplace.

During a well-being in the workplace talk in relation to Kundalini yoga and meditation recently, the benefits were clear.

There was a clear message that the rise of technology, social media and messages coming in at us that we have to adapt to strategies that enable us to cope with stress.

The next part was even more frightening. The rate of speed of the digital revolution, we must put measures in place to be able to cope with even more stress that was coming our way.

This was a key moment as I saw those around me agreeing. The digital revolution is moving at a pace irrespective of the impact on the mental health of people and the experience and perceptions of people.

It was then that I realised a groundbreaking movement in our approach. We are taking the human experience first and challenging technology to help us become more effective from the things that give us most enjoyment.

Recognising that other businesses are feeling frustrated about being invisible online, feeling stressed online we started to gain the excitement of local businesses behind the idea and start some meetups. The meetups focus on the mental health and well-being of people first and are making the Bleisure Rewards app works in conjunction with the meetup to faciliate their experience and help local businesses achieve their goals. 

Discover Bleisure Meetups

Is Death of The High Street Real?

I hear with intrigue about the perception of the high street. What are local councils doing about the death of the high street? The BIDs have been setup in many cities to help with the revival of the high street, but is that enough? 

Having spent many years now working with local businesses in city centres, there seems to be an overriding trend that is affecting footfall into the high street. The trend is ‘digital’. We are all engrossed with messages around ‘are you at the forefront of digital marketing?’, ‘you need to get ahead of the curve online’. 

Here is a stark reality. Local businesses are increasingly becoming invisible in the online space, unless there is lots of money to spend.  

The next fact is that there is so much coming in at us in the digital world, many people now describe social networking platforms as ‘doing my head in’ and although good to stay connected are craving social aspects of their life that are missing as we speed up the rate of progress of technology. 

The other challenge with digital platforms is that it makes it so easy not to have to go out these days. It’s easier to seem sociable in an online bubble and order a takeaway delivery via an app. 

Whilst we see many benefits of social media in reaching and connecting with a wider audience and we believe it should be in the mix, we anticipate a move towards a new way of being socially connected. Using technology to support our human experience. 

The digital world is having a social impact on us. A negative impact on mental health. A negative impact on local businesses thriving unless they have big budgets to spend.  Social media is having an impact on people going out and enjoying their city. 

Although many businesses are aware of this and want to do something. They are not quite sure how to change it.

The Death of The High Street (we don’t think so) 

We see two core factors that will safeguard the high street:

  1. Adapting to a new kind of high street. Working together with local councils and BIDs on the transformation. They need local businesses to collaborate and employees to start to turn their attention to what is available to them locally, with a compelling reason to change habits.
  2. Create a way for local businesses to make a small contribution that makes a compelling business case for getting involved. 

We don’t believe in the death of the high street. Simply a transformation of the high street. If we all sit back and watch, it will take some time and not necessarily benefit our local businesses. If we are aware of our habits, how they make an impact and gain a level of control as businesses, then we can make a transformation much sooner and pave the way for a much more exciting future.

Imagine a high street where you don’t have any restaurants, bars, coffee shops or leisure. Would you feel inspired to do business in that city? Would your employees feel compelled to go out and socialise towards creating a sense of balance? Unless we address our habits along with local council investment and transformation into cities, then they are working against the tide and we won’t have a thriving environment for employees and to connect with local businesses.

A compelling reason to support local in your business meetings

Let us take one example of holding a meeting in a coffee shop. The challenge for local businesses is that for every £1 spent for a business meeting in a coffee shop outside of a local business, the impact to the local economy is estimated at 36p.

For every £1 spent with a local business, in this example, on your high street, it is worth £1.76 to the local economy through the creation of jobs and how that money is re-invested.

That means it’s almost a 400% more of a positive impact to have your business meetings supporting a local independent coffee shop.

Authentic Leadership – If you want to attract local customers, then you can show your support of local businesses.
If you are in business, then it is a good practice to be aware of the impact of £1 you spend. After all, if you want other local businesses to spend with you, then it is important to understand why this is so significant and be authentic in leading the way in supporting local business. 

An Easy Way for Local Businesses to Challenge Their Habits and Make an Impact

To start to get the ball rolling, we have negotiated free hot drink perks in Wakefield City Centre. These are available for free on the Bleisure Rewards app. The free perks are an easy and readily available way to start making a difference for the high street in Wakefield.  

Based on the economics of local v’s non-local then 1000 perks redeemed in Wakefield city centre, that is approx £5,000 investment into the local economy. That’s a significant contribution. 

This is an easy way to start making a difference immediately and how we can start helping towards the goals of local council and local BID to make a difference. 

The business case is that instead of buying two cups of coffee for your meeting, you are buying just one, so it reduces the cost. You also build a much stronger connection when you meet face to face.

From a high street business perspective, the fact that you came through the door and another person had an experience, you are driving footfall and may like to go back. You are also not spending money with their competitors.

On top of all this, the Bleisure Rewards app will ping you handy notifications to help you grow your business whilst at the venue.

It is a case of using technology to support your experience and bring a positive boost to the local economy. 

Just one compelling reason to drive doing business back to the high street.

Working together, we see a positive transformation to a new economy of the high street. It’s an exciting time to influence it.


10 Reasons Why Bleisure Rewards Meeting Perks Matter More Than You Probably Realise

There are some really important reasons why the meeting perks available with your free membership are more valuable and significant that you realise. 


  1. Research to suggests that for every £1 spent in your local economy that £1 becomes worth around £3.70. For example, £1 spent in your local coffee shop is then likely to be reinvested locally either as staff wages and are more likely to be spent with local businesses.
  2.  When you don’t spend money a local independent business you are actively supporting their competition. Let’s say you spend £5 on a cup of coffee at a chain coffee shop out of town. That is £5 can go actively towards the competitions sales and marketing investment to attract further customers away from the local independent coffee shop. 
  3. Many businesses will object to parking and walking to a meeting because of inconvenience. If you do have to park and walk, this adds approximately 5 minutes onto a journey. 5 minutes of being mindful of the positive impact you are making. 5 minutes of being mindful of using the time to come up with creative ideas. How might you otherwise of used 5 minutes in your day?
  4.  A local coffee shop is often manned by the owner of the coffee shop. This gives you depth of conversation when you visit. You have something in common. You are in business. If you get to know a coffee shop owner, they meet Bleisure Rewards members who come to their coffee shop. By understanding and supporting them, they are more likely to understand and support you. We show local owners how they can both grow their business and support Bleisure Rewards members to connect with other members when they come to their coffee shop.
  5. Thinking outside of the box. Most businesses are following previous behaviour patterns without thought. Being mindful of changing behaviour patters now and again can help you think differently and solve other problems in your business. 
  6. Your Bleisure Rewards app links in with local business support and funding. When visiting the city centre, your app notifies you of business support available to you that is relevant to your profile of business and who to contact. Why not grab yourself your free perk and discover opportunities for your business.  
  7. Free perks reduce your out of pocket cost of business meetings. It’s like your client footing their part of the bill.
  8. Your client will appreciate you for it. Taking them out and footing the bill. That helps to foster relationships. The app also acts as a point of conversation. Not only are you adding to them buy getting them a coffee, but they could be using the Bleisure Rewards app and accessing the benefits for their own business. It’s always important to think of ways to stick in the mind of your customers. They’ll thank you for it!
  9. When you have a social experience together face to face, the brain releases endorphins that make people feel good. Interaction face to face is at a deeper level than online. Digital marketing can only take a business relationship so far. When you meet with clients you want them to feel good.  
  10. As a local business points 1-9 all relate to customers spending in your business. Wouldn’t you like local businesses to be more proactive about doing business with you locally? By leading the way, you are doing your bit towards shaping positive habits. 

Have you enjoyed your free perks yet? They are easy to access from the perks section on the app. The closest location to you appears at the top and you can select the perk and redeem it. It’s simple.