Air Covers director John Pattinson

Member Article

LEP grants boost job-creating projects in Shropshire

Two business expansion projects in Shropshire are to benefit from a £63,000 boost from a fund created to breathe new life into redundant buildings.

The cash from the £1.5 million Marches Redundant Buildings Grant Scheme will see the creation of up to 12 jobs.

The largest grant has gone to the world’s leading supplier of protective covers for helicopters, Air Covers Ltd, near Shrewsbury. It has secured £33,146 grant to convert a Dutch barn to expand its manufacturing operations and create new offices. It is expecting to create up to six new jobs over the next few years.

And the first grant within the Telford & Wrekin region has been awarded to vehicle leasing company FVR (UK) Ltd which is moving its operations from Shifnal to Newport. The £30,000 grant will assist with the conversion of a redundant farm building to provide a headquarters for the company, creating five new jobs.

The projects are among the first to receive awards from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership scheme. The LEP won £1.5 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund last year to set up the scheme, which is open to applications from businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Chairman of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, said: “We are delighted to be able to support businesses which are expanding and creating jobs, especially in this current difficult economic climate.

“As a predominantly rural region, it is important that in areas where buildings lie dormant, there is funding assistance available to help bring them back into productive economic use, whether they are on an industrial estate, in the High Street or in the countryside.”

Air Covers Ltd designs and manufactures technically sophisticated environmental protective covers and anti-corrosion systems for aircraft and marine equipment in parts of the world where harsh conditions can lead to high maintenance costs.

Director John Pattinson said: “The grant will contribute 30 per cent towards the build cost of converting an old Dutch barn into a new workshop and design office. We recently won approvals from two of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers so although the market is tough, we seem to be moving in the right direction. The Redundant Building Grant award means we can continue this growth.”

Director of FVR, Chris Driscoll, said: “We are a growing company and need to move into larger premises. We’ll be converting buildings near Newport, which will give us a new head office complex, allowing further expansion and creating new jobs. We’ll be celebrating our tenth birthday next year, and we’re hoping to be working form our new offices by Christmas.”

The company’s core operation is the leasing of cars and light commercial vehicles. Recent contract wins include Apollo 2000, Ryobi, Black Country Housing Group and Sussex County Council.

The RBGS, which is administered by Herefordshire Council on behalf of the LEP, is aiming to create around 300 jobs across the Marches between now and 2014. Funding is available for capital grant support of between £3,000 and up to £50,000 to small businesses and start-ups to transform redundant buildings into a base for their enterprises.

Businesses interested in finding out more about the scheme or wanting to speak to the RBG team about their project can contact 01432 260662 or email rbgscheme@herefordshire.gov.uk

Picture: John Pattinson, director of Air Covers Ltd, with the Dutch barn which will transformed into a new workspace

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Be Bold Public Relations .

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