Almost 200 businesses benefit from council growth grant

Lee Norgrove who is a fabric inspector at S. Dawes Weaving (s)
Lee Norgrove who is a fabric inspector at S. Dawes Weaving (s)
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Almost 200 Pendle businesses have received thousands of pounds from the council’s Gearing up for Growth Programme over a four year period.

And Pendle Council’s Executive has agreed to continue to fund the scheme until 2019 to continue the “success story”.

The programme is designed to create economic growth, help local companies thrive, create more job opportunities and support and bring forward private sector investment.

Since 2012, 128 companies have taken advantage of grants to help them start and 37 companies to expand creating 324 new jobs.

That equates to almost £550,000 of investment in the borough which has already resulted in more than £1.5m of private sector investment.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council who has responsibility for economic development, said: “Our Gearing up for Growth programme is a real success story.

“Over the past four years, we’ve invested significantly in the scheme because it’s vital that we help our local economy to thrive and create more jobs.

“We’re doing all we can to keep those companies based here, support those who want to grow and encourage new ones to start.

“Previous grants have been taken up by a wide range of industries across Pendle, from aerospace to engineering and tourism.

“And they’ve ranged from new machinery, software and premises improvements to equipment to help start up new engineering, catering and security businesses.

“There’s a wide range of help available to businesses and we want to get this message out loud and clear! Contact us if you think we can help.”

One of those business to have taken advantage of the grants is S. Dawes Weaving in Colne.

The company was the winner of Manufacturer of the Year in Pendle Business Awards 2016 and from its new base in Skipton Road, the firm has brought the textile industry into the 21st century.

It has 16 looms and weaves on average 15,000 metres of fabric a week, producing high end jacquard fabrics, many of which are produced exclusively for leading retailers such as Laura Ashley, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis.

It also creates one-off bespoke patterns for individual designers, often working with young talent and creative designers to develop their products.

Marketing manager Joan Shepherd said the company is really proud to be based in Pendle and when they’d outgrown their old site and needed to find new premises they were determined to stay in the borough.

She said: “The council’s business support team was very supportive helping us to find a location which could accommodate the high gantries for our jacquard looms and we’re delighted we were able to find a new base here.

“We received £10,000 from the council’s Gearing up for Growth programme to help us move from Manor Mill in Nelson to our new premises in Greenhill Mill, Colne.

“This has resulted in two new jobs being created, 12 being safeguarded and one building being improved and brought back into use.

“The move was planned with absolute precision which meant that our customers weren’t affected.”

Since its move to larger premises, S. Dawes Weaving has invested more than £500,000 in new machinery and the latest design technology.

This gives it much greater flexibility and means customers now have many more opportunities to support UK manufacturing.

And the new warping machinery has allowed the company to significantly increase sales and productivity.

Joan added: “The history of Dawes goes back over 100 years and even though there have been changes in ownership there’s still the feeling that we’re continuing the heritage of a long established Lancashire textile company.

“Our innovation and expertise have seen us develop new fabrics, weaving with yarns including silk, bamboo and hemp, as well as cotton and viscose.

“Considering the number of mills that once employed thousands of textile workers in east Lancashire, we’re very proud to be one of very few textile mills still operating in Pendle.”

Hanna Latty, business development officer at Pendle Council, said: “Our Gearing up for Growth programme is a huge success and we’re thrilled that our grants and support are giving local companies a leading edge.

“S. Dawes Weaving is a fantastic example of how we can help our local businesses to grow and thrive.

“Since April, we’ve already approved six growth and five start-up grants.”

Over the coming months Gearing up for Growth will continue to offer:

• start-up grants to support businesses which are helping to diversify the local economy and become the employers of the future

• Grants for Growth which stimulate private sector investment and support growth in our existing companies and increase their competitiveness

• Pendle Business Class Hub which aims to prevent social background from predicting a young person’s success in the classroom and beyond

• Pendle Business Week which gives businesses the opportunity to attend events/workshops letting them know of the support available and training sessions.

For more information about Gearing up for Growth contact Hassan Ditta, employer engagement officer, on 661640 or email