InBusiness Burnley - Issue 21, May 2023

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Feature In Focus News TCB Designs: scaling up ambitions pg16 Cherrytree Bakery expansion plans pg57 Burnley Council chief executive to retire pg10 Issue 21 Lisa Sourbutts: Growing a business through challenging times
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Welcome from the Editor

Burnley has faced its challenges over the years, but we always seem to come back stronger – just like our fantastic football club (more on that later). Our local businesses are no exception to this, and in this issue we take a closer look at just a few companies and individuals who’ve shown resilience through difficult times.

We love to hear about businesses thriving in the face of adversity and Cherrytree Bakery is doing just that. The company is doing so well they’ve taken on a new premises. You can find out more about the company’s expansion plans on page 57.

Everyone deals with challenges in different ways, and we’ve also got some words of wisdom from some of our Burnley Bondholders who share their secrets to remaining resilient.

One person who’s faced more than her fair share of obstacles is our cover star Lisa Sourbutts, managing director of CUBE HR. Despite this, Lisa is probably one of the most positive people we’ve ever met, and I’m in no doubt that you’ll come away from reading about her journey feeling inspired. Thank you for sharing your story, Lisa.

Another inspiring woman is Annette Weekes, general manager at Pursuit Aerospace, who spoke to us about her journey into the aerospace industry. Annette is a passionate advocate for Burnley businesses and is a firm believer that we should be shouting about our brilliant borough. Something we couldn’t agree with more!

I’m delighted to announce that the Future Leaders programme has launched, fully funded by the Burnley Bondholders and in partnership with The University of Central Lancashire. It’s important to ensure our younger workforce are just as determined, positive and ambitious as those with more experience so we can continue the amazing work we all do in Burnley. Find out more about the exciting programme on page 24.

And, as I mentioned earlier, we couldn’t have an issue focusing on resilience without recognising Burnley Football Club’s promotion back into the Premier League as champions. What an achievement for the club, which has withstood numerous challenges and bounced back from relegation in style. And it’s not just good news for football fans, being back in the top tier is a real economic boost for the borough. A premier team for a premier town – up the Clarets!

If growing your business within our borough is something you are interested in, why not get in touch with our Business Support Team to find out how they can help. You can contact them at and you can find more online –

We can only share a fraction of the good news stories happening in the borough in the magazine, so please follow and all our social media channels to read more success stories from our Burnley businesses.

And finally, if you have an interesting story that you’d like to share, or if you have feedback about the magazine, I’d love to hear it.

8 Burnley Council recognised for its commitment to young employees

design by:

16 TCB Designs: scaling up ambitions

24 Pioneering Future Leaders programme launches

42 Burnley our resilient borough

© Burnley Council 18749 Printed by Peter Scotts Printers [t] 01282 452221


senior team for further growth

Finance director Daniel Miller takes on the mantle of managing director with new additions in sales and operations to bolster experience

CoolKit, the UK’s largest specialist in temperature-controlled vans, has completed a restructuring of its executive team following the recent announcement of its record order intake of £20.1 million for 2022.

Founder and chief executive, Rupert Gatty, has promoted finance director Daniel Miller – who joined the business last year to oversee digital transformation and growth – to managing director.

Motor industry veteran, Mike Scappaticci, has joined the business as head of fleet sales and is joined by Matthew Kershaw, a highly experienced engineer and director of the Northern Automotive Alliance, as head of operations.

A new direction

With an ambitious plan for growth, the first target for CoolKit’s new team is to optimise production output to meet the increasing demand for its products – which includes temperature-controlled van conversions and insulated box bodies, ready converted vans and portable refrigerators – across its core customer sectors.

Commenting on this new direction for the business, Rupert, who launched Burnley-based CoolKit in 2005, said: “Bringing in consummate professionals in their respective fields to the business is a crucial, transformational step change for CoolKit.

“By creating an experienced executive team, we are now firmly out of the blocks for 2023. I’ve never been more excited

about the prospects for the business as we support our customers on their journey towards more sustainable fleets by choosing alternatively fuelled vehicles and more.”

Focus on strategy for chief executive

By promoting Daniel to managing director, Rupert’s intention is to step away from the day- to-day management of the business to concentrate on strategic development.

He said: “Daniel has already brought in a great deal of positive change across the business, and it is my intention now to allow him to build on that by focussing on strategy implementation and innovation.”

Chartered accountant Daniel joined the company in February 2022 from Finnish paper and energy technology supplier Valmet, where he was UK managing director.

He said: “I am excited by the opportunity to introduce new initiatives across the board – ones which will support employee retention, personal development and product quality.”

For the last 25 years, new head of fleet sales Mike worked within the Mercedes Benz commercial vehicle dealer network and headed up the e-Grocery side of the business for 12 years.

He said: “CoolKit already has a phenomenal business model, but it’s my intention to build further upon that by taking collaboration and communication to a new high. With my experience I intend to develop relationships with new prospects, and to strengthen

relationships with existing customers.

“My role is to ensure that the company’s vision of seeing a CoolKit converted vehicle on every high street in the UK becomes a reality in the near-term.”

Further strengthening the team  Quality, safety and efficiency are the aims of new head of operations Matthew, 47, who brings his career-long experience as an engineer in the automotive industry to CoolKit.

He spent 14 years with SETCO Automotive UK, a company designing turbochargers who worked directly with major OEMs including Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo on the development of their engines from initial design, through vehicle testing, to supply to the customer. Matthew also holds a position as a director of the Northern Automotive Alliance, whom he assists by promoting and supporting the interests of the automotive industry across the Northern Powerhouse region. He added: “CoolKit is a business which has clearly enjoyed substantial recent growth but is also one that still has enormous potential which I look forward to helping to realise. As we aim to increase output to exceed 1,500 vehicles a year, I believe we need to embed the principles of quality, safety and efficiency – and that is what I am most excited about achieving.”

For more information about CoolKit, please visit


Not just claret and blue, but green too

SPL is an organisation that records and measures the initiatives of professional sports clubs to reduce their environmental impact, and has placed Burnley F.C. sixth in the table.

The rating comes at a time when the club, with the support of supporter’s group Sustainable Clarets, has been working hard to bring about positive changes.

Matt Hargreaves, facilities manager, explains: “There are initiatives underway all through the club infrastructure which have the aim of lessening our impact on the environment. The club understands our responsibilities and we are committed to reducing our environmental impact as much as possible over the coming years. We know that this is a journey that still has a distance to travel, but we are proud to have ranked so highly in this report.”

A range of initiatives are taking place across the club’s Barnfield training ground and the Turf Moor stadium, including electricity at both locations

generated from renewable sources.

The club is in the final phases of making all urinals in the stadium waterless, which will reduce water consumption by around one million litres each year.

Biodiversity has been encouraged at the training ground, with the development and retention of wooded and wetland areas, and the addition of a natural roof on the first team building.

The fact that the training ground is situated next to the River Calder is also used to its advantage. The club has an extraction licence, so they can use the water to irrigate the pitches at certain times of the year, lessening the need for treated water. It also treats wastewater and puts it back into the river.

These are just a few examples of the club’s initiatives; fans are encouraged to get involved by visiting www.pledgeball. org and committing to make a small lifestyle change of their own.

Burnley Football Club has been named one of the most sustainable clubs in the EFL Championship, according to a report published by the Sport Positive League (SPL).

Velocity Composites enters US market with $100 million GKN agreement

Velocity Composites, a leading regional aerospace composite material kits supplier which has its headquarters at AMS Technology Park, on Billington Road in Burnley, has announced its entry into the US market – the largest aerospace manufacturing market in the world – with the signing of an agreement with GKN Aerospace expected to be worth more than $100 million (the equivalent of around £808,900) of revenue over five years.

To support the expansion into international markets, Velocity Composites also announced the development of its first site outside of the UK, a 40,000 sq ft advanced manufacturing facility near to the GKN site in Alabama.

The new facility will build and supply all the composite material kits for GKN’s aerostructure and has been upgraded to the required clean room standard, where it also includes Velocity’s proprietary digital technology and latest manufacturing systems, covering a diverse range of high-

performance composite structures across military, civil and business jet programmes.

Velocity plans to train and employ up to 30 local staff, supported initially by existing staff from the UK.

The collaboration with GKN – a global leader in the use of composite materials in engineered aerospace structures –uses Velocity’s advanced VRP (Velocity Resource Planning) technology and supply chain services to support GKN’s sustainability and efficiency objectives, assisting the aerospace industry’s push to achieving significant environmental and sustainability improvements in this decade.

Andy Beaden, chairman of Velocity Composites, said: “This is a major milestone for Velocity as we make a permanent entry into the US market and expand our longstanding relationship with GKN. During the pandemic, we worked hard to deepen our relationships with clients and further invest in our technology to prepare for the recovery.

“We believe this agreement will be part of a long-term positive trend from which Velocity will benefit, as customers look to recover from the pandemic and achieve new and improved ways of working, with a key focus on sustainability, as production rates increase to pre-pandemic levels.

“As a company with its roots firmly in the North of England, this agreement is a significant endorsement of both Velocity’s, and the region’s, manufacturing expertise from one of the world’s leading aerospace suppliers. In the future, we look forward to working with more US-based customers.”

The agreement builds on Velocity’s longstanding relationship with GKN Aerospace which started in 2015 and includes existing contracts at three of GKN Aerospace’s UK sites, including Bristol, Luton, and the Isle of Wight. This is the first time that Velocity has worked with GKN outside the UK.


Pies are on the menu at Safran thanks to new partnership

Two long-standing Burnley businesses have forged a working partnership after meeting at a Burnley Bondholders event.

A butcher/baker and aerospace manufacturer may seem an unlikely pairing... until pies are involved!

Haffners have been supplying Safran Nacelles with its awardwinning pies since late February and they are going down a storm with Safran’s workforce. So much so, the pies are now a weekly special on Safran’s canteen menu.

Ted Cockett and his brother Dean took over Haffners in the summer of last year and Ted has since been running the business as managing director.

He said: “I attended a Burnley Bondholders event in February held at Safran for which we were asked to supply the pies.

“I spoke about my experiences at the helm of Haffners so far and immediately afterwards I was approached



capital assets manager, who wanted to make our pies a regular on the Safran canteen menu.

“Obviously, we were keen to make this happen and after a few weeks, all due diligence was complete and agreements put in place.

“I have been delivering the pies recently and while there I took time to see it all unfold. What a fantastic set-up they have. The canteen staff put on an excellent spread. The queue was 20 deep within five minutes and our pies were going fast.

“Safran, like Haffners, is a well-established Burnley business, and generations of its employees have long been eating our pies, so it’s proven to be a great partnership.”

If you would like to have our pies in your workspace, get in touch with

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Burnley Council recognised for its commitment to young employees

Burnley Council has officially been recognised as a ‘youth friendly employer’ as part of a national scheme.

The good youth employer charter is run by Youth Employment UK and encourages organisations to work to the principles of good youth employment and commit to five principles: creating opportunity, recognising talent, encouraging fair employment, developing people, and creating a “youth voice”.

The award of a charter recognises that, as an employer, the council is willing to recruit and develop young people based on their ability, talent and potential, regardless of their background or expertise.

One in ten of the council’s staff are aged 25 years or under.

Vicky White, the council’s strategic HR manager, said: “It’s great news that the council has signed up to the Youth Friendly employer charter. Young people are a valuable resource and have so much to offer to any employer.

“The council is committed to supporting the development of our residents and attracting high quality and motivated young people to our organisation. We offer apprenticeships and trainee positions across the council and, as well as working towards a qualification, young employees are given various opportunities to complete other training from our extensive portfolio of learning activity which enhance the skills that they are already gaining in their day-to-day role.

“We’re also working to create a culture of passing on skills and knowledge in order to support skills development for the future. We offer a trained mentor to all our apprentices to provide additional support.”

Kate Ingram, strategic head of economy and growth, said; “Developing young people and preparing them for their future employment is vital for the prosperity of our borough.

“The council is also committed to working with others to get our local young people into work and develop their skills through, for example, initiatives such as the creation of the Thrive youth hub and Burnley Employment and Skills group, as part of the Burnley Together community hub.”

The council is understood to be only the second organisation in the borough to gain recognition, following the Calico Group which is already signed up.

Vicky added: “We’re hoping that other businesses and organisation will see the benefits of becoming a youth friendly employer and sign up to the scheme so that we can create a wider “youth friendly” borough when it comes to offering our young people the opportunities to develop and grow.”

More details about the national scheme can be found at uk/the-good-youth-employment-charter/


Workshops launched for new businesses GO forit

Making the decision to start a business can be daunting, with so many things to consider and challenges to navigate. However, there is help and support available.

Earlier this year Burnley Council launched the ‘Go For It – skills for business’ sessions covering business essentials, marketing and finance.

The sessions were delivered by three of the Boroughs leading businesspeople. Carole Garrett, owner of Profit Optimiser and director at Cherrytree Bakery, covered the essential

basics of starting a business. Anne Williamson, a marketing expert, shared tips on how to make marketing work for you. Kathryn Gillam, owner of LOVE YOUR ACCOUNTS, provided essential tax and financial knowledge.

Jane Smith from Impact Den attended all three sessions and found the experience gave her the push she needed to start her business:

“I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my own consultancy business for some time now.I’ve found the three workshops really useful, and they’ve given me the

confidence to give it a go. Attending the workshops has also given me the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs, to share ideas and support, and to understand where I can access help going forward.”

Following positive feedback more sessions have been organised for May 2023 with a view to further expanding the offering to run throughout the year.

For more information visit: www.burnley.

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Burnley Council chief executive to retire

After 42 years working in local government and 21 years at Burnley Council, it was announced in January that Mick Cartledge would retire as chief executive of Burnley Council in July 2023.

Mick joined the council in 2001 as director of community services and fulfilled various other roles before being appointed chief executive in 2017.

He also led the council’s response to COVID-19 which he described as the most challenging period of his career.

“This has been a very difficult decision, as I’ve absolutely loved working in Burnley. However, I turned 60 in February and plan to move to London when I’ve retired and spend more time with family and friends.

“I would like to thank all colleagues and members for the hard work and dedication they show day in day out, week in, week out.

“It has been a real honour and privilege to serve as chief executive. Burnley will always

hold a very special place in my heart, and I will continue to take a keen interest in the town and will watch it develop and go on to achieve future successes,” says Mick.

During his time at the council Mick has overseen a number of significant developments including the St Peter’s health and leisure centre, working with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on its expansion in Burnley, and Pioneer Place.

New appointment

Following Mick’s retirement at the end of July, Lukman Patel, who has worked with the local authority since 2015, will take over the role of chief executive.

Lukman is the council’s current chief operating officer and was selected for the top role after a robust recruitment process.

Mick will be working closely with Lukman to ensure a smooth handover and says he is confident he “will be an

excellent chief executive and continue to drive the borough forward”.

Speaking of his appointment Lukman says he wants to continue the excellent work of his predecessor: “I am humbled and honoured to have been selected as chief executive of this brilliant council.

“Our borough has a rich history, brilliant people and enterprising businesses. We have a strong network of businesses, and I am looking forward to working closely with the Burnley Bondholders and other businesses across the borough to continue to strengthen our local economy.

“I am excited to be part of helping to shape its future and shall strive to deliver a fairer and prosperous borough for all. I shall work tirelessly to make Burnley a place that other towns aspire to be and a place that our residents are proud of.”

News 10 News

John Spencer (Textiles), Ian Mankin head into an exciting new chapter after management buyout

Family-owned weaving group the Ashfield Mill Company based in Burnley, have announced the sale of the business and its subsidiaries, John Spencer (Textiles) Ltd and Ian Mankin Ltd. by sixth-generation owners and majority shareholders, David and Megan Collinge.

The two businesses have been acquired through a management buyout by Simon Blackley, a current managing director who has been with the businesses since 2009.

John Spencer (Textiles) Ltd was incorporated in 1971 but has a rich history of weaving in Lancashire that dates back more than 150 years. The company weaves finished products for a number of industries from home furnishings to filtration and components. The Ian Mankin brand was acquired in 2010, when the then owner of the business, and its namesake, retired. Already weaving with John Spencer, and a keen proponent of British manufacture, it made sense for Ian to sell the business to his weaving mill; safe in the knowledge that the team here would deliver continuity for his customers and uphold his values of ‘affordable elegance’.

The sale has been the result of 12 months

of planning and is supported by HSBC Bank, PM+M Accountants, Napthens and Taylors Solicitors (the last three businesses also all Burnley Bondholders, as are John Spencer Textiles). In a positive move for the businesses, this management buyout means that the whole of the workforce has been retained and the business will continue to operate from their existing Burnley and London premises.

Both John Spencer Textiles and Ian Mankin will continue to be led by the existing senior management team and David Collinge will continue in his current role.

David said: “I took over the running of the business from my father when he retired in 1992 and since then, have had wonderful support from a highly skilled and dedicated team without whom our success would not have been possible. The buyout represents the next chapter for some exciting developments and I have no doubt that under Simon’s leadership the businesses will continue to do amazing things.”

Simon explained: “I have inherited a fantastic business, with an impressive 150-year history! As the new owner, I’m committed to

ensuring that the legacy created by David, Megan and their family is not lost to faceless investment. I wanted to be there to ensure continuity of the business, not just for our customers but for our staff and David too.

“This management buyout will build on the success of six generations of weaving, the strong standing of both companies and their enviable position in weaving and fabric retail is testament to the dedication and commitment of David and Megan. With an incredibly talented team and a loyal customer base, I’m looking forward to steering both into the future.

“The reputation of Ian Mankin fabrics has always been around quality and value. Keeping both businesses within the same group means that there are no changes to the supply chain or provenance and our customers can expect that same attention to detail and great service as they always have with a friendly hello at the end of the phoneline.”

The acquisition of the business was completed on October 31, 2022.

Padiham counselling practice gets young men talking

The Hill Counselling Practice has provided free counselling to young men in the Burnley and Pendle area through the Community Interest Company (CIC) arm of the business.

The sessions were made possible after the CIC was awarded an allocation of local community funding from the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council For Voluntary Service.

The funding allowed the practice to provide confidential counselling to men aged 18 to 24 years both from The Hill Counselling Practice premises in Padiham and online. The limited places proved extremely popular, as one of the Hill’s directors Zoe McPherson explains:

“When we posted about the free counselling sessions, the places were snapped up really quickly, which just shows that there is a real need for this kind of support. We applied for

funding for this demographic as the suicide rate for young men in this age group is quite high and they often don’t reach out and seek help.

“By offering free sessions, with the option of online if preferred, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for young men to get help and deal with any issues that were holding them back.”

More than 40 sessions were delivered by members of the practice’s counselling team over six weeks.

The practice developed the CIC in March 2022, to deliver free professional counselling and psychotherapy services to people across Burnley and Pendle for whom cost might be a barrier to access. Projects to date have included the support for young men and bereavement counselling, with a pilot mental health training session for beauty and hair salons planned later in the year.








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Specialist aerospace supplier rebrands to reflect evolution of business

As of January 2023 Hycrome Aerospace has rebranded as HycAero to reflect the future direction and capability of the business.

Managing director Andrew Bailey, who started out at an apprentice with Hycrome over 40 years ago, explained the reasons behind the move: “For many years Hycrome has been recognised as a key supplier of protective coatings, precision machining and other special processes to the aerospace and oil and gas industries under the Hycrome Europe and Hycrome Aerospace banners.

“As the name ‘Hycrome’ suggests, our company has a long legacy of specialising in chrome plating and chromic acid anodising, two processes which we will discontinue by the end of 2023 in favour of more environmentally friendly protective coatings.

“We recognise that, for some time now, the company name hasn’t truly represented the scope or direction of our organisation, particularly within the aerospace sector, which is why we decided that, Hycrome Aerospace would evolve to become HycAero.”

As part of the Score Group, the business will continue to thrive and maintain its place as one of Europe’s leading suppliers of special processes and precision machining to the aerospace industry.

Since the early 2000s the strategy has been to stay in front of environmental demands and to move away from the use of chemicals containing chrome in the company’s hard coating, anodising and painting processes. In support of this strategy, the business has invested heavily in alternative coating methods. These include HVOF, Plasma and Wire Arc thermal coatings along with Tartaric Sulphuric Anodising (TSA) and thin film Sulphuric Anodising (SAA), all applied by robotic and automated systems.

Each of Hycrome’s processes have achieved NADCAP, AS9100 accreditations and multiple customer approvals including Airbus, Rolls Royce, Safran and GE Aviation.

Crow Wood newly refurbished gym now open

Crow Wood, a leading spa and gym facility nestled in the heart of Burnley, has completed stage one of its refurbishment plans with newly renovated gym, zen yoga room and group cycle studio.

The purpose-built zen studio has calming lighting and neutral tones whilst the cycle studio provides a contrasting environment with feature lighting and high-tech bikes. The studios are all fitted with sprung floors to add to the comfort of gym goers.

The gym has increased the breadth and scope of its pilates and yoga class offering to make the most out of the zen studio. It has also introduced Mossa group

active classes and re-introduced a running club to take advantage of the gym’s beautiful surroundings.

Andrew added: “The key to our success to date has been the ability to evolve, adapt and diversify to meet the requirements of an industry that is at the forefront of technological innovation.

“Our move to HycAero marks an exciting new era for the business and further demonstrates our long-term commitment to the aerospace sector.”

For further information visit

“As a company, we pride ourselves on maintaining and improving the facilities across the resort to ensure they are the best in class. Having just completed a £2 million project within our health and leisure club, we are now continuing with our development works which will include a new entrance to the spa,” says managing director Andrew Brown.

Since reopening the gym has welcomed 431 new members, whilst maintaining a robust member retention programme.

13 News
Picture shows: (left to right) Stephen Kelly, operations director, Ayub Bahadur, financial director, Andrew Bailey, managing director and Kieran Rigby, general manager.

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TCB Designs: Scaling

up ambitions and


: xxxxxx
©James Gibb
Feature : TCB Designs


company through

and through, founder Chris Forrest is proud to be based in his hometown:

“I absolutely love Burnley; we’ve got the best businesses, great bars and restaurants, and brilliant views. There’s also a great business community. When I started TCB, we quickly built relationships with the local businesses around us. They put their trust in us and as their businesses grew, they continued to work with us,” says Chris.

An entrepreneur from a young age

From designing and selling keyrings in a local restaurant as a child to now running his own signage company at just 29 years old, Chris has always enjoyed being creative. He started his career running Blu Bar in Burnley town centre, using his creative skills to design promotional posters for the bar’s events. It felt like a natural progression that when Chris heard that the owner of a local signage company was moving abroad, he bought into the business. This change in career served as a steep learning curve, as Chris explains:

“While I had lots of transferable skills from running the bar, moving into the signage industry was a massive change. I managed to gain some great clients, like BMW and EFS Global, but there were lots of hurdles too. I definitely learnt lessons the hard way, but the experience helped me to grow.”

a stroll down St
Burnley and you’ll find several shop signs designed and manufactured by local company TCB Designs.

Feature : TCB Designs

Going it alone

With some experience under his belt and investment from his dad, five years ago Chris took the plunge and decided to set up on his own, and TCB Designs was born. The company, which at the time consisted of just Chris and girlfriend Mhairi, initially focussed on printing clothing for university societies and creating shop signage for small local businesses.

“We spent hours emailing university societies every month to see if we could help with the group uniforms and from a £600 cutter, we would work through the day into the night cutting and weeding clothing vinyl. There were many times when I would sleep over in the shop just to keep the machine running to complete deadlines. To make it worse, our first shop on Brown Street didn’t have a toilet - the staff at Marks and Spencer’s were convinced we worked there, as we were in there so often using the facilities!” says Chris.

So, how did the company grow to what it is today?

Since the company’s launch in 2018, the team has grown to eleven, with the most recent recruit focusing solely on writing tenders and bid applications, with the aim of gaining larger contracts across the country.

As the business has grown, the team has found that they have needed to expand their skillsets as well. In addition to designing and manufacturing signage, they also wrap vehicles, install neon signs and knock down walls and plaster to hide wires.

“This is a fast-paced industry, and you have to be able to keep up with the latest techniques and trends. The projects we work on are so varied, and no two days are the same,” explains Chris.

Growing client base

Over the last five years, TCB has generated an impressive client base including Barnfield Construction, Burnley Football Club, Calico and Burnley Leisure and Culture Group. We love it when Burnley Bondholders come together in this way!

One of the team’s most challenging and rewarding projects to date has been the two e-sports rooms at Burnley College. Chris tells us why this has been such an important addition to their portfolio:

“This was a really interesting project to work on, the college is very forwardthinking and gave us a lot of freedom to design the full concepts for the rooms.”

On the first room design, the team worked with Walker Audio Design to create a bespoke lighting design so that the room can be fully controlled and go into various game modes. They also made bespoke hornet neon signs and installed gobo projection signs that rotate on the floor.

For the second concept, they fitted a textured feature wallpaper that looks like the concrete of a stadium. They also designed and manufactured low-hanging suspended ceiling lights, as well as 3D text that subtly pops out the walls with warm white LEDs. This was finished off with two huge pillars displaying the e-sports branding and the Burnley Football Club logo.

“The project involved so much more than just signage and required us to have shop fitting and interior design skills. It’s opened our eyes to expanding our portfolio outside of just signs, and we are hoping to now work on more office fit-outs and feature walls,” adds Chris.

©James Gibb

The future

Scaling the business further is very much at the forefront of Chris’s thoughts: “We love that we work with so many local businesses, but we feel ready to scale up and expand our services nationwide. We’ve already worked on signage for five JD gyms around the country and are hoping this will extend further afield.”

“Over the past year, we have invested £60,000 into a CNC machine, which was part-funded by Lancashire County Council with a grant from the Growth and Innovation fund. The machine allows us to be endless with our creativity and we can fabricate and design almost any product that we can think up. We’ve also invested in a new £37,000 flatbed printer, that prints straight onto the sign boards, creating minimal waste and allowing us to be so much faster and more efficient with our process,” he explains.

With a growing team and a desire to keep up with the latest techniques and trends we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for TCB – watch this space!

©James Gibb

Burnley business stalwart undergoes rebrand and huge apprenticeship drive

Back in 2018, Pipeline Induction Heat (PIH) – now rebranded to CRC Evans (more about that later), adorned the front cover of Issue 15 of this very magazine, after being given a longstanding contribution to Burnley award by Burnley Council. The award marked 30 years in the borough after the company moved from the south of the country to Burnley following incentives the council were providing to encourage investment – and it hasn’t looked back since.

Before we get into why the company has rebranded, we first wanted to learn more about what is still described as “a hidden gem”.

The company will soon mark 35 years in the town and Paul McShane, CRC Evans’ managing director of the company’s Burnley facility, credits its continuing success to a solid reputation for customer service and innovation, which the business has worked hard to maintain over the years.

Paul explains: “The company was formed to serve a gap in the market

for the field-joint coating of oil and gas pipelines, and for many years we had little competition. Despite our reputation within the industry, we were less known in the Burnley area, finding that many potential employees hadn’t heard of us – a challenge when recruiting! When people think of the oil and gas industry in the UK Burnley just isn’t on the radar.”

Supporting young local talent

As a result, many employees are local to Burnley with word of mouth and recommendations enabling the company to recruit and retain its staff. More recently, the company has built strong relationships with partners such as Burnley College and Themis, encouraging the next generation into the business by way of apprenticeships.

At the latest count, CRC Evans had a nine-strong team of apprentices working within various areas of the company - and thriving in their roles.

In February, one of its mechanical engineering apprentices, Aaleigh Beardsworth, won the prestigious Themis Platinum Award for 2023, testament to both Aaleigh’s hard work and CRC’s steadfast support of its apprentice team. In 2019, the company was awarded for its impressive apprenticeship scheme –winning the coveted Apprenticeship Scheme of the Year Award at the Burnley Business Awards, something that the team is incredibly proud of.

Paul continues: “Our apprentice team play an important part in the company and we’re passionate about giving young people the opportunity to build a valuable career with some incredible prospects, along with the chance to travel. We have projects all over the world; in fact, Antarctica is the only continent our team hasn’t been to in the last two years. Our apprentices embrace these opportunities, plus the continuous development that is available to them when choosing a career with us.”

Feature : Pipeline Induction Heat rebrands 20
New name, same values. Pipeline Induction Heat has been a solid Burnley employer since it moved to the borough in 1988. In this feature, we hear how the business is still going strong because of its people.
Paul McShane

New beginning

So, the future is looking bright with a new wave of talent coming through, which leads to the next big milestone for PIH – its new name. The CRC Evans group has several well-known businesses within it, all of which can cater from start to finish on a project, such as the welding, coating and inspection of pipelines, as well as associated technologies. It has built its reputation over an impressive 90 years.

“We are very excited about expanding our market-leading coating services and technologies under the CRC Evans brand, with the trust and resources to

support our existing customers and the ambition to grow in new sectors. CRC Evans’ strong culture of innovation and renewed focus on research and development will support the development of new technologies to support greater automation and efficiency,” Paul details.

“Given the importance of providing secure and affordable energy, CRC Evans will focus on emerging energies such as offshore and floating wind, carbon capture usage and storage and hydrogen, as well as the wider infrastructure and nuclear sectors.

“As with many businesses, we need to be

flexible when dealing with market challenges, but with an 86 per cent retention rate over a ten-year period, the Burnley business remains strong due to the commitment of its people.”

Attracting and developing the next generation of employees is clearly part of that strategy and Burnley’s growing status as a university hub and its strong commitment to apprentices will clearly support this. And while it’s always great to have hidden gems, this is one Burnley company that we believe won’t be a best-kept secret for too much longer as it attracts young talent and pivots towards a more renewable energy future.

Apprentices play an important role within CRC Evans. The company currently has nine apprentices working within the workshop and engineering departments. CRC Evans apprentice, Aaleigh Beardsworth with her Themis Platinum Award The CRC Evans facility in Burnley houses a dedicated PQT facility
CRC Evans coating team works on a number of interesting projectslocated both on and offshore

A Burnley carpet, five continents and a determined family business: the story of Equestrian Surfaces

Equestrian Surfaces makes, as you might expect, all-weather equestrian surfaces from their premises on Phoenix Way in Burnley

But what you might not be aware of is how these high-quality surfaces are made. While 95 per cent of the finished product is made from sand, the remainder is made from a special additive that is manufactured on site…and recycled carpets.

Indeed, we were greeted by piles of carpets taken from recycling centres when Luke Wilkinson, Equestrian Surfaces’ finance manager, showed us around.

“The carpets are processed and they turn into a fine texture and this goes into our surfaces. Our method saves around 6-7,000 tonnes of carpet going to waste every year and we’ve won green awards for this,” Luke explained.

In fact, one carpet thrown away in

Burnley could find itself on any of five continents across the world, with the family business shipping their finished products globally. Contracts include the Liverpool International Horse Show, the Sunshine Coast Turf Club in Australia and the Hollywood Park Racetrack in the USA, to name but a few.

One recent client win was the World Clydesdale Show 2022, which was held for the first time ever in the UK, all the way up in Aberdeen. They were tasked with supplying over 1,000 tonnes of their signature Cushion Track™ surface to the P&J Live Arena whilst constructing and installing two arenas. The main arena was an impressive 76m x 43m in size, whilst the second was a smaller collecting ring, 18m x 25m in size – both complete with

perimeter fencing and approximate 1,700sqm of rubber walkways.

“We were given full confirmation that we had received the contract six weeks before the show! Of course, we’d already been doing preparations in the background so we weren’t on the backfoot. Once we arrived in Aberdeen, we had 40 hours to install everything (this usually takes up to seven days!) and then were given 24 hours to remove it all once the show ended. We managed it within 23 hours when it normally takes three days. This just shows how hard everyone worked,” operations coordinator Holly Lund told us.

The Equestrian Surfaces team also had to make sure they didn’t damage the arena’s polished concrete floor and

Feature : xxxxxx Feature : Equestrian Surfaces 22

had to protect the electrical ducting from the irrigation process. The heavy traffic of the competing Clydesdale horses, as well as spectators, meant the team regularly maintained the surfaces throughout the day, as well as graded equestrian equipment, which they also manufacture.

A family business with full-team effort

It’s clear the team are proud of pulling off such a huge project within tight timescales and you get a sense of the pride the staff have at Equestrian Surfaces.

The business was started in 1986 by Paul and Rita Harper, who have a farming background. They originally ran it from their home in Pendle, before moving into a facility in Padiham, before buying their current home on Phoenix Way in 2007. Today, the business employs 20 staff. Sadly, Paul passed away in 2015 and Rita is recently retired, with their sons James (managing director) and Thomas (sales director) heading up the company. Luke is their cousin, whilst Janet (Rita’s sister) still works in sales and has done since day one. Thomas and James’s aunty, Carol, works as an admin executive, whilst her husband and Thomas and James’s uncle, Frank, works on production.

Frank’s son Ryan works in fabrication.

“It can be a bit stressful working with family, you’re often expected to do more than you normally would do, but of course you’re happy to go that extra mile for family. Rita has so much passion for the business, and we all want to do her proud,” Luke said.

They’re also passionate about keeping the team as local as possible. All employees are from the area, and they take on Burnley College apprentices. Luke himself was a Themis finance apprentice, the operations manager is also currently studying for a Chartered Manager degree apprenticeship, whilst Holly is on a project management course at the college.

“We love working in our hometown – there are some incredible Burnley businesses and we’re delighted to announce that we have joined the Burnley Bondholders so we can connect with others and find out more about what’s happening here and how we can partner with and support others,” Luke added.

So, next time you throw out a carpet, it could very well end up in a Burnleymade high-end equestrian surface that’s installed somewhere across the world.


Feature : Innovative programme launched


An innovative new programme has been co-launched by Burnley Bondholders and the University of Central Lancashire to support the careers of the most promising young leaders in Burnley.

The Burnley Bondholder initiative has been making waves since 2009 and is often described as the public-private partnership to which to aspire. Indeed, its 200 plus businesses regularly come together to share experiences and ideas, partner together for contracts and projects and join forces to lobby for and champion Burnley on a local, regional, and national stage.

The place brand is proud how Burnley Council and the borough’s businesses have come together to lead the way and our bondholder membership grows every month. However, we cannot rest on our laurels, and it’s essential that this passion and vision is shared by the next generation of leaders.

This is where the Future Leader programme comes in. Dharma Kovvuri, Dean of The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Burnley campus, realised that to pass the baton to Burnley’s younger employees, something structured was required to kick-start this vision. Dharma reached out to the Burnley Focus Group, a smaller group of bondholders who help shape the Burnley place brand strategy, and they were all on board

with his idea. The Future Leaders programme builds on the breakout sessions that have taken place throughout 2022 for people aged under 30 who work at a bondholder.

The Future Leaders programme, which is fully funded by Burnley Bondholders, commenced in April. Burnley Council went out to tender for the programme deliverer and Goal Centred Development Ltd was selected as the preferred supplier.

Director and coach, Gina Cole, will lead the programme and deliver 12 months of personal and professional development to the 11 participants who were selected to join the inaugural intake of the Future Leaders programme.

Throughout the 12 months, the participants will benefit from individual coaching and tailored workshops on topics including communication, leadership, resilience and how to develop teams and their performance. Guest speakers will be brought in, utilising the bondholder network, and participants will enjoy a House of Lord’s visit and end-ofprogramme celebration, as well as the regular opportunity to present back to bondholders at events.

Dharma said: “We believe the Future Leaders programme, in collaboration with UCLan and the Burnley Bondholders, is the first of its kind. It is fully funded by the bondholders and will truly be a game-changer – not just for those

on the programme, but also for the businesses involved. The participants were supported by their line managers when applying and the skills they learn can be used within their businesses, for the benefit of their businesses.

“UCLan is proud to provide the Burnley campus at Victoria Mill as the innovative space for learning. We know the Future Leaders programme will connect our talented young people and develop and retain their talent within the borough, equipping them with the passion, skills, and contacts to become our next generation of leaders.

“Our Burnley campus already has a growing number of undergraduate, postgraduate and degree apprenticeship courses in Business, Management, Accounting, Computing and Digital Marketing, so it will be great to welcome this cohort of inspiring young leaders into our student community as we continue to support in the up-skilling of talent in East Lancashire.”

Participants come from a wide range of Burnley Bondholders: Akorn Legal, Batch Distillery, Burnley Leisure, Cube HR, Fagan & Whalley, Handelsbanken, PM+M, Root fifty-two. Safran Nacelles (x2) and Viva PR.

We wish the Future Leaders all the best and we look forward to hearing their progress in the next edition of InBusiness Burnley.


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VEKA plc has been leading the global development of PVCU window systems for over 50 years, and now the business has shown its commitment to the future of the industry by backing a national scheme.

The company is taking part in the Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration, Glass and Glazing a Career of Choice programme.

The leading manufacturer is taking part in two of the campaign’s programmes, Building Our Skills - Inspiring the Future campaign and the new ‘Inspiration Days’ programme, to help it attract new recruits into the industry.

The Inspiring the Future campaign asks employers to go into schools and talk to young learners about the possibilities for their future careers and what they could achieve. It is intended to make both students and teachers more aware of the broad range of career paths on offer in the fenestration industry. VEKA plc managing director, and chair of Burnley Bondholders Neil Evans, is setting a great example by taking part in the school visits.

The Inspiration Days initiative is designed to open up industry factories and facilities for school visits. The programme has been devised to help young people to see first-hand what goes on inside businesses. It gives them the opportunity to talk to employees and see what job roles are on offer. The process can inspire them at a time when they are working out which career path to choose.

Commenting on the company’s pledge to support Building Our Skills, Neil, said:

“Attracting new recruits is absolutely the right thing to do in order to help address the industry’s skills shortage, and reaching young learners of school age is a key part of achieving this. Here at VEKA we share Building Our Skills’ aims of showing young people what working in the industry is all about and demonstrating the wealth of roles

VEKA plc – inspiring young people and instilling resilience

on offer. I’m firmly behind staff members going into schools to talk to pupils as a great way of inspiring them and hopefully getting them to choose the fenestration industry when they’re ready to make their career choice. That’s why I’m doing my bit. In addition, we’re looking forward to demonstrating the opportunities that the industry affords by hosting school visits.

“I would encourage other companies to get involved in Building Our Skills’ Inspiration Days and Inspiring the Future programmes. Throw open your doors to young learners and encourage your staff to visit schools. Let’s all get behind Building Our Skills’ admirable work in order toto help future-proof our industry.”

Mark Handley, building our skills’ partnerships manager added:

“We’re so grateful to VEKA for its support. The company is a prestigious leader in its field, and I’m confident that its partnership with us will inspire other fenestration industry employers to follow suit.

“I believe that the sky’s the limit in this industry for anyone with a decent work ethic and willingness to learn through the right training. We’ve heard so much over the past few years from people in the industry about the skills shortages. It’s sad and it’s frustrating, because there’s such a huge variety of roles available, and a big part of the problem is that so many would-be employees just don’t know about them. For the vast majority of youngsters they’re unaware of what’s on offer. So many people think that this industry is only about selling windows! The reality is there are over 50 career paths available, and VEKA’s involvement will help to communicate this fact to young people.”


VEKA’s commitment isn’t reserved for encouraging new recruits, it also provides a supportive workplace for its existing staff. The company has recently partnered with fellow bondholder Six Connections to provide wellbeing support sessions for its apprentices.

The partnership was born following an introduction at a local networking event. The Six Connections ethos of bringing difficult conversations into everyday life felt like the perfect match with VEKA.

The sessions covered how to develop life skills including resilience, mental health and wellbeing, self-awareness, empathy and managing emotions.

So, why provide support for apprentices? “We have a duty of care to all our employees. We are here to set our apprentices up for success, not just in the working world but to support them into being their best self,” explained Neil.

Last year the business took on 14 new apprentices adding to the four already in post from the previous year’s intake. The apprenticeships, which are split between manufacturing and engineering aim to develop the next generation of Burnley’s fenestration industry experts.

These are just two examples of how this local business is helping to encourage recruitment and development of young people in the industry. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the young people and apprentices that it is inspiring.

27 Feature : VEKA plc
Feature : Apprenticeships 28 Burnley’s double apprentice success story... Meet Elly Littler

Burnley is proud to lead the way when it comes to apprenticeships – our businesses truly believe this career path is one to be supported and celebrated. We have many standout apprentices and are spoilt for choice when it comes to shining a spotlight on those making waves in their sector. However, this individual has been an apprentice at not one, but two Burnley companies whilst completing the courses at both of Burnley’s educational giants, Burnley College, and The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Burnley.

Elly Littler is 23 years old and currently works for AMS Neve, an audio manufacturing and engineering company which supplies sound consoles to film and music studios across the world. Some of their customers include Abbey Road, Warner Brothers, and Disney – all mammoth names in their industries.

The current course that Elly is on is a Digital Marketing Degree Apprenticeship with UCLan Burnley. However, this hasn’t always been the case.:

“I actually started at +24 Marketing as a social media apprentice, then worked my way up to account executive, gaining more and more responsibility whilst I was there,” explains Elly.

“I loved +24 Marketing and it taught me loads, but I’ve always had a keen interest in music, both live and the production side of it. When I came across AMS Neve and saw they were recruiting apprentices, it was the obvious next

Free training and support for apprentices and their mentors

Throughout our borough we have many companies that are committed to employing apprentices. Hiring an apprentice has many benefits, not only are you giving someone the opportunity to develop their skills but bringing in new talent also gives you a fresh perspective on your business.

step for my personal development and my career”, she adds.

Elly is from Darwen and commutes daily, so why has she gone for two apprenticeships in Burnley?

“I was looking at colleges and Burnley College had the best offering for what I wanted to do. It was a two-hour bus journey every day, but it’s what I wanted, so it was worth travelling to. It was a Themis event at Burnley College where I met +24 Marketing, so the opportunity came from there. Then, UCLan Burnley also had a great offering and the job offer from AMS Neve was a no-brainer; I had no reason to go anywhere else.”

In April 2023, AMS Neve attended the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, a huge audio professional trade show in Los Angeles, California. Elly organised the logistics, what they had on the booth, and all the marketing leading up to it. She was also fortunate enough to attend, which involved talking to high-end customers and the press over the events three days.

It’s safe to say that Elly is a great example of apprenticeships in Burnley. With her trip to LA representing a global giant in music and film production, she is certainly living the Burnley apprenticeship dream!

One way to maximise the benefits of apprenticeships for both the apprentice and employer is the Lancashire Engaging Apprentices Project (LEAP). The scheme is run by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) but delivered by many partners in the area including Burnley College and UCLan itself. Funded by the European Social Fund, LEAP provides support for small to medium businesses. This is done through additional free training opportunities, coaching and mentoring.

The project supports both apprentices and work-based mentors, however it’s not a requirement for both to sign up to the project. Individuals of either role can attend the development and training most relevant to them based on what they want to achieve. It’s also worth noting that businesses don’t have to have a current apprentice, if you are interested in taking one on, you can still enquire about what support is available.

Helping apprentices thrive

The UCLan LEAP delivery team want to ensure that Lancashire apprentices, along with their workplace mentors, gain all the skills they need to make their workplace thrive. By providing 1:1 support and guidance as well as personal and professional training opportunities the team hope to inspire and promote business growth as well as help individual career progression.

Supporting mentors

Through LEAP you can access development opportunities in areas such as understanding the apprentice mentor role, identifying skills gaps in work-related knowledge, skills and behaviours. The coaching and mentoring courses provide  a great opportunity for anyone wanting to move into a more supervisory or management role in the future.

Funding will end on the 23rd December 2023. To find out more about LEAP call 01772 895970.


Burnley businesses prove they’re better together

After a roller coaster of a ride since 2020, Burnley businesses have shown incredible resilience and a real determination to keep focussed and carry on. So, whether that meant working from home in the kitchen, bedroom, under the stairs in the Harry Potter cupboard, the local café or back in the office, we’ve made it work.

As we look to the future with renewed optimism, we are mindful of the need to achieve some kind of ‘work-life balance’, but this has become a little more challenging as the lines between our home and workplaces have become blurred.

Issues like rising energy costs and feelings of isolation have also led many people to reconsider their working environment, leading to an increase in the popularity of co-working spaces.


I have to confess that when I was asked to help set up a co-working space in Padiham Town Hall, I had to find out what co-working actually meant. It wasn’t as easy to find a neat definition of co-working as I thought, but that’s just because there are a wide variety of different spaces that do co-working their own way. Generally, a co-working space is a membership-based, shared working environment, which usually includes some fixed workstations or desks and other office facilities such as printing.

So why are these collaborative spaces increasing in popularity? I decided to find out why people at Padiham’s Room & Power and The Landmark, Burnley have decided that co-working is the answer.

Feature : Co-working spaces 30
Leane Kelly, business support officer, looks at why many of us are reassessing our work environments and moving away from home working...


Deborah Isis, owner and director of Awakening Horizons, an intuition-led training and development company, is part of the co-working community at Room & Power in Padiham. Deborah, along with project manager, Brian Robert, felt that working continuously from home meant that there was no cut-off point between home and work.

Deborah said: “Since joining a co-working space it has opened up so many opportunities for networking with other organisations such as The University of Central Lancashire and those companies within Burnley Bondholders.”

Deborah and Brian are clearly enthusiastic about being part of and contributing to the local community and are excited to have discovered new places to eat and drink in the local area. The flexibility of being able to come and go as they please combined with the structure that draws the line between home and work is really important to them. Both agreed that the low cost is also a key factor, as well as the warm and relaxed environment but it’s obvious that co-working is much more than just a workspace for them.

This sentiment is shared with co-worker Alex Mayer of Alex Mayer Fundraising. As a freelance fundraising consultant, Alex helps charities to maximise the funds they raise, particularly in the cultural and education sectors. She has found that a co-working space provides a community after the isolation of the pandemic and really enjoys the picturesque commute to Padiham.

Alex describes the co-working space as “an absolute sanctuary” compared to the home office/bedroom which, as a busy mum, hardly provides a conducive environment for work.

She echos Deborah and Brian’s feelings that it provides a separation between home and work life and gives her the headspace she needs to focus.


James Lees, from Intention IT Ltd, provides business intelligence consultancy and development for clients across the UK. He has used the co-working space at The Landmark for the last 15 months.

“Since Covid, 80 per cent of my work is remote. I don’t have an ideal environment for home working. Besides the professional focus and motivation of having a dedicated workspace, co-working also really helps to provide some demarcation between home and work life.

“Having a full-size desk in a professional working environment also gives my clients a better impression, even just in online meetings, as they can see I am in an office rather than at home. I have recently started to train a junior assistant alongside me, which being in the co-working space has made possible.”

And as with the other co-workers, it’s not just the work aspect that James has found beneficial: “I have gained some knowledge and ideas from comparing notes with my co-workers, but it’s also nice just to have the normal ‘office’ vibe of someone to say “good morning” to over a cup of coffee,” he adds.


Anthony Leathert of Konsileo Insurance is an experienced coworker, and moved into the co-working hub at Room & Power recently. Anthony explains that for him it’s as simple as putting a barrier between work and life.

He explains: “It’s having that happy medium of not being on your own in an office and also being in an open workspace with others”. Having tried and tested having his own office, Anthony found that there just wasn’t the same atmosphere as when you’re sharing a space with others. Like many of us, Anthony found that working from home during the pandemic was great at first, however after a while, he didn’t feel productive and the isolation from others was having an effect. Co-working has provided the social side to work that so many have been missing and a more energising environment than the home office.


They say that variety is the spice of life and I am struck by the diversity that co-working brings to the workplace. The co-working spaces at Room and Power and The Landmark house a wide range of businesses including mortgage services, insurance brokers, sign language specialists, professional trainers and web designers, to name a few. This has created a thriving community of professionals from all walks of life right here in our borough. And the knock-on effect on local cafes and coffee shops is encouraging, with many nipping out to take a break in newly discovered local eateries.

So it seems that, yes, if we need to work from home, then we can and we will. But deep down we all want to be part of a community. Slowly but surely, we have been drawn back into the offline world with colleagues we can chat to, collaborate with and do life with, in person, not just virtually.


Growth to soar at top tech business following major investment

Award-winning digital technology firm +24 is putting Burnley on the map for both marketing and software.

After becoming the marketing partner last year for one of Britain’s oldest sporting goods firms, Burnley headquartered Surridge Sport, they have now also managed to secure a six-figure investment grant by the government-backed Innovate UK SMART fund.

+24 has more than made a name for itself in the world of marketing but what many don’t realise is they’ve also developed bespoke software solutions for global brands for the last ten years.

An example of this is the solution they developed for Screwfix around ten years ago where they’ve continued to work with them on internal software requirements ever since.

“We haven’t shouted about our bespoke software solutions as much as the marketing but that’s something we’re trying to change as we believe there is going to be a real need for this service in the coming years,” says Sam Keenan, head of marketing.

“Businesses will have to be more agile than ever and our bespoke software can help them solve problems that offthe-shelf software isn’t able to do.”

And it’s only getting better for this as digital technology firm they are now one of only ten tech companies in the country to be supported by the research and development based Innovate SMART funding grant within their innovation area.

The £270,000 grant, awarded following a rigorous submission process, will be boosted by a further investment by +24, totalling close to £500,000, as the company embarks on an ambitious expansion plan.

The Innovate UK SMART grant comes from a government backed fund inviting organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing and commercially viable research and development innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.

+24 founder and managing director Dave Walker explains: “The grant is hugely important for +24.

“It was a robust application process and we are delighted to be one of only a handful of tech businesses in the UK to have been awarded the funding.

“There were over 120 companies who applied with only 6.7 per cent being awarded the research and development funding.

“This grant and our own additional investment, allows us to accelerate the development of our hardware capabilities.”

Part of the criteria of the grant is that it must be something that doesn’t exist yet. +24 develop brand new technology - there’s no equivalent solution currently available on the market. Their application was chosen for its uniqueness, the likelihood of success, and potential impact on the UK economy.

“We’ve been developing bespoke software solutions for businesses for years and have recently developed IoT solutions for manufacturers wanting to make their products smart and integrate into the cloud.”

IoT (Internet of Things) solutions refers to technologies, platforms, and systems that enable the connection and communication between various devices, sensors, and other objects over the internet.

IoT solutions typically involve collecting data from these devices and sensors, analysing and processing the data, and using it to automate processes, monitor performance, and make informed decisions.

“This technology focuses on utilisation of data in key focus areas such as carbon reduction/environmental impacts, space optimisation, staff health & wellbeing and safety.”

The Innovate UK SMART grant signals a strong move by +24 to utilise their technological capabilities to enter into new commercial avenues, stimulating significant growth for the business.

Dave says: “It positions +24 as a true digital and technological innovator and signals our ambition to be leading the industry.

“We are now offering the service to invent and develop hardware technology which can communicate with our software in the cloud to further enhance our service offering to a vast range of businesses.

“For example, we already have a ground-breaking product which we have developed from the ground up for one of our longstanding clients in the lighting sector.”

The investment has already resulted in job creation with three new positions and more to follow.

Dave adds: “We are actively seeking more staff, full stack and front end developers, embedded software engineers, and graduates to join our team.

“The importance of the grant from Innovate UK cannot be underestimated.

“It means we are now able to scale up significantly to develop leading edge IT technology for manufacturers both nationally and internationally.

“Ultimately, this will help support growth across all our brands, including +24 Software, +24 Academy, our digital apprenticeship training business, as well as our core business.”

Feature : +24 tech investment 32
+24 Dave Walker, founder and MD of +24, third right, with far left, Rik Holden head of creative, Hannah Emmett financial controller and head of marketing Sam Keenan

The surprising story of Thorne Fire and Security

The story of Thorne Fire and Security is a great example of this as Hadrian Thorne, the managing director explains: “I founded the businesses back in 2006 after bumping into the managing director of Crow Wood Leisure Andrew Brown. My wife Alison was working at Crow Wood at the time and brought me along to the staff Christmas party.”

After chatting to Andrew at the bar, Hadrian - who was then a fire and security engineer - admitted he didn’t know where his career was heading.

“Andrew just looked at me and said, ‘Well why don’t you just start your own business then?’. And I replied, ‘How do set up a business?’. The next day we met for breakfast, and I came away with a business plan and a business loan and the rest is history. It’s because of Andrew that Thorne is the success it is today,” Hadrian says.

It’s clear the impact this encounter has, as Hadrian tells us that Thorne Fire and Security was born on 6th February 2006 – the exact date cemented in his mind.

That’s not to underestimate the hard work of Hadrian and his team, including Tom Bradley, business development manager, who has worked at the company for four years now.

“I have a new-born daughter and the team have been amazing at

ensuring I’ve come back from paternity leave without a huge to-do list. The company treats staff well and our staff growth is all organic and through word of mouth. Similarly, we don’t need to do outbound sales, happy clients mean we are often recommended through referrals,” Tom explains.


Whilst the business had a rocky start with the credit crunch happening just two years into its journey, it has grown every year since then. Speaking of this time Hadrian says:

“When times have been challenging we try and focus on the simple things that we can control, communication being the most important. Speaking to our team and my network of trusted business leaders has always enabled us to ignore the white noise and focus on the really simple, important things that can be the difference in survival or failure.”

Hadrian’s goal is to increase profit by 20 per cent in 2023 and hit the £1 million turnover mark.

“Most of our clients are local –our motto is we work from our office door outwards,” Tom states. The business is currently on Lomeshaye Industrial Estate, although Hadrian always keeps an eye out for Burnley premises as they’re clear the business is Burnley through and through.

“We joined the Burnley Bondholders

in 2012 because why wouldn’t you?

It’s important to champion and mentor other businesses within the borough, obviously I’m passionate about that. I’m really proud of our Burnley roots and I actually don’t want to grow too large. We’re small enough to care but also big enough to deliver,” Hadrian explains.

Indeed, Burnley FC, VEKA, Crow Wood, and Stonyhurst College are just a handful of the local clients that Thorne provides security and fire systems for. Previously it was known as Thorne Access and Security but has rebranded to Thorne Fire and Security to make clear it can offer the complete package to clients.

It has recently achieved accreditations such as NSI – Fire Silver, BAFE – SP203-1, and FIA – Membership.

It’s a fantastic story – but could they ever see themselves based outside of Burnley and the local area at all?

“Absolutely not,” both Tom and Hadrian answer together.

Tom continues: “I used to play for Burnley FC youth team and attended the centre of excellence from the age of seven, eventually playing in the reserve team aged 16-18. When I was younger, my mum announced one day she was considering moving us to Clayton and I told her absolutely not. When she asked me how far I’d consider moving to, I told her Padiham!”

And we’re delighted to hear it!

Feature : Thorne Fire and Security
One of the reasons that Burnley is such a resilient borough is the support that the business community gives each other.


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We’re ensuring our Apprenticeships stay years ahead of the rest, as we introduce our Sustainability Framework. Every new Apprentice will now complete a module specifically designed around sustainability –and deliver a bespoke project for their employers.


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Paving the way for women in engineering: Annette Weekes, GM of Pursuit Aerospace

It’s certainly been an interesting start as general manager at Pursuit Aerospace for Annette Weekes. It was in the run up to joining the former Paradigm Precision in December 2022 when she was told the news that it would be combining forces with the US based Whitcraft Group to form a new merged group called Pursuit Aerospace.

“It’s exciting though; the Pursuit ethos is driven by Kaizen - continuous improvement to drive innovation - and I’m looking forward to seeing how that drives our site. We have plenty of great aerospace projects, as well as a strong order book and big investments in equipment like the new digital robotic x-ray equipment we’re currently installing. Over the coming months, I want to embed this technology and

successfully implement new product streams - and of course, support the continued transition from Paradigm to Pursuit,” Annette tells us as we meet in her office at the 125,000 sq ft Burnley site on Bentley Wood Way.

Having such a huge change to navigate so soon in her new role doesn’t seem to faze Annette, but when you take into her account her impressive experience, it’s easy to see why. She’s also a director at the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), as well as the chair of the LEP manufacturing sector working group. On top of that, she’s a director at the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, a non-executive director at the North West Aerospace Alliance and a governor at Burnley College.

When we discover she also has two young children, Isabelle, 11, and Oscar, 7, we’re not quite sure how she fits it all in.

“I’ve become very good at juggling,” Annette explains.

Feature : Pursuit Aerospace



Annette was born in Burnley and attended Habergham High School, which is where her interest in aerospace began. She took a summer internship at NASA in Houston to support their summer space school and the spark was ignited, particularly after witnessing a shuttle launch.

She then studied for a business degree before joining PDS CNC Engineering, working initially in quality systems and then operations management, during which she also gained a masters in manufacturing leadership from Lancaster University. Her career led her to directorships of PDS, and Morow, a company designed to help stroke patients in the early stages of recovery to stand up and begin walking with natural biomechanical movements. Under Morow, she was part of the team that bid for and successfully won close to £1 million investment from the National Institute for Health and Cancer Research. Annette joined Paradigm Precision from a role of group managing director of a group of SME engineering companies including PDS CNC, Burnley-based Tooling Solutions and Advanced Fabrications Limited.

If you look up Annette on LinkedIn, aside from her impressive experience, you can’t help but notice the MBE title too…

“During Covid, I worked with Sherry Kothari at the University of Lancaster to pull together a manufacturing cluster to help supply the NHS with products and services where there were extreme shortages. We had lots of manufacturing companies who were struggling for work or just wanted to support in a time of need,

and everyone from fabric manufacturers to Burnley businesses such as Velocity Composites came forward to offer their help. Lots of businesses supported with local made PPE. The focus was to make and deliver these products locally to support the local NHS. I formed the cluster group of manufacturers, and it was this work that resulted in me being awarded an MBE for services to business. It was a phenomenal honour, if slightly bizarre experience, going to Buckingham Palace and I’m thrilled my children got to join me,” Annette says.

Aside from that initial spark at NASA, Annette’s grandfather used to work at Burnley’s Lucas Aerospace, which after several iterations is the current Pursuit Aerospace. There are several team members at the site who have worked there for 40 years since the Lucas days, but one thing Annette has noticed over the years is the improving ratio of females in the industry.

“Several members of our leadership team are female, our financial controller, our HR director and of course there’s myself as general manager, so I think that’s pretty good. We have a growing number of female apprentices coming through too, but of course we could all do more. It’s really important as businesses that we get into schools, explain the benefits of studying STEM subjects and that careers linked to these are well paid and have longevity.

“It’s not just about ‘getting mucky’ either – digital, cyber and robotics are all part of modern-day engineering firms,” Annette explains.

Of course, businesses themselves have a responsibility to raise awareness amongst young people.

“We have some cracking businesses in Burnley, we need to really all shout about this and keep talent here. Look at what Mark Crabtree has done at AMS Neve and for the borough. You don’t need to move to a city or out of area; Burnley also has a great quality of life and low cost of living and there are many exciting career options right here.

“Businesses in Burnley, as well as wider Lancashire, can be too humble and we don’t always shout about our successes and the excellence that is here. We need to embrace self-promotion, which is where the Burnley Bondholders really excel. There is strength in networking and celebrating one another and the reason the bondholders have been so successful is because of collaboration,” Annette continues.

The workforce of Pursuit Aerospace epitomise the collaborative and resilient attitude required in an everchanging industry. The longest servers have proven that over the years, whether that is embracing changing technology – or a new brand!

“They’ve also embraced me since I’ve joined and whilst I’m only four months in and a lot has happened, it’s been a positive experience so far and I look forward to seeing where everything takes us,” Annette concludes.

Annette is certainly a role model for young females looking to enter the industry and we’re thrilled that Pursuit Aerospace lives that ethos of attracting a wider demographic into the sector, all right here in Burnley.


Turning a lifelong passion into a thriving, sustainable business

TTS Services specialises in the cleaning and restoration of caps, and bags, but mostly, designer trainers – a great model for sustainable fashion.

Tom started the business in 2019 from his parent’s house where he’d restore around 20 pairs of trainers a month. However, TTS really took off last year and he now takes in around 150 pairs a month since going full-time with the business in August. He’s even worked with Burnley FC players such as Dwight McNeil, Bobby Thomas, and a few other big names including former Love Island stars.

We visited Tom’s town centre unit to see him in action and asked him about his business journey so far: “Sustainability is a massive part of what I’m doing. Instead of leaving a good pair of trainers to go to waste, I’ll give them a new lease of life. Also, not everyone has the money for a new pair of trainers every time they go wrong. My prices start from £25 which is a fraction of the price a new pair will cost.

“I’ll even restore unwanted trainers in my own time and take them to local charity shops.”

When asked what gave him the idea to start this venture Tom says:“Funnily enough, I’ve spoken about this with my family since I was young. I’ve always been into designer trainers;

I used to love wearing them, but I also always kept them.

“I had friends asking how they always looked brand new. It was because I kept on top of the cleaning, that’s really where the idea stemmed from.”

After gaining this passion from an early age, Tom has taught himself the art of trainer restoration and refined this skill over time.

“Restoration could be anything from re-dyeing a shoe, repainting it, regluing it, stitching work if your dog’s been chewing them, there are all sorts of bits and bats you can do to make them look like they’re straight out the box.”

With business booming, Tom’s now on the lookout for a Burnley town centre shop where he can focus more on the customer experience and possibly stem out into the re-sell of designer clothing.

“That’s my goal for this year - have a proper shop where customers can come and drop off their trainers and, if the shop’s big enough, I’ll tap into the market of used clothing.”

Kudos to this young entrepreneur for using his lifelong interest to make money and help us be more sustainable in the process. We’d love to see TTS Services in a Burnley town centre shop in the future and see how the company grows.

Feature : TTS Services
Tom Keeling is a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Burnley with a pretty unique business.
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“As you’ll see throughout this magazine, we’ve got many amazing people and businesses in the borough who’ve shown resilience through difficult situations. And it got me thinking about what makes this area so good at dealing with adversity.

Well for me it starts with the fact that Burnley is a fantastic place, there’s a real passion for the borough from residents, businesses, and the council.

One of the key ingredients to our resilience has to be the fact that people are so willing to come together and help each other. From the Burnley Bondholders who provide support to each other through the Ask a Bondholder scheme, through to neighbours looking out for each other. There’s a real sense of community and a willingness to help.

This was demonstrated through Covid when we quickly pulled together the community hub - Burnley Together, with a range of partners. Everyone worked together with the shared aim of supporting our most vulnerable residents, and really exemplified the spirit of the borough.

As with everyone, Covid challenged

Mick Cartledge, chief executive of Burnley Council, has worked in Burnley for the last 21 years. During this time, he has worked on several major developments and has seen the borough face, and overcome, many challenges. Ahead of his retirement in July Mick shares his thoughts on our resilient borough:

my personal resilience. I found keeping in touch with friends and family through Zoom calls and getting exercise when I could, really did help. From a work perspective having so many people pull together and the support from work colleagues and partners, kept me going.

Another factor is that Burnley has a real can-do attitude. People throughout the borough don’t just talk about things, they get things done which helps during challenging times.

I also think the geographical makeup of Burnley helps people remain resilient. Being able to access open spaces and beautiful countryside is so beneficial.

For me, Pioneer Place is a great example of how we’ve been able to overcome obstacles. The site has been vacant for around 20 years and over this time there have been a number of failed developments. But, as a council, we kept going and we were agile about the size of the development. We kept our ambition but ensured that the development was achievable. The council was resilient, it knew what it wanted to achieve and how important it was to diversify the town centre. It’s taken a long time, but it will be a great addition to the town centre offer.


I feel that Burnley has a really positive future, and that’s down to the positive cando attitude that I mentioned and the fact that there’s a real ambition from the council, from business, and partners.

Businesses continue to expand and seek larger premises within the borough and there are developments underway such as the conversion of Newtown Mill which is part of an expansion of the University of Central Lancashire’s campus (UCLan). The shared prosperity and Levelling Up funds will also help to set Burnley in good stead for the future.

There’s also still a great demand for Charter Walk and I feel we should be extremely proud of our town centre. When people from outside of the borough visit they say how clean and vibrant it is, which is fantastic.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges ahead. Issues like the cost-of-living crisis can’t be ignored and people will need to continue pulling together to get through these times. There’s also the fact that employers are struggling to recruit into higher skilled jobs but with a strong performing college on our doorstep and the continued expansion of UCLan, I’m confident that this will help to fill these gaps.

As a council we are a resilient organisation – we’ve faced a lot; Covid, a reduction of financial support from the government. Throughout this, we’ve maintained good quality services, provided support to businesses and delivered on a number of major development projects and I’m confident that we will continue to do this going forwards.”

Feature : xxxxxx In Focus :
Burnley - our resilient borough
Burnley has a real can-do attitude.
People throughout the borough don’t just talk about things, they get things done which helps during challenging times.


– local entrepreneurs share their advice

Behind every brilliant business is an individual or team who’ve had to overcome obstacles on their journey. We asked some of our Burnley Bondholders how they remain resilient in challenging times.

If you could give one piece of advice for remaining resilient as a business, what would it be?

“Ben Leech and I decided to move out of the legal world and into the world of finance at a unique time. A unique time not just for finance, but every aspect of society. Covid, war, cost of living crisis, it can feel like it is one unexpected development after another. You have to accept there are variables, career and personal wise, that you can’t control. But it isn’t these variables that define you, it’s how you react and adapt to them.”

“Always try to put everything into context. Sometimes things can happen – in business and in life – and in the thick of it you’re maybe not looking at it clearly. Take time to step back and look at whatever has happened, to put it in its proper context. A lot of times things aren’t as bad as first feared; you’ve maybe dealt with similar situations before; and even if it really is a nightmare situation, know that you’ll get through it and get to the other side.”

“My advice would be to always value your own self-worth. It’s very easy in business to bend and sway to suit other people’s views or needs, but by remaining true to yourself, knowing your financial worth as a business provider and also your individual worth as a skilled person, you will become more resilient, which will reap rewards in your long-term success.”


In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough


“Every week on the Turf, thousands of fans sing ‘no one likes us, and we don’t care’. Friends and complete strangers coming together with one voice. A voice in the good, the bad and everything in-between. To me that’s resilience. Resilience is celebrating the wins AND being brave enough to turn to others when you can’t face things solo. Resilience isn’t about what you can deal with personally, it’s what you can conquer together. Resilience is #PoweredByMates.”

“Being a business owner is very much like going on a rollercoaster; you have to appreciate that there are going to be ups and downs. My way of remaining resilient is to understand that when things are going well, to remain grounded as you never know what’s round the next bend, similarly whilst things aren’t that to remain positive knowing that good times are near. This can be difficult in the early stages of business ownership, but as times go on, you can draw on past experiences to keep you on track.”

“My one piece of advice for remaining resilient as a business, would be to remember that we have the POWER to choose our response to life’s situations. There is hidden awareness in every experience. Setbacks and (perceived) failures have the potential to create transformation in our life and be a catalyst for alchemical change. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Resilience is about having the strength to carry on and not giving up. When we can meet adversity with openness and courage and be willing to face it head on, it becomes rocket fuel for new awareness and transformation.”

“The single biggest piece of advice that’s helped me in my own business journey: invest in yourself and surround yourself with people who share your passion and drive. Being a business owner can be tough, and it’s natural to feel like you’re walking on hot coals sometimes. But what sets successful business owners apart from the rest, is their willingness to learn and adapt to change. The kind of people who are always seeking new insights, ideas and aren’t afraid to challenge themselves. By making personal growth a priority and building a supportive network of likeminded individuals, you’ll be in a much better position to tackle challenges and thrive in the long run. It’s not always easy, but the rewards are well worth it.”

“Stay agile and understand your finances.”
Carole Garrett, Profit Optimiser
hold of your passion! Passion feeds resilience!”
Catherine Howley, Hornby and Birtwistle

Building a prosperous Burnley

Burnley Council and its partners are pleased to announce a new package of support programmes to assist existing and new Burnley businesses to grow and improve productivity. Approximately £1m of the Council’s £3.4m Shared Prosperity fund allocation has been set aside to provide this support

The council has worked with local partners including voluntary and community sector organisations, business representatives and other key stakeholders to develop an Investment Plan. This builds on the council’s existing Economic & Community Recovery Strategies, identifying the activities that are the right solutions for the borough and that will have the greatest impact in meeting our local needs.

How will the fund benefit local businesses?

£982,429 of the fund will be used to support local business growth and entrepreneurship.

Projects under this theme are being delivered in collaboration with other local authorities and delivery partners across Lancashire, led by Lancashire County Council.

Lancashire Innovation Programme

The programme will be available from June 2023. UCLan, Lancaster and Edge Hill Universities will work together to offer

their knowledge, expertise and facilities. Support will be given through access to the university scientists, labs, industry practitioners and graduate placements and the universities will work with business to develop a bespoke innovation roadmap, identifying the best support routes to help your business on its innovation journey. Areas covered will include: cyber and digital, energy, low carbon, sustainable technologies and data driven innovation for scaling growth. If you would like to improve one of these aspects of your business this could be the programme for you.


The fund will allow the BOOST programme to continue providing universal business support for pre-start, new start, existing and growth businesses ranging from one-to-one coaching, workshops, networks, finance, leadership, new markets and productivity.

The previous eligibility criteria have been removed and BOOST will now extend the support to any business in the Burnley area, regardless of nature or size.

Supporting international trade

Working with the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce businesses can seek advice and support if they already trade internationally or wish to trade internationally to help them realise

their export potential and increase international sales. Support will also be available to educate businesses after the transition out of the single market and to help businesses explore global opportunities.Email: international@

Burnley manufacturing programme

Specialist one-to-one support for all sectors of manufacturing will be available from June 2023, aligning seamlessly with Made Smarter to identify opportunities for digitalisation of IR4.0 tech to drive productivity, net zero transition, green growth markets, and improving value added activities leading to growth. Tools and techniques around leadership and management will also be available.

Net zero and decarbonisation

The Chamber of Commerce, UCLan and AMRC have come together to provide support to Burnley businesses with the highest carbon footprint, analysing environmental impact and providing best practice support and in-depth decarbonisation planning and net zero future proofing. If you need support in this area contact Debbie Treadwell at

For more information on the Shared Prosperity Fund visit www.

New business support programmes to assist Burnley businesses to go green, go international and be productive.

Three huge brands announced for Pioneer Place

Nando’s, Starbucks and Loungers have been revealed as the first three of the five tenants that will eventually open at the development.

A spokesperson from Nando’s said: “We are excited that the news is out and we can finally share that we are coming to Burnley. Bringing all the PERi-PERi heat, we will be opening later in the year. Watch this space for more details.”

The complex, which will include a seven-screen cinema and five retail and leisure units plus a 226-space public pay-and-display car park, is set to be opened in late summer 2023.

Rumours had been circulating for some time that Nando’s was set to open in the borough. The closest Nando’s to Burnley at the moment are in Rochdale, Bury and Blackburn, so it is hoped that having a restaurant in Burnley will prove convenient for residents in the borough, as well as attract visitors from outside of the area.

The town centre economy is also expected to be boosted by encouraging people to stay longer in the town, into

the later afternoon and early evening.

Burnley Council has also confirmed that Starbucks has signed up. Chief executive Mick Cartledge said: “Pioneer Place is drawing in some big names more usually found in bigger towns and cities.

“It’s a sign of confidence in our town that international chains like this are coming here. There’s a real buzz of excitement as Pioneer Place nears completion. It will bring more visitors to Burnley which can only be good news for the local economy. More people means more business for the town centre as a whole.”

A spokesperson for Café Fortune, which will operate the site, said: “As a trusted franchisee of Starbucks Coffee Company, all of us within Café Fortune share Starbucks’ passion for great coffee and warm and welcoming stores that are at the heart of their community.

“We are excited to open our new store in Burnley, and look forward to inviting customers to enjoy our iconic hand crafted beverages, each served by our friendly, expert baristas.”

Meanwhile, the Loungers group is responsible for brands such as Cosy Club

and Lounge. It was founded in 2002 to create a neighbourhood café-bar, driven by an independent culture and community.

It is estimated Pioneer Place will support around 180 jobs, with a further 100-plus new jobs being created in the cinema and supporting food outlets.

The work will be carried out by the council’s development partner Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group.

Pioneer Place has secured funding from Burnley borough and Lancashire county councils, the Government’s Getting Building Fund administered by Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP)., and fashion company and the borough’s largest employer boohoo.

It forms part of a wider town centre masterplan to attract millions of pounds of investment into boosting Burnley town centre. It follows recent investment in improvements to the town centre, the creation of a Heritage Action Zone, and the council’s purchase of Charter Walk shopping centre to help secure its future.

Feature : xxxxxx 46 In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough
The £23 million Pioneer Place leisure complex has announced its first three tenants - and they’re huge brands.
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In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough

Burnley businesses standing the test of time

Setting up a business is no mean feat, so to do so and be successful over a long period is an achievement worth celebrating. Successful businesses bring employment opportunities and raise the profile of our borough, spreading the reputation of Burnley globally in some cases!

To acknowledge this three of Burnley’s longstanding businesses have been presented with awards to mark their commitment to the borough and their long-term investment in the area.

Burnley Council has presented Business Excellence in Burnley awards to BCW Manufacturing Group, Crow Wood Hotel and Spa, and HycAero (formerly known as Hycrome).

Senior managers at HycAero were presented with a 25-year award, while 20-year awards were given to BCW and Crow Wood to mark their long-term commitment to the area.

All three businesses were identified as leaders in their field, with national and international reputations. The award not only recognised excellence but also investment, innovation and a drive to be the best.

Andy Whelan, Claire Whelan and Alec Cassie

BCW Manufacturing Group – a driving force for 20 years

Claire Whelan, BCW group managing director, said: “What a great surprise to receive the Business Excellence Award!

“It is fantastic to have been recognised for our innovation and investment over the 20 years we have been in business. We are really proud of the company’s achievements and the fact we have been able to do this in Burnley with the fantastic support of the council has been instrumental in our development.

“Thank you to all involved; it is appreciated.” BCW Manufacturing Group (formerly BCW Engineering) began life as three people working out of a small unit with one

machine and has developed into a multi-million pound business with more than 100 machining centres as a leading supplier to the automotive industry to clients such as Jaguar Land Rover.

It has steadily expanded in Burnley over the years and recently acquired the former Lotus anodising plant in Wellingborough, more than doubling the business’s anodising capacity and giving it a key strategic base in the West Midlands.

As the company has grown it has supported apprenticeships for both school leavers and mature apprenticeships, with around 35 people

Crow Wood Hotel and Spa –tranquillity and luxury in the heart of Burnley

Andrew Brown, managing director of Crow Wood, said: “I’m delighted to have received this award on behalf of Crow Wood. Investing in growth and development is important to us, both in terms of what we offer to our members and guests and also in the personal and professional development of our colleagues. They are what makes Crow Wood a very special place to be.”

Crow Wood opened in December 2001 and the business has grown from strength to strength since then, not even letting a global pandemic stop its progress.

The award-winning leisure complex began with an £8 million investment in a site just off the M65. Further investment saw the creation of £1.5 million equestrian and soccer facilities, the opening of the £4.5 million Bertram’s Restaurant and Woodland Spa, refurbishments of the leisure club, family restaurant and children’s playground as well as improvements and new additions to other parts of the site.

In 2019 a 76-bedroom hotel opened its doors, offering first-class conferencing and wedding facilities, only to have to close its doors almost

immediately because of Covid!

However, since May 2021 the business has continued to surpass revenue expectations month-on-month. The business now employs almost 400 people.

Sustainability is at the heart of its business strategy. Alongside driving long-term growth and profitability, Crow Wood promotes the inclusion of environmental and social issues in its business model.

Deployment of innovative approaches such as the use of solar power, combined heat source pumps, a borehole water supply and other measures help reduce any negative impact on the environment.

Andrew explained: “We have a policy of continual investment at Crow Wood. I’m confident, that despite the economic challenges on the horizon, investing in growth is the right way forward. Undoubtedly, as we all feel the squeeze of rising energy prices, we can expect a slight slowdown in the demand we’ve seen recently. That said, people are now travelling from further afield to enjoy our facilities. The very concept of affordable luxury has the resilience to help weather the storm.”

completing qualifications across various departments. It continues to invest in the development programmes and presents apprenticeship awards on completion as a recognition of staff achievements.

Claire added: “We’ve always had a long-term vision for the company and worked hard to reinvest profits back into the business over the past 20 years.

“Our vision now is one of continuous profitable growth built on a proud heritage driven by innovation, knowledge and dedication of our staff.”

HycAero – moving towards a more sustainable future

Andrew Bailey, managing director of HycAero, said: “Thanks to Burnley Council for recognising HycAero and the success that we have had since we relocated to Burnley 25 years ago.

“When we moved into our current facility we brought with us 45 employees from the Colne site. We now employ 185 people and we have further plans for expansion which will allow us to continue to provide highskill, high-technology roles to the local workforce.”

HycAero is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of special processes and precision machining to the aerospace industry.

HycAero has been operating since 1947, but a big turning point for the business came when it won big contracts in the 1980s with Rolls Royce and British Aerospace. Realising its value, The Score Group acquired HycAero in 1989 and then carried out a huge investment project, leading to the relocation to Burnley in 1996.

Andrew, who started out as an apprentice with Hycrome over 40 years ago, said: “For many years we have been recognised as a key supplier of protective coatings, precision machining and other special processes to the aerospace and oil and gas industries.

“Our company has a long legacy of specialising in chrome plating and chromic acid anodising, two processes which we will discontinue by the end of 2023 in favour of more environmentally friendly protective coatings.

We started a new chapter on 1st January 2023 as we evolved our aerospace business to become HycAero. This was driven by the need to reflect the change in our activities as we completely exit chrome plating and continue to develop our more sustainable processes that are used on modern aircraft.”

Andrew Brown Stephen Kelly and Andrew Bailey
50 In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough
Is Burnley’s CUBE HR the most inspiring example of business, personal and mental resilience?

Being resilient isn’t just about businesses pivoting during times of crisis, but also personal and mental resilience too. In this inspiring interview, we speak to the founder of CUBE HR, Lisa Sourbutts, who has overcome more challenges in her first five years of business than most people go through in a lifetime.

“All eight airbags went off and there was a five-mile tailback as a result. The car shunted my legs, and my wrist went into my arm. I’d only earnt £400 by this point, and I could have so easily just packed it all in.”

Lisa Sourbutts is describing the terrifying car accident she experienced just four months after setting up CUBE HR, on her way to see a potential client. She’d walked away from her high-flying corporate HR career, where she’d earnt a large salary and bonus every year, after realising she no longer felt like that world reflected her values. She set up CUBE HR in October 2017, with the accident in February 2018.

“Despite only earning so little, I’m stubborn so I carried on.” And still in her first year, Lisa began to grow, after finding a gap in the market for personal HR services, especially for smaller firms who didn’t want to speak to a faceless person in a call centre. She brought in Claire Brockbank part time to help with admin support, then Lisa faced the next challenge: she needed a hysterectomy.

“Being me that couldn’t be simple, I had a tilted womb so couldn’t have keyhole surgery and therefore had to have full surgery. I was doing emails from my hospital bed that same night - that’s my dad’s fault for instilling such a good work ethic into me!” Lisa continues.

After a rollercoaster first two years in business, CUBE HR continued to grow, and Claire became full time. Over a quarter of CUBE HR’s business comes from client referrals and Lisa was beginning to feel like she was getting somewhere in building her brand. Then Covid hit.

“We’d just got to a level playing field and we went from steady to horrendously busy – I’m talking 140 calls a day busy. We were working all hours, I was trying to home-school my then six-year-old Naomi and my husband Dale worked in the travel industry, so he was firefighting

– it was chaos,” Lisa explains. Then one day, she had a call with a plumber called Frank that changed everything. Frank had eight employees and he couldn’t afford to pay them as at that time, they weren’t allowed in people’s houses. He rang Lisa asking for help as he couldn’t afford redundancy. She advised him on what to do and then he asked her how much he owed her.

“A lightbulb went off in my head. I was watching doctors and nurses leaving their families to fight the battle and I thought this was my contribution. I rang Claire and told her that I thought we should offer our services for free, it just felt good, and it felt right, so we did. We were lucky to have many retained clients to help us with income, but we treated everyone the same.

“Claire would sit there at 8pm when Boris Johnson did his updates and within ten minutes a newsletter would be in our clients’ inboxes simplifying everything that had been said. The clients asked us to add their clients to the mailing list and in the end, we supported between 60 and 70 businesses for free.”


The newsletter saved dozens of calls from coming into CUBE HR all asking the same questions and Lisa says she’s proud of what the then team of two achieved. She admits she questioned her actions for a split second after seeing competitors offering Covid packages at a cost, including buy now pay later schemes, but she knew it didn’t sit right with her, so continued on her path.

“Then Rishi Sunak came out with furlough, and no one really knew what it was. I rang Frank the plumber and said, ‘bring those lads back!’ and he couldn’t thank me enough.”

Lisa then recruited Stuart Wright in January 2021, with Claire Hewitt joining later in the year. The future was looking great for the business, but then the next challenge came in August 2021. Lisa had returned from holiday to the news that her dad Jim had been taken to hospital. There, she learnt that with no prior health issues, her dad, 82, was sadly dying.

“They told him they had found a mass in his stomach and they could operate, but he would have a five per cent chance

of survival. My dad being my dad, told the doctors to save the time and money and use it on someone who could be saved. That was my dad, he never had much but would give you the shirt off his back. He was so selfless,” Lisa explains.

Jim made the decision that he wanted to come home to die, but he refused to take his medicine. Lisa decided to take the matter into her own hands in the only way she knew how.

“It sounds awful, but I told him if he took the medicine, I’d get him home in time to watch the Burnley match. I’d also been toying with the idea of getting my dream car, an Audi R8, and I said I’d show him the photos. As a child, our thing was to look through The Loot together and choose which sports cars we’d buy if money was no object. But I knew he was unwell, as all he said was ‘that’s nice love’. One morning, he got up, went to sleep in his chair and peacefully passed away.”

Jim’s last job had been working for Burnley Council as the caretaker for Padiham Town Hall. It was a job he was proud of, so much so that he wouldn’t let a then younger Lisa try out the floor buffer in case they got caught!

“After he passed away in September 2021, I just thought that life is so short, so I’m going to get the car,” Lisa adds. She chose her car the day after winning a Hive Award, an award she knew her dad would be proud of.

Lisa then took some time away from CUBE HR as she supported her mum Trudy through the loss of Jim, whilst also helping her with everything that needed to be done.

“It was a crazy time. Burnley

Crematorium was having work done and we were told there would be a few weeks delay for the funeral because of it, so they recommended Skipton. I told them my dad would kill me if he was laid to rest anywhere but Burnley, so we waited. In the meantime, we’d found out CUBE HR were in the BIBA finals, which would have been three days before the funeral. I told my mum I didn’t think I should go,” Lisa reveals. However, her mum’s response convinced her otherwise.

“She said dad would have told me to get my slap on, get a frock on and put a smile on my face. So I did, and we won. It was a lovely night actually, as it distracted me for just that short time.”


In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough


Despite Lisa repeatedly claiming throughout our interview that she didn’t think she was resilient, it’s clear her determination began at a young age.

“I was called a scrubber at school because my clothes were rubbish and I have dyslexia, so I was called thick too. We always had terrible cars; I’d make my dad park a few streets away from school. We had to share bathwater too. My dad would let me go first, then my mum, then he’d go last. On non-uniform day I’d pretend I was ill and ended up playing truant a lot to avoid the nasty comments.”

Lisa’s determination to remain strong was sadly tested just a couple of months after Jim passed away, when her 39-year-old friend died from a brain tumour in December 2021. The day before the funeral, Lisa caught Covid so couldn’t attend. Whilst her mum came to stay with her for the first Christmas without Jim, such were the family’s concern about Trudy falling ill, that she went home on Boxing Day.

Come the beginning of 2022 and it is of no surprise that Lisa was finding it hard to put on a brave face.

“I did cry in front of my team, but to anyone else I didn’t know as well I’d say I was OK. I put on a brave face and did lots of walking. Walking without fail is something I started during Covid when you could only meet others outside and it’s something I’ve continued – I do most my business meetings on walks now. But in January 2022 I’d lost all mojo for CUBE HR, I just didn’t want to be there at all. Thankfully, it had built such a reputation and had such a great team that it was running just fine without me. I really was an absent leader,” Lisa tells us.

She’d tried some counselling sessions, but they weren’t for her, so she “walked and talked and walked and talked some more!”.



CUBE HR continued to grow in 2022 and Louise O’Rourke and Sharlene Spence joined the team. By the September, Lisa felt like she was getting her zest back for the business, and with a year having passed since she lost her dad, she felt optimistic for the future.

“I walked into work and told the team I knew I hadn’t been there for the last year and I wanted to reset. Dale and I decided to go on a cruise as we’re passionate about travelling and building memories. We’d just left port when the hospital rang – my mum had had a fall and, despite not showing any signs of illness, was diagnosed with COPD and heart failure,” Lisa continues.

Lisa was left reeling from the call and immediately came home. After weeks in hospital, her mum started to improve, with the right medicine and physiotherapy in place. After finding sheltered accommodation close to Lisa, Trudy was excited for the future and the family planned for Naomi to pop round when she was old enough too to help her grandma with cooking. But then just as Trudy was about to be discharged, Lisa received a call to say her mum had sadly passed away at 73.

“I just think she never recovered from losing my dad, they did everything together, they were a team. The saddest thing about it all is she was just getting some optimism back for the future and was looking forward to moving closer to us.”

Losing her mum brought back all the feelings of losing her dad, and the reality hit Lisa that in just her forties, she had no parents and no siblings with which to share the burden. Dale stepped in to help with the admin and clearance of her family home, the home in which her parents had always lived together.

“We didn’t have much, before gaining more stable employment, my dad would take any manual temporary job he could. My mum worked in admin, but in the 80s and 90s they were made redundant a lot when companies closed. I remember my mum crying when the red bills came in, but I had loving parents. My dad would take furniture that was going to be tipped and cobble it all together into new pieces. My dad would tell me, ‘Lisa, it’s upcycling, you have no vision!’.

“It took us years to decorate. We could

only afford two rolls of wallpaper a week, so we were always in B&Q, as by the time we could afford to paper a room, the batch would have changed so the colours would be slightly different and we’d have to return. That paper was on the walls from 1987 until about four years ago!” Lisa laughs.

Lisa donated furniture from her parents’ home to Pendleside Hospice, who had supported her family through the last couple of years – “I only gave them the proper furniture though!”


So, what next for Lisa and CUBE HR? It’s certainly been a more than challenging five years and it would be completely understandable if Lisa walked away from the business.

“I sometimes wake up screaming in the night, dreaming about my mum and dad. I’m terrified of losing Dale and Naomi. But I’d rather be suffering this intense sadness than not, because it’s the price we pay for love. We didn’t have much, but they were brilliant parents, and it’s made me who I am today. Mother’s Day was hell on earth, but it always will be. You cannot let grief consume you because it’s all consuming and easy to stay in that despair, but you can’t stay there, you owe it to yourself, your family and I owe it to my team to keep going,” Lisa says.


Lisa explains she doesn’t want to be the biggest HR company out there, but the best. She explains how she’s built a team around her who share her values and want the best for their clients.

“I’m taking the whole team away to Menorca in May as a thank you and to celebrate five years of CUBE HR. We’ve not had a single year of stability, but we’re

also the most honest team I know. Being vulnerable with one another helps a lot and I think people can see the amazing work environment we’ve created. I’m sent CVs on LinkedIn from people wanting to work with us,” Lisa proudly details.

“My dad would be so proud of his little Lisa. There I was thinking I would just be self-employed for a few hours a week so I could pick up Naomi from school.”

Whilst by this point, we’re all wishing nothing but stability for Lisa and her team, it’s not quite plain sailing just yet.

“We’ve launched a new software company, HRX People, which is gaining amazing traction and I’m actually going through the early menopause. I thought my symptoms were grief, but it is indeed the menopause, so I have to contend with forgetting everything, my hair falling out and being moody! Lots of reminders and lots of walking keeps me sane though,” Lisa concludes.

Despite the growing CUBE HR, launch of a second software business and the menopause, we have a feeling that Lisa will continue to prove her resilience and make her parents, husband and daughter proud.


A year of twists and turns for Burnley FC in the Community

Burnley FC in the Community, alongside many charities, businesses and communities, has faced a number of challenges over the past few years. Fast-forward to 2023, and the cost-of-living crisis has placed increased demand on the operations of the charity. From the day-to-day costs of providing much-needed food parcels to families, to running two community facilities, whilst energy prices soar; there has never been a more important time to be resilient. Helen Gurman, CEO of Burnley FC in the Community, shares the story of how the charity has worked hard to recover and rebuild up to full operation.

Burnley FC in the Community is the not-for-profit, self-financed official charity of Burnley Football Club and since 2014, we have worked to positively impact and transform the lives of the people in Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, the Ribble Valley, and West Yorkshire.

Through our wide range of work across areas including education and employability, community welfare and inclusion, football development, and our thriving portfolio of community facilities-The Leisure Box, Whitehough Outdoor Centre, and the Foodbank, we’re working hard to use the power of Burnley FC to inspire, support and deliver positive change for all.


Our charity work encompasses key areas including mental health, education, youth violence, food poverty and so much more. Over the past few years, these areas within our community have needed our support more than ever, which has placed a high demand on the charity to deliver.

Though we are embedded within the

ethos of Burnley FC, we are financially independent of the football club, which means we rely on fundraising, donations, sponsorships and grants to fund the work we do. As a result, the support we have received from our trustees, partners, and businesses over the past few years has been critical to enable us to continue running our programmes to support our local community.


In 2022, we provided enough food to support 47,011 people through our foodbank. This is an increase of 62 per cent from over 29,012 people in 2021.

The cost-of-living crisis played a massive role in this growth, but the change in our business model - from delivering parcels, to becoming a distribution centre, allowed us to access more people, without having to change the staff infrastructure.

The volunteers at the foodbank play a vital part in delivering an accessible service for all and reaching as many people as possible. We rely heavily on the good will of partners, including Burnley Together,

Burnley Leisure and Islamic Relief to name but a few. Participants from our provisions, including the veterans, and the football club partners, have also supported the operation; from packing bags through to helping deliver parcels. We are very fortunate to be part of a network that is very community driven.


Over the past year, we have been overwhelmed with the support we received from partners, from offering their time volunteering, to supporting our individual programmes. Alongside this, in 2022 we trengthened our portfolio when we partnered with FUNDA to develop the existing soft play area at the Leisure Box into FUNDA LAND.

This enabled us to focus on the facility with our existing provisions, expansion and utilisation of amenities such as the pitches, Clip n’ Climb and court offering, whilst being able to promote a brand-new play area, which complements our offering to become more of a day out for the family.

54 In
Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough

Despite a year of twists and turns, we have benefited from extra support from Burnley Football Club, who throughout the season, have been brilliant supporters of the charity. From visiting and joining in with our community provisions to being part of our annual charity dinner, which was an unforgettable evening raising over £60,000 (a record-breaking fundraiser for Burnley FC in the Community).


The residents of Burnley have helped us to maintain resilience in an endless number of ways. This includes everything from volunteering for the charity, donating items to our foodbank, attending our charity events, fundraising for us, and most importantly, getting involved in our programmes. We would not have been able to overcome the challenges of the past few years so successfully if it wasn’t for our community members and we are incredibly grateful for their support. If there’s one thing to be said about Burnley, it’s the pride of the badge that brings people together.


Despite the challenges, we have adapted to the climate we’re in, and the support from our key stakeholders has, amongst so many other things, enabled us to:

• Help members of our community living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, by expanding our No Nay Never Forget programme;

• Relaunch our Limitless Clarets Sport programme (formerly known as the Disability Sports Programme), which has expanded from focusing on football to providing free sessions for children with special educational needs and disabilities, covering multi-sports, sensory, and much more;

• Launch the brand-new employability provision ‘Hatch’, which provides paid job opportunities to the unemployed, giving local businesses the chance to help young people get onto the career ladder, and ‘give back’ to the community. In return, companies are reimbursed for providing their support.

We are aware that challenging times are not over for the charity, or our community, and we are prepared to continue working hard and expanding our projects and programmes.

It’s amazing to see the way the community has pulled together to support this fantastic charity. If you would like to find out how your organisation can get involved, please contact Ben, head of partnerships:


Just three years ago Cherrytree Bakery was faced with cancelled orders and a drop to ten percent turnover as the pandemic hit.

So, it makes it all the sweeter that in 2023 the bakery is now expanding into a state-ofthe art facility to meet increased demand.

The bakery currently makes muffins, tray bakes and Chorley cakes for a large number of customers, who include leading supermarkets and coffee shops. The acquisition of the 12,000 sq ft building next to its headquarters will allow Burnley-based Cherrytree to expand its tray bake offer, meet additional demand and strike deals in new markets.

Over recent months the business has won a series of new contracts with major national retailers and has ambitions to double its turnover in the next three years to £50 million.

Cherrytree Bakery managing director Mark Beaumont said: “We are delighted to have completed the deal to buy the facility. It’s right next door to our existing bakery, so the location is perfect.

“The business has enjoyed a number of years of successful growth and demand continues to be high, so this is a logical step forward. We have ambitions to grow the business significantly and this expansion will give us the perfect platform.

“We have a strong order book, enjoy great client relationships, and have significant demand for our range. Companies work with us because they know that we produce exceptional products, and this is down to attention to detail and teamwork.”

Cherrytree was supported in the purchase by Barclays and Shakira Musarat, Barclays relationship director, said: “We are delighted to support Cherrytree Bakery on the next stage of their growth journey. They are an innovative, exciting business with strong social and environmental focus, creating jobs and opportunities in the heart of Lancashire.”

Bakery expansion the cherry on the cake after challenging time

Recruitment drive

Earlier this year Cherrytree ran a major recruitment drive for 50 new staff after introducing a new weekend shift to meet growing demand. It will be recruiting again once the new facility is up and running.

The business has a refreshing approach to recruitment and aims to be as inclusive as possible as Mark explained:

“At the recent recruitment event at Burnley Football Club it became apparent that some of the people we were interviewing didn’t necessarily fit the full criteria we were looking for. But what they did display was drive and enthusiasm that would benefit the business. Recruitment shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach and we are really passionate about creating a diverse workforce.”

This flexible approach is also shown towards existing staff, with training and support given to those wanting to progress.

Staff wellbeing is high on the agenda at Cherrytree and the result of this is high levels of staff retention. Julie Page, operations director told us more: “The nature of the business is very labour intensive, our staff are vital to our success, so we want them to know that they are appreciated. We do this in several ways from offering a level of flexibility in start or finish times and in shift patterns to small gestures like an annual family Christmas party with Christmas gifts for the children. Every quarter we also treat staff to a meal and organise for a food van to come to the site.

“It’s important that we support our staff so whether that’s providing a listening ear to their problems or helping them complete any paperwork they are unsure of, we have an open-door policy and they know they can talk to us.”

The refurbishment

Cherrytree is hoping to start work on the refurbishment of its new building as soon as possible, with a view to bringing it online later this year. The plan is to make the facility

as energy efficient as possible with the firm exploring carbon reduction options.

John Meadowcroft, who has recently been promoted to financial director will be part of a team looking at environmental issues including increasing the use of solar PV, moving to low energy lighting, using electric vehicles and making more of the waste recyclable.

With lead times on machinery at an all-time high the equipment for the new build is already on order, something that Mark admitted isn’t ideal: “We’d love to have had the new site ready before ordering but we can’t risk having an empty facility. We’ve had one piece of machinery on order for 12 months now, so it’s something that we can’t put off.”

Turnover on the rise

With 30 percent increase in turnover in the last year, how does this business manage growth while maintaining its ethos of ‘great products, made by great people, for great customers’?

Mark explained: “We’ve had interest from major retailers who would like us to tender for larger volume standardised products but that would require us to become fully automated. We pride ourselves in producing premium products, that require manual production techniques and we feel like this is the right path for us.

“We are very particular about who works for us and who we supply, and this means we are able to keep our standards high. We’ve future proofed the business by increasing our supply to the retail trade, but one thing that we won’t change is our commitment to quality.”

We can’t wait to see what tasty treats will be coming out of the new facility. So the next time you bite into a delicious muffin or tray bake just think it could have been produced right here in Burnley!

In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough

In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough


Aidan Tregay is a 23-yearold from Burnley with a passion for fashion and a determination to succeed.

After being diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour, a rare kidney cancer, as a child, Aiden used this traumatic experience to inspire him to grab life by the horns and follow his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

Project North is the result – Aidan’s apparel company which specialises in bespoke clothing inspired by oldschool, football-fashion; redefined with his own artistic takes. The products are all limited edition and made-toorder which adds an air of exclusivity and sustainability to the brand.

Childhood battle

Aiden was just two years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. This was obviously an extremely challenging time for his family seeing him undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy at such an early age. Thankfully, Aiden recovered after 18 months of treatment and as well giving him his fighting spirit, it has also instilled a sense of gratitude and desire to give back.

Project North makes regular donations to North Manchester General Hospital.

This is all part of the brand’s ethos and Aiden feels it’s one that will resonate with anyone who has spent worrying times in hospital like him and his family.

The early days of Project North

The origins of Project North can be traced all the way back to 2017 when Aidan would sell his creations to friends. However, after finding an investor in 2021, Project North took off and each season of clothing has sold out.

We spoke to Aidan, who had a strong resilience message for other young creatives: “I never paid much attention in school, especially in the art lesson, where I’d spend the whole time messing about. I never really knew what I wanted to do and used to think art and textiles were for girls, but the more I learn about this industry the more I realise how many different aspects to it there are.

“Fashion design is absolutely not just for girls, and I urge any other lad in the same position as me in school to not be scared of what others think and look into it if you have a passion for clothing and art.

“The first few pieces I sold when I was 17 weren’t right at all – they were all wonky and I cringe looking back, but I’ve studied the craft and learned to fall in love with it

and fall in love with my designs. Since then, I’ve learnt Photoshop and really studied design so each product can be flawless.”

Aidan’s pursuit of knowledge had even led him into starting a Univeristy of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Burnley foundation design course which reintroduced him to education. However, the business demanded too much of his time, so he took the difficult decision to leave the course.

More hurdles to overcome

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Project North; Aidan has also had a conflict with his first supplier which cost the business thousands. But, with that northern resilience we know all too well in Burnley, this 23-year-old visionary utilised his new investor to help source a better, more reliable supplier and bounced back.

“Of course, there’s going to be hurdles and challenges, but you need to work past them and take it one little step at a time,” says Aiden.

From battling cancer at an early age to being lost at school, to overcoming the trials and tribulations of having a new business, Aidan’s story truly is one of rolling up his sleeves and getting over barriers.

Aidan pictured on right

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Articles inside


pages 58-59

Bakery expansion the cherry on the cake after challenging time

page 57

A year of twists and turns for Burnley FC in the Community

pages 54-57

In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough

pages 52-53

In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough Burnley businesses standing the test of time

pages 48-51

Three huge brands announced for Pioneer Place

pages 46-47

Building a prosperous Burnley

page 45

In Focus : Burnley - our resilient borough

page 44


page 43

Turning a lifelong passion into a thriving, sustainable business

pages 38-42

Paving the way for women in engineering: Annette Weekes, GM of Pursuit Aerospace

pages 36-37


page 35

The surprising story of Thorne Fire and Security

pages 33-34

Growth to soar at top tech business following major investment

page 32

Burnley businesses prove they’re better together

pages 30-31

VEKA plc – inspiring young people and instilling resilience

pages 27-29


pages 24-27

A Burnley carpet, five continents and a determined family business: the story of Equestrian Surfaces

pages 22-23

Burnley business stalwart undergoes rebrand and huge apprenticeship drive

pages 20-21

Feature : TCB Designs

pages 18-19

up ambitions and

pages 16-17

Crow Wood newly refurbished gym now open

pages 13-16

Specialist aerospace supplier rebrands to reflect evolution of business

page 13

Padiham counselling practice gets young men talking

pages 11-12

Burnley Council chief executive to retire

pages 10-11

Workshops launched for new businesses GO forit

page 9

Burnley Council recognised for its commitment to young employees

page 8

Pies are on the menu at Safran thanks to new partnership

page 7

Velocity Composites enters US market with $100 million GKN agreement

page 6

Not just claret and blue, but green too

page 5

CoolKit senior team for further growth

page 4

Welcome from the Editor

page 3
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