Family-run weaving company John Spencer Textiles has committed to invest £400,000 in new technology and equipment with the support of a £55,000 grant from the N Brown Textiles Growth Programme.
Based in Burnley’s historic Weavers’ Triangle, John Spencer supplies a wide range of fabrics for applications including upholstery, apparel, and filtration. Founded in the 1860s, John Spencer Textiles has been a family owned business for six generations.
The investment sees the company commit to the future of UK manufacturing, creating eight new jobs and a new apprenticeship for the regional economy.
Set up by the Manchester Growth Company for the Combined Authority in Greater Manchester and the Alliance Project, the N Brown Textiles Growth Programme is delivered across the UK and funded by the Regional Growth Fund.
To date, it has supported 27 textile companies in Lancashire, resulting in the creation and safeguarding of 443 jobs in Lancashire. With over £1.7m of government funding since 2014, textile companies in Lancashire have invested almost £7m.
Since the start of the programme in 2014, 237 companies have been supported by the Textile Growth fund, creating and safeguarding nearly 3,500 jobs and securing £87m of private sector investment through £20m of grant support. Further grant funding is available until early next year.
Lorna Fitzsimons, director, N Brown Textiles Growth Programme said: “Although early days after the BREXIT vote, the Textile industry is still showing the confidence to invest which is a healthy indicator that the sector is still growing. This is helped, in part, by government funding, and a strategy to invest in this industry which is so important to Lancashire.”
David Collinge, managing director, John Spencer Textiles said: “This investment will allow us to respond more efficiently to customers’ needs for smaller manufacturing quantities and will help continue the trend to regenerate the UK weaving industry.
“It is a real thrill to see new jobs being created and very exciting to see enthusiastic apprentices learning traditional skills and applying them to the amazing new technology that we now have. While we cannot compete for volume business with low wage economies elsewhere in the world, we can offer design, flexibility and service which we believe will keep our once great industry alive and kicking!”
Paul Short, chair of the N Brown Textiles Growth Programme, said, “Following the most extensive research into supply and demand of UK textile manufacturing in recent decades we have created the first ever textile grant growth programme in British history, backed by the Regional Growth Fund.
“The programme, established in 2014, is led by N Brown and the private sector on behalf of the UK textile industry. It has unleashed significant private sector investment and job creation, addressing significant growth opportunities and market failures facing the industry. This invaluable work will come to an end in May 2017 but will leave the textile industry stronger and fully committed to the future of manufacturing in the UK.”