Chamber showcases regional business heroes

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce has selected 15 businesses to be included in a nationwide UK Business Heroes campaign.

The project, the first of its kind, is being orchestrated by the British Chambers of Commerce and showcases organisations which have demonstrated resilience, adaptation, community spirit and a selfless approach to the challenges of 2020’s economic crisis.

Representing East Lancashire are Blackburn Youth Zone, Crow Wood Leisure, Herbert Parkinson, Bright Engineering, Studio Up North, UK Insulations, Viva PR, James’ Places, Heritage Envelopes, Panaz, PDS (CNC) Engineering, Perspex International, Senator Group, WEC Group and Star Academies.

Crow Wood Leisure opened its kitchens and hotel doors free-of-charge to key workers and those in need whilst under immense pressure, while Blackburn Youth Zone took its much-needed services online to make themselves accessible to the area’s young people 24/7.

Star Academies adapted their offering to become fully functional online, whilst also raising over £40,000 via the Star Coronavirus Appeal and £350,000 worth of food and hygiene donations secured from local and national retailers.

Many of local manufacturers repurposed their equipment to create vital supplies for the NHS, with some supplying to the new Nightingale Hospitals, including Herbert Parkinson, UK Insulations, Perspex International, Panaz, PDS (CNC) Engineering, WEC Group, Bright Engineering and The Senator Group. 

James Places, located in Clitheroe, saw a devastating effect on its 8 pubs, restaurants and food venues, and Warren Bennett has been recognised as a hero for rallying to look after his staff and feed local families whilst under immense strain.

Heritage Envelopes created more than 20 job vacancies and invested in 3 new machines to manufacture green paper bags for speciality breads.

Tony Garner of Viva PR and Jamie Kelly of Studio Up North, collaborated to create Weave Together – a platform to champion and showcase the range of businesses in their local Rossendale Valley, providing much-needed visibility.

The Chamber also singled out the efforts of PDS (CNC) Engineering Ltd, headed by Annette Weekes. Working in partnership with the Chamber to set up www.covid19cluster.co.uk, Annette pulled together a wide group of manufacturers across Lancashire and NHS engagement routes to provide a gateway for much needed items. Here they can list their crossover products and types of manufacturing skills on offer, then match them to the known and emerging needs from the NHS.

Miranda Barker, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The situation we have all found ourselves in certainly shows the power of our local business’ fighting spirit. In the face of extreme adversity, we have been presented with some thoroughly admirable Lancastrians whom we are so proud to celebrate.

"Well done to all of our UK Business Heroes, each deserving of recognition for their unique contributions in these challenging times, and to all of those many firms who have contributed in similar ways unseen."

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