Jubilation for Danbro at new HQ

A Lancashire couple who started their accountancy business in the box room of their family home in Warton in 1999 have just officially opened 66,000 sq ft of office space and announced plans to top half a billion turnover by 2020.

Helen and Damian Broughton have officially opened Danbro's new headquarters at the refurbished Jubilee House, the former Land Registry building on Lytham seafront. Part of the complex will offer hot desk and other facilities for businesses starting out or needing support. Brothers of Charity are running the coffee shop and canteen as a social enterprise.

While many former Land Registry staff, community and charity groups also attended the official opening Helen hails Jubilee House as the "end of an era and the beginning of a new journey which will take us from strength to strength."

The Broughtons currently employ almost 200 staff and have a turnover of £225m after the recent acquisition of a competitor in the south.

Helen, director of people and standards, says Danbro is planning to double that figure and go further. "It may be that we venture into regional offices, grow our presence in London a bit more - but we'll do it.

"We only say half a billion because it's realistic but there is no limit. As long as the business is out there we will keep trying to win it."

Damian, managing director, added: "We're in an expanding market, the temporary and freelancer contractor market place, and we're always looking for new and exciting opportunities, and are anticipating great rapid growth in new services."

The couple were speaking at the official launch of Jubilee House, the 1960s-built government building which once housed up to 750 civil servants working in legal and planning at the Land Registry.

Many former Land Registry workers, who worked up to 40 years at what was known as Birkenhead House (after Lord Birkenhead) were invited to tour the landmark property. They spoke of the heyday of the Land Registry and wished the new 'custodians' of the building well. "We used to marvel daily at the views," said former manager Eric Stringer. "It was - and is - a fantastic building."

While two wings have been lost an additional floor has been installed which incorporates the directors' suite, and a 100 seat Green Room with balcony overlooking Lytham Green.

Danbro's own Rock Choir made its debut before up to 300 invited guests in the Green Room. They will be singing to thousands in support of headline acts at Lytham Festival in summer - Danbro is sponsoring the week long festival run by Cuffe and Taylor and featuring acts such as McBusted, Faithless and more.

Sharon Oldham, Helen's auntie and the first employee and now longest serving member of staff, unveiled the commemorative plaque. "We can think if no one more worthy of the accolade of officially opening Jubilee House," said Helen.

Helen also gave a moving tribute to her mum Mrs Pat Rhodes. "At Danbro 'family' is our internal brand, our values are firmly placed in family. It is a continuous source of strength. My mum has inspired me, kept on a straight path and kept me grounded whether she believes it or not, was there when the company was formed, made sacrifices in time and money to help get it off the ground, answered the phones, looked after the kids, shopped for us, cleaned for us... I want to honour and thank her with all of my heart. "

A commemorative flag was also presented to Lucy King, seven, the local primary school pupil who designed the winning flag for Jubilee House as construction work went on last year. The couple acquired the building in May 2012. It had been empty for several years since the site was shut.

Key staff later paid their own tributes to managing director Damian and Helen, director of people and standards...

Chester Boothe, head of new business development, said: "I genuine believe people care for each other here. It may be old fashioned but that is why Danbro is a successful company. I think Helen and Damian will be in it for the long term. I hope they take all of us with them. If they don’t I’ll be sat home twiddling my thumbs – I would not want to work for anyone else until the day I retire.”

Glenn Swift, group financial controller, added: "In five to 10 years it wouldn’t surprise me if we had nearly outgrown Jubilee House. They have the right formula."

Chris Rhodes, head of Danbro Limited, said: "If you take time to reflect it's frightening, awesome, fantastic. I'm proud to work here."

Andrew Rhodes, maintenance manager, agreed. "This is the next big step in the history of Danbro. Jubilee House stands alone and says this is me - Danbro as Danbro."

John Thorburn, director Danbro Accountancy, said: “When I came for the first interview with Damian I was impressed with the man, his vision. He had big plans for Danbro but was a very down to earth chap as well who I took an instant liking to and thought I could really work with Danbro, hopefully he will invite me back so we can work together – and he did. Helen is just a lovely woman that you warm to immediately. They were a great couple from day one.”

Gareth Richardson, senior business development manager: "It's only when you look back or have a little Eureka! moment you realise the growth is continual and so fast you hardly notice it is happening."

Sharon Oldham, quality coordinator Operations concluded: "It is absolutely incredible where the company has gone. I used to pass here every day going to the Guardian Royal Exchange. I worked at GRE before I had my daughters so it looks like where I started my career is probably where I will end my career.. In Lytham - and just across the road from Jubilee House is the hospital where I was born." Danbro was named after Helen and Damian's son Daniel, now 17.