Queen's Awards for Lancashire businesses

Excellence in international trade has earned Queen's Awards for a clutch of Lancashire companies, while Recycling Lives earned its honour for supporting, training and employing ex-offenders.

The Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity for Social Mobility is the fourth earned by Recycling Lives. The Preston-based organisation is just one of four winners in the category this year.

Works in partnership with Recycling Lives Social Enterprises and the Recycling Lives UK charity, the social enterprise supports up to 300 men and women at a time in 12 prison-based workshops, HMP Academies, and up to 10 men at a time in its residential facility.

The HMP Academies train offenders in recycling or fabrication, skilling them for work on release. The charity’s residential programme supports men to undertake training and work placements to move into meaningful work and their own homes.

These deliver unrivalled success, reducing reoffending rates to less than 5% and supporting more than 70% into employment immediately upon release from prison.

William Fletcher, chief executive said: “Winning a Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity is the ultimate testament to our impact. It recognises the symbiotic relationship of our organization; how our business is integral to the success of our social enterprise and charity and vice versa.”

Winning a Queen’s Award is the ultimate testament to our impact.

Elsewhere, Haslingden-based Firesafe Fire Rated Ductwork is the first of four Lancashire winners in the International Award category.

The family firm, founded in 2006, it is a specialist in the field of passive fire protection. The company exports its Caswell Firesafe non-coated fire resisting ductwork systems, and has grown sales by more than 500 per cent.

Preston-based Language Insight provides transcription, translation and interpreting for a wide range of sectors and industries, with a special focus on market research translation. They are one of very few Language Service Providers to be globally accredited for both Quality Assurance (ISO 9001) and Information Security (ISO 27001).

Over the last three years, overseas sales have grown by 230 per cent. In 2018, company revenues grew 33.4 per cent globally and international trade now makes up over 49 per cent of Language Insight’s turnover.

The company has expanded from its UK operations and now employs staff all around the globe including New York, Germany and plans to open additional offices in 2019.

Managing director Donna Twose said: “Achieving this award is as a result of an impressive team effort and a strong management team driven by the core values of the business.

"We have grown significantly in recent years which has positioned us as leaders in market research translation, and our reputation for exceptional delivery to our clients is matched only by the passion and commitment of the Language Insight team here in the UK, and overseas. This is an incredible boost for us and an exciting time for the business."

I look forward to attending Buckingham Palace and meeting the other winners.

Metstok, which is based in Clitheroes' Holmes Mill produces stainless steel products specialising flat rolled (cold and hot rolled) supplied direct from the mills in India, and then from its central stocks in Antwerp and the UK.

The company distributes to 12 European markets including Germany, Hungary and Sweden. Between 2016 and 2018 export sales increased by 137 per cent and now account for 81 per cent of total sales.

Accrington's Universal Smart Cards was established in 2001 to manufacture and supply of smart products and solutions. For many years, USC has sold to customers throughout Europe and the Middle East, recently adding important contracts in South America and Australia.

The firm opened an office in San Diego, California, which led to a ten-fold us increase in international trade, which now accounts for 11 per cent of total turnover.

Sales and marketing director Paul May said: "We are all absolutely delighted to have received this award for all the hard work and commitment that the team have put into developing our international trade strategy and relationships with customers. I'd like to register my thanks to every member of the team. It's great to see the export strategy is bearing fruit.

"I have heard that previous winners say that the Queen's Award helps how business even further. I look forward to attending Buckingham Palace later this year and meeting the other winners."