Published: May 9th, 2018
AW Trailers, a leading manufacturer of agricultural, commercial and industrial trailers which this year celebrates 25 years in business, has expanded its current manufacturing base in Madley, Herefordshire and created new jobs, after receiving a grant from Herefordshire Council.
The grant, worth almost £58,000, is part of the Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and aimed at funding extensions, renovations and reconfigurations to commercial premises so that businesses can realise growth ambitions. For AW Trailers, this has meant a new extension to its existing manufacturing centre to meet increased demand for bigger and more complex trailers.
Founded in 1993 in small rented premises with just three employees, AW Trailers has grown steadily over the years and moved to its current base in 2001. Two extensions followed as the business adapted to meet market need. However, with the employee headcount at 25, two years ago the decision was made that further expansion was necessary to meet the increasingly diverse nature of the agricultural market. Director Andrew Watkins explains:
"With over 25 years’ experience, we’ve witnessed demand for much larger trailers increase steadily and with this has come increasingly complex design requirements. The agricultural sector, in particular, has gone through phenomenal change and the emergence of Anaerobic Digestion Plants has increased the demand for larger trailers.
"Five years ago, the average size of the trailer we manufactured had a 10/12 tonne carrying capacity, today it’s closer to 14/16 tonne – the need for larger premises was therefore clear. We were, however, keen to remain in our existing facilities and simply expand them and receiving the Marches Building Investment Grant has made that possible."
Andrew and Donna were supported throughout the application process by Caroline Cattle, MBIG Programme Manager, who comments further on the impact the grant will have on their business:
"The team at AW Trailers have taken an agile approach to meeting changing customer needs and have consequently grown the business. The extension that this grant has helped to finance has not only enabled them to press ahead with expansion now rather than having to wait, but has also created three full-time jobs immediately with a further two anticipated in the future. It’s been a pleasure to support them through this process."
The Marches Building Investment Grant totals £2.5m and is open to businesses across the entire Marches region from Herefordshire through to Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. Councillor David Harlow who holds portfolio responsibility for economic growth across Herefordshire adds:
"It is fantastic to see a home-grown Herefordshire business not only grow and diversify to meet changing market needs, but to see it supported in its further growth with a grant like this. I know Donna and Andrew felt the support provided by the grants team was invaluable throughout the whole process and I wish them all the best as they continue to grow."
Speaking on behalf of the Marches LEP, Director Gill Hamer, concludes: "AW Trailers is a vital cog in the ever-adapting agricultural supply chain and it’s great to witness the growth it’s enjoyed during what has been a period of great change to the agricultural sector. This grant will enable its further growth and I look forward to seeing its continued success in this niche market."
Open to businesses trading with other businesses (B2B), the scheme awards grants of up to 45% of the total project costs (to a maximum £100,000) and are intended to cover conversion and alteration costs. They cannot be used towards purchasing property, equipment, or ‘excessive’ landscaping costs. Nor can they be made retrospectively.
Applicants to the Marches Building Investment Grant can be either owner-occupiers or tenants although for the latter, they must have a fixed term lease with at least six years unexpired.
Residential property is exempt as are agricultural, horticultural, retail and hospitality buildings.
The scheme is expected to attract up to £3m in private sector investment in the region and lead to the creation of 130 jobs. It has been part funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme, 2014-2020.
Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme. Full details are available from Caroline Cattle and Alison Rogers on [email protected]or by calling the Marches Growth Hub team on 0345 6000 727.