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Grant aid allows manufacturer to grow

The Hub News Team | 9.5.18

One of the Midlands' leading pallet suppliers and manufacturers is set to quadruple its output, thanks to a £20,000 grant aimed to help businesses.

sarahandkieronfleetwoodofshropshirepalletsShropshire Pallets & Timber Supplies has invested £110,000 in a new state-of-the-art log-processing sawmill at its Oswestry headquarters that will allow it to vastly increase its manufacturing rate and employ two new staff.

It was supported in its grant application by the Marches Growth Hub, the business support service developed by the Marches LEP. The funding was awarded from the European Regional Development Fund's Business Growth Programme, available to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The Business Growth Programme offers grants of between £20,000 and £167,000 for small and medium-sized businesses through a range of funding schemes designed to help them grow and target new markets.

The family run business at Maes Y Clawdd Industrial Estate already employs eight full time and one part time staff members. It cuts its own pallet boards directly from the log and passes cost savings to customers.

The firm applied for the grant because it had reached full production capacity and needed to invest in a new high-speed log-processing sawmill to meet the demands of its growing order book.

Keiron Fleetwood, managing director of Shropshire Pallets & Timber Supplies, said the funding had been crucial in unlocking the remaining privately sourced investment for the new sawmill.

"We were operating at full production capacity and had outgrown our previous sawmill. The new log-processing sawmill not only yields considerably more boards per shift, but it makes production life smoother, safer, and more efficient.

"The new sawmill is allowing us to manufacture all our own pallet boards without the need to supplement with pre-cut boards to service demand. The new mill has lifted the glass ceiling that once prevented us from tendering for many new pallet contracts, and since September, we have won three new tenders and have three more large potential contracts currently in the pipeline.

"The new sawmill is already maximising board production and consequently, we're confidently predicting continued growth in our profits and that we will be further increasing our workforce to meet demand for our products."

The Business Growth Programme is promoted in Shropshire by the Marches Growth Hub, which supported the firm in its application.

Yasmin Sulaman from the Marches Growth Hub, added: "Shropshire Pallets & Timber Supplies is typical of the kind of business the Growth Programme aims to support.

"There are many SMEs in Shropshire facing similar production and funding constraints that are preventing them from growing their business. We are keen to hear from any organisation that wants to learn more about whether the Business Growth Programme can help it achieves its aims."

The Marches Growth Hub can provide guidance and support to businesses at all stages of application process. More information is available on the Marches Growth Hub website here via the MGH helpline on 0345 6000 727 or by emailing enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk

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