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Jobs created and safeguarded thanks to grant awards to eight Fenland businesses

New jobs will be created and others safeguarded thanks to the award of grants totalling £192,788 to eight Fenland businesses.

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Fenland District Council's economic growth arm Fenland for Business made the awards following the first round of bids to the UK Shared Prosperity Investment in Business Fund.

The programme has an additional £450k to award to Fenland businesses in the next financial year, with full details coming soon.

It comes after the council, in partnership with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, successfully secured cash from the Government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Shared Prosperity Fund to support businesses to innovate and grow.

"Hugely valuable way of supporting innovation, jobs and growth"

Cllr Ian Benney, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder for Economic Growth, said: "We're delighted to see these grants awarded to eight vital Fenland businesses that provide employment and opportunities in our district to help us attract and retain talented people.

"This scheme requires match-funding from businesses meaning that these awards represent overall investment in Fenland's economy that is far greater than just the total grants awarded.

"We know grant schemes like the Investment in Business programme are a hugely valuable way of supporting innovation, jobs and growth which has a positive impact for our whole community. We look forward to opening the next round of bidding to spread the benefits even further across Fenland."

It is estimated the grants will or have led to the creation of 17 jobs and have helped to safeguard 12 roles by giving businesses stability and the ability to grow. The pump priming funds provided by the grants will be matched with a total of more than £240,000 investment by the businesses to complete their projects.

"A great award for us but also for the local economy"

One successful applicant Chris Garner, Finance Manager at March precision engineering company Qualitetch Components, said: "The new grant means in a time of continuing cost pressures both for companies and for individual employees, we can keep existing jobs secure and further expand our operations, increasing the demand for skilled workers in our region and contributing to the growth of our local community."

Another, Lee Wilmot, managing director, of R-Tec Services & Innovation, Wisbech, said: "Having the grant will enable us to continue investing in the very best equipment and, in turn, add additional employees to cope with new product demand."

Paul Millard, director/owner of Chatteris firm Vita-Nova Solutions, said: "As a result of the grant we will be looking at bringing in at least two new employees over the next 12 months. It's a great award for us but also for the local economy."

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: "The Combined Authority offers a range of support, advice and funding to help our local businesses to grow, stay sustainable and support good jobs and careers.

"Partnership working with Fenland District Council helps target our Shared Prosperity Funding quickly and where it will make most impact. I'm pleased to see benefits of that funding already being felt in what are tough economic times for people and employers."

Grants awarded were:

Cobra Engineering, Wisbech,specialists in design, fabrication, installation and maintenance of stainless steel and carbon steel fabrications and pipework within the manufacturing, energy, water and food industries, £33,750 to buy a 26 tonne, Euro 6 HIAB lorry that compiles with the latest low emission standards.

Environmental Science Group, March, provider of health, safety and environmental services, 9,990 for software development and to develop an e-learning programme to expand its offer.

Eco-Pak Ltd, based in Chatteris, which packs salads for mainstream retailers, received support to the value of £10,921 to convert its 14,000 sq ft packhouse lighting to an LED system, which will show at least a 50% reduction in energy & cost. 

Qualitetch Components, March, precision engineering company that designs, develops, and manufactures bespoke components for a wide range of industries, £32,334 for specialist machinery.

R-Tec Services & Innovation, Wisbech, which provides installation, servicing and maintenance of commercial catering equipment, £15,647 to expand its bespoke range of stainless-steel products for commercial kitchens.

Vita-Nova Solutions, Chatteris, which designs, manufactures and installs bespoke automation solutions for businesses, £26,487, to launch a new website with specific functionality, revamp its existing website and buy a new Industrial 3D Printer to manufacture parts. The grant will help with the development of an entirely new product in the robotics market, which will be particularly valuable in the food manufacturing industry where Vita-Nova provides many automation solutions.

Volmary Ltd,Wisbech St Mary,a wholesale producer and distributer of young plants, £23,395 towards the cost of buying modern and efficient LED lighting equipment to help the plants grow outside of normal seasonality and in a more sustainable way than current systems allow.

FRP Group Holdings, Wisbech, manufacturing consultancy that supports companies worldwide in component and assembly development, £40,264 for system and software upgrades.

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November 2023

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