Liverpool City Region LEP programme delivers jobs boost

The Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Local Authority administered Business Growth Grant programme is helping 17 businesses to generate and secure over 800 jobs in the City Region.

Administered grants

Grants totalling almost £4 million are leveraging a further £24.5 million in private sector investment funding projects as diverse as expanded production facilities, software upgrades and the purchase of new machinery.

The grants range in size form £830,000 to just under £60,000 and are the first to be provided to businesses from a £15 million Programme funded through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund which was secured by the LEP, in partnership with the six Local Authorities, for 2013 and 2014.

Companies benefitting from the grants include those operating in aerospace, automotive and food production sectors drawn from across the City Region. They included 17 companies in total which received grants totalling £3,985,381.

In total 403 new jobs will be created with a further 409 existing jobs being secured through these projects alone. The Programme is expected to support approximately 2,000 jobs when completed.

Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP, Robert Hough said:

“The delivery of economic growth in the City Region is the key purpose of the LEP and these grants are just one part of our arsenal. The grants are designed to unlock private sector investment in the region and it is clear that this round of funding has delivered on that objective.

“We scrutinise the bids we receive with our Local Authority partners to ensure they are going to have a positive economic impact and would urge businesses looking to invest to contact as soon as possible as the majority of the funding is now allocated on this Programme.”

A Business Growth Grant can fund between 10 and 20 per cent of a project and can include capital expenditure such as new plant, equipment, buildings, or adaptations; investment in new technologies; systems; software and training aid.

Funding remains in the Business Growth Grant Programme for funding similar projects. Details of how to apply can be found at the LEP website.

Case study: WJ Leech

Bootle based WJ Leech is a family-owned manufacturer and designer of trailer curtains and hardware to the road haulage and logistics sector. Current MD, David Leech, oversees operations for his 50 staff which include his daughter who marks the fifth generation of the Leech family involved in the business.

Founded by David’s great grandfather in 1920 when he bought the Leeds-Liverpool Canal Tarpaulin Company, WJ Leech is now one of the largest English based company in the sector and counts some of the country’s principal road trailer suppliers such as Cartwright and Montracon among its main customers.

A Business Growth Grant of £85,000 has realised the investment in new printing technology in the shape of a £450,000 Rho printer manufactured by the Durst company which is regarded as the world leader. Using water rather than oil-based inks, the new system is more environmentally friendly and is capable of printing at 1000 dpi.

David Leech said:

“This printer has catapulted us into the 21st century. Our production times have fallen dramatically and we can now produce trailer curtains with the most intricate designs in a fraction of the time it would previously have taken us. It is a complete game changer for us and the new capacity we have is filling up quickly.

“It allows us to provide the very best quality to our customers in the shortest possible time. Our original system of hand painting stencilled designs remains a key part of our business but with customers demanding ever more imaginative designs and messages on the trailers, this printer allows us to remain competitive and keep growing as a company.”

InvestSefton, Sefton Council’s Business Support and Investment Service, helped David develop the project and awarded the £85,000 grant to the business.

Peter Dowd, Leader of Sefton Council, said:

“We’re delighted to be delivering the Business Growth Grant in Sefton via our InvestSefton service; with over £1.2m allocate to 15 Sefton businesses so far.

“I’m particularly pleased that we have been able to support a long established business such as WJ Leech, both in terms of helping them in developing the project and awarding and managing the grant funding. WJ Leech have proven that they can adapt and thrive to the changes of the market place and we are looking forward to continuing to work with David and the team in assisting them in achieving their growth plans. WJ Leech’s commitment to local employment opportunities, utilising our Sefton@Work service, is welcome and will ensure that local residents can benefit from this exciting investment.”


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