GORDON BIRTWISTLE: Meeting stars of local business across Burnley

Gordon Birtwistle
Gordon Birtwistle

I HAVE been extremely busy with industry visits. I have been trying hard over recess to visit as many businesses in Burnley and Padiham, large and small, as I can to find out how things are going.

It is so important we support Burnley businesses and do what we can to fight to bring investment and jobs into our area. I have been really impressed by the quality of the businesses I’ve visited – get in touch if would like me to visit your business in the next few weeks.

First off I visited independent travel agents Brunlea Travel in Hammerton Street. They confirmed they are busy, despite the competitiveness of the travel industry, due to the loyalty shown by the people of Burnley. I was extremely impressed by the work of this local firm, using their knowledge and expertise to provide an excellent service for local people.

Next I visited Autograph Cars, based in Parker Lane near the police station in Burnley. It was fascinating to see the work of this local company – they supply and fit car audio equipment, and do specialist automotive tuning, modification and customisation. They acknowledged that the economy is difficult, but they are still doing well.

On Wednesday I visited York Nurseries in Todmorden Road. This family-run children’s nursery caters for children from birth to 12 years, with places for 120 children, employing 26 qualified staff, and providing a valuable service so members of the family can go out to work and contribute to the prosperity of our town. Later that day I visited CM Training in New Hall Street, Burnley. It was really interesting to learn about this great local firm, which does forklift truck training, and enable people out of work to acquire skills to get back into work.

Next I visited Michael Toms Stationers, on Network 65, a really impressive company, one of our area’s quiet successes. This firm not only provides stationery for local companies, but delivers fantastic art and craft workshops for residents. These include how to make your own greeting cards, wedding invitations and jewellery. They also have a craft and coffee club on Thursdays.

On Thursday, I visited two major engineering companies, BCW and MB Aerospace. I was really pleased to hear both firms are extremely busy, and have contracts that would run for at least five years. Furthermore, it’s great to learn BCW is looking to take on an extra 150 extra skilled workers.

Towards the end of the week I visited estate agent Harris and Moss for discussions about the housing market. They confirmed the market is quiet, but business is still being done, albeit at a lower level than before the economic crash several years ago.

On Friday I also visited Fundatots, a fantastic summer holiday sports play camp, run at Burnley College, where I met the scheme’s director, Kieran Fletcher. I was impressed by the play camp – there must have been more than 80 children having a whale of a time taking part in sport and exercise, something which is so important for children.

Talking about the importance of sport, on Saturday I was invited to Turf Moor to meet the first students who have enrolled to attend the new University of Football Business opening in Burnley. It is the only one in the world, and young people from all over the UK were in attendance. It was great to talk to them and hear how positive they are about being educated at this college and their future careers within the football industry – a multi-million pound global business which employs tens of thousands of people.

Finally, as it is recess, I was able to get to some community group meetings last week – Burnley Lane Action Group and Enismore Community Centre. It was extremely interesting to catch up with local community groups, hear what is going on in their areas and listen to any problems they are experiencing.