Two years ago Tweddle Engineering embarked on a major expansion.
The company’s products include material-handling conveyors, specialist trailers, pressure vessels and sawmill equipment.
But it was the growing demand for its timber treatment and incising equipment – demand driven by legislative changes – that prompted expansion.
The family business, based at Kirkbride Airfield near Wigton, drew up plans for new offices enabling it to increase staff numbers, and to remove employee welfare facilities from the workshop in turn creating more production capacity and a dedicated stores area.
It obtained a £100,000 Cumbria Growth Fund grant towards the £335,000 project through the Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub.
The scheme also involved an upgrade to the front and rear of the hangar – removing the original sliding doors and replacing them with concrete panels, cladding and fast-action doors – building new stores and buying high-capacity lifting equipment.
Managing director Derek Tweddle said: “This was a big step for us and we wouldn’t have achieved it as quickly without the Growth Fund grant.
“We wouldn’t have been able to pitch in all that money ourselves in such a short timescale. The backing gave us confidence to complete the project.”
Tweddle Engineering has a large customer base in the UK for timber treatment equipment, being one of the most innovative companies in the sector. It is seeing growth in export orders because of this, helped by the recent weakness of the pound.
Derek said: “We completed an order for a customer in Denmark last year, and we are meeting numerous clients from other areas in Scandinavia.
“The UK market is reasonably strong as well. We have several orders, and orders-in-principle where we’re waiting for clients to get planning permission.”
The expansion was supposed to create six jobs and safeguard five more, but the business is set to exceed those targets.
Derek added: “We’ve recently taken on another design engineer, a project manager and we’re about to take someone on in a marketing role.”
The funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Allerdale Borough Council (Sellafield Ltd’s Allerdale SIIF, distributed by Allerdale Borough Council), Barrow Borough Council (FEDF Coastal Communities Fund Supply Chain Initiative, the Coastal Communities Fund is funded by the Government with income from the Crown Estates marine assets; it is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of UK Government), Carlisle City Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria LEP.
The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information click here.© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce