Meet the contenders in this year’s Wigan Business Awards

Musical activities at the Old Courts
Musical activities at the Old Courts
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THERE are only days to go now before this year’s big reveal at the Wigan Business Awards.

The Novemnber 20 gala dinner at the DW Stadium will see the winners of nine categories unveiled in the annual competition organised by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

Today we meet the contenders for two more of the trophies.

We’re Backing Wigan Award – Sponsored by Wigan Observer

This award will recognise the enterprise, particularly a social enterprise or charity, which has secured publicity for itself, and helped to raise the profile of Wigan borough; and understood the needs of its local community and aims to help the borough through difficult economic times.

Arts at the Mill CIC trading as The Old Courts is a project that has been running since 2010 as a small Arts Project, and in 2014 took over the Old Courthouse Gerrard Winstanley House on Crawford Street, Wigan town centre.

The company has created a performing arts and enterprise centre from a site in desperate need of repair, all through the proceeds of live performing arts and artistic studio rental. With no equity funding and no capital investment the team successfully have managed to employ more than 20 staff in various disciplines from office administration, sound engineering, theatre technicians and many more. The impact the project has had on the local economy has been profound bringing upwards of 4,000 tourists and using the money generated to grow the project.

Spokesman David Jenkins said: “Key to the success of any community engagement project is community awareness and credibility and we feel that the We’re Backing Wigan Award would add great credibility and coverage of our project. In addition to this the project involves many volunteers who work tirelessly in alignment with the project aims and this award would be significant recognition of all the hard work that has gone into the project.”

Ashton, Wigan & District YMCA aims to meet the social, physical, spiritual and educational needs of groups and individuals in their community, through developing and offering, quality based initiatives, activities and programmes, so that people can truly belong, contribute and thrive. The organisation strives to create an environment that is free from discrimination and prejudice which helps and encourages all participants regardless of age to reach their full potential.

Spokeswoman Sue Benson said: “Winning a Wigan Business Award would mean so much to our organisation. Last year we were runners-up in two categories and have a passion for showcasing our work with the aim to receive maximum publicity to promote our work and expand services. Winning the award would give the seal of approval for our valuable work. We are here to help the people in the Wigan borough and expand partnership working and publicity is a key tool to getting our message across and promoting interest.”

Lowri Beck feels that its success began in 2002 after chairman and MD Bob Vernon bought the business back in his own right as the sole owner. It has become a reliable and dependable business of choice in the utility meter fixing, reading and data services market in the UK. Lowri Beck delivers services on a national basis from the Scottish Isles to the Isle of Wight, operating from their headquarters in Wigan town centre. As an independent business, one of the most noticeable things about Lowri Beck is its promotion of a friendly, fun and hardworking work environment. Employees are regularly rewarded for their productivity by being invited to attend numerous local events that Lowri Beck sponsors including Wigan Athletic and the Wigan 10K.

Spokesman Thomas Potter said: “Winning the We’re Backing Wigan business award would be a great boost for the heart of Lowri Beck – our people! Not least to the 430 employees located in our six Wigan offices, of which 332 live in the Wigan area; the vast majority of our team. Because of this, gaining recognition for our efforts over the past couple of years would be extremely important to us, as we really do care about our company and our achievements in the community; especially as the majority of our employees live and grew up in Wigan.”

Small or Medium Enterprise of the Year – Sponsored by Stephensons Solicitors

The award seeks to recognise an SME or enterprise from any industry that has been operating for at least two years and turnover up-to £5 million. Judging criteria will be based on innovation, expertise and a solid vision for the future growth of the company.

Tyldesley Veterinary Centre is one of the only practices in the area, and one of a few hundred in the UK, that carry out exclusive laparoscopic surgery which has become the gold standard for a wide range of operations in humans because it is associated with reduced post-operative pain. Its principle veterinary surgeon, Gareth Jones, holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal and Orthopaedic Surgery from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgery, which allows the practice to be a specialist surgical centre and take referrals from other veterinary surgeons.

The practice is a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons training practice, which allows it to offer clinical training and work experience essential to qualification as a veterinary nurse.

Spokeswoman Zophia Keating-Jones said: “Winning a Wigan Business Award would mean a great deal to our company as over the last two years we have experienced a huge overhaul of the company: re-branding, expanding services, training and premises. Throughout this time we have continued our services without any disruption to clients while the whole team has pulled together and worked to ensure client consistency and care has not been compromised. We are now able to offer more advanced unique veterinary care and to have that recognised would mean a great deal to our staff.”

Ashton, Wigan and District YMCA says it is committed to raising the standards of all services by continuous improvement and by widening the range of opportunities for all members and participants. In doing this we must ensure that we meet the needs of individuals in our community. Our aim is to ensure the organisation contributes to the Wigan values by:

• Creating opportunities for young people, expanding our training services and holiday clubs;

• Supporting the local economy to grow, sourcing placement and employment opportunities to allow people to earn a decent wage and gain meaningful qualifications

• Helping communities to support each other, linking with likeminded organisations to support the community and use the premises as a pivotal community resource

Building services around residents and their families, expanding our housing provision, offering support services: dementia, cancer support and befriending groups for the over-65s.

• Listening, being open, honest and friendly

• Believing in our borough.

3P Logistics Ltd is a freight management, warehousing and distribution company that prefers to shape its service offering based on direct client feedback. It provides warehousing and logistical support to a wide range of online and offline businesses at SME level. Unlike most blue chip operators the team offers guidance to entry level businesses as well as helps more established businesses to expand overseas. 3P Logistics’ business revolves around the fulfilment of orders for online retail and it has developed an extensive range of ecommerce support services to help breed a new wave of “virtual entrepreneurs.”

Spokesman Ian Walker said: “In conjunction with Positive Outcomes (a leading National training provider) 3PL has supported a logistics apprenticeship programme since 2011. Throughout this time we have brought numerous apprentices through the ranks to full-time employment status. To win an award in this category would be a fitting testimony to the original decision to adopt the scheme and a just acknowledgement to the apprentices that now form an integral part of the 3PL team. As an ex apprentice himself, our present day MD simply believes that everyone deserves a chance.”

l Power Efficient Systems Ltd offers individual energy efficiency solutions or projects in both commercial and domestic markets and has developed two new energy saving systems under the brand of EnergyAce to target rollout contracts with large multi-site retail organisations and 25 million homes in the UK. In one year, PES has: achieved a move to larger premises (tripling manufacturing; doubled turnover; created eight new employee positions; created the brand EnergyAce and fully rebranded the company; and saw Gary Vizard, the MD, awarded the status of Ambassador to the Goldman Sachs High Growth Business Program.

Spokesman Gary Vizard said: “An award would further raise the company’s credibility, and an increase in positive publicity to aid further growth and promote education in the values of EnergyAce and the delivery of energy efficiency solutions.

“It would also mean a validation of all the hard work and dedication of the EnergyAce team, stakeholders and supporters.”