The Keighley Towns Funds have recently provided financial boosts to two local businesses, resulting in the creation of four jobs and two apprenticeships. The Capital Assistance to Business Growth Programme, a component of the government-funded Towns Fund, has earmarked £4 million to support businesses in the Keighley and Shipley areas, with approximately £2 million allocated to each. Towns Fund boards, comprising private sector representatives supported by Bradford Council, allocate grants for each town.

The funds have been utilised for various projects across the district, including facility expansion, modernisation, and upgrading of equipment to more efficient systems.

One of the recent beneficiaries is George Green of Keighley Ltd, a leading designer, supplier, and installer of pipework and fabricated metal products in the UK. Over the past two decades, George Green has collaborated with clients in the clean and wastewater industries, aiding in the successful delivery of major projects.

In the last year, George Green secured new contracts and sought to invest in new equipment. With a grant of £21,192.49 from the Keighley Towns Fund, the business acquired a dual welding console and pipe expander, allowing them to become the exclusive UK supplier of thermal sleeve and socketed pipework to the UK water market. This move eliminated the need to import such pipework into the UK and resulted in the creation of two jobs and two apprenticeships.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, explained: “It’s so positive to see how this funding is already making such a significant impact. It has directly translated into growth for the businesses who have received it so far and the welcome creation of new jobs for the area.

“Grants ranging from £1,500 to £315,000 are still available for businesses within – or looking to move to – the Keighley and Shipley Towns Fund Areas, and other businesses are invited to apply.”

Ian Hayfield, chairman of Keighley Towns Fund, said: “We are delighted to have made such a significant difference to these local businesses in a relatively short space of time. Keighley has a proud industrial heritage and a thriving and enterprising business community. There is funding available for businesses who would benefit and we’re keen to help Keighley’s businesses to grow. I would encourage anyone interested in applying to get in touch.”

Print and Direct Mail business Fretwell Print and Design, of Goulbourne Street in Keighley, recently received £19,989 towards replacing their printer with a new model. It has created two new production operative roles, to join the 48-strong team.

Joint Managing Director Andy Gillett said: “We produce high-quality printed packaging, literature and direct mail products for many large blue-chip companies and organisations both here in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

“We used the Keighley Towns Fund grant to purchase a Kyocera 4-colour inkjet machine, enabling us to increase productivity as well as saving time and resources. The machine also means we’re making an 86 per cent saving in energy consumption.

“The process in securing the grant was straightforward and we were guided through by Bradford Council. It’s an investment that means we’ll be able to grow our existing customer base and open up new markets, as the speed of service will make us even more competitive.

“I’d definitely recommend other businesses contact the team to see if they can benefit – this kind of support for local businesses is crucial in the current economic climate.”