The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have launched the first ever UK Business Heroes campaign, an inspiring nationwide search to find and pay tribute to the fantastic businesses that have ‘gone the extra mile’ in the wake of this year’s devastating pandemic.

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce proudly nominated 16 businesses from the region to be highlighted as UK Business Heroes of 2020, and as a testament to the strength of the nominations, all were accepted by BCC for national recognition.

Nominated for different reasons by Chambers of Commerce, each Hero business has stood out by demonstrating resilience, adaptation, community spirit and a selfless approach to the challenges of 2020’s economic crisis.

We are proud to announce that our regional UK Business Heroes are:

Miranda Barker, Chief Executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, congratulated the nominees on their success:

“The situation we have all found ourselves in certainly shows the power of our local business’ fighting spirit. In the face of extreme adversity, we have been presented with some thoroughly admirable Lancastrians whom we are so proud to celebrate. 

“Well done to all of our UK Business Heroes, each deserving of recognition for their unique contributions in these challenging times, and to all of those many firms who have contributed in similar ways unseen.”

Truly inspiring stories

The pandemic saw UK Business Heroes use their resources in altruistic and inventive ways to step up and serve their communities in times of crisis, resulting in some truly inspiring stories – from Crow Wood Leisure opening their kitchens and hotel doors free-of-charge to key workers and those in need whilst under immense pressure, to Blackburn Youth Zone, who took their much-needed services online to make themselves accessible to the area’s young people 24/7.

Star Academies also adapted their offering to become fully functional online, whilst also raising over £40,000 via the Star Coronavirus Appeal and £350,000 worth of food and hygiene donations secured from local and national retailers.

As a region of manufacturers, many of our UK Business Heroes repurposed their equipment to do everything they could in creating vital supplies for the NHS, with some supplying to the new Nightingale Hospitals. The Chamber recognises the efforts of Herbert Parkinson Ltd, UK Insulations Ltd, Perspex International Ltd, Panaz Ltd, PDS (CNC) Engineering Ltd, WEC Group Ltd, Bright Engineering Ltd and The Senator Group in defying the odds to create such supplies in their masses, from hospital gowns to face visors, ventilators, PPE, scrubs, and hospital furniture.

James Places, located in Clitheroe, saw a devastating effect on their 8 pubs, restaurants and food venues. They recognise Warren Bennett as a true hero for rallying to look after his staff and feed local families whilst under immense strain – and so do we.

Heritage Envelopes are celebrated for the creation of over 20 job vacancies in these difficult times, as they invested in 3 new machines to manufacture green paper bags for speciality breads.

Weave Together

Another inspiring story saw two local business leaders, Tony Garner of Viva PR and Jamie Kelly of Studio Up North, collaborate to create Weave Together – a platform to champion and showcase the amazing range of businesses in their local Rossendale Valley, providing much-needed visibility.

Tony said, “We just want to try and help our local community however we can in the current crisis and felt this to be a good way.”

Finally, East Lancs Chamber recognises the efforts of PDS (CNC) Engineering Ltd, headed by Annette Weekes. Working in partnership with the Chamber to set up www.covid19cluster.co.uk, Annette pulled together a wide group of manufacturers across Lancashire and NHS engagement routes to provide a gateway for much needed items. Here they can list their crossover products and types of manufacturing skills on offer, then match them to the known and emerging needs from the NHS.

Annette said, “What a fantastic surprise! National recognition for our whole PDS team of Heroes. Many thanks to East Lancs Chamber for the nomination and support.”

View the letter of congratulations to all UK Business Heroes from HRH The Countess of Wessex here.

For further Chamber news, please click here.