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Manufacturer fit to grow thanks to grant help

An internationally-renowned Shropshire manufacturer of fitness equipment is expanding and taking on new staff thanks to help from a funding programme supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.

BeaverFit – which operates from a 3.5 acre site at Leebotwood near Shrewsbury – has built a new manufacturing workshop and showroom/office area and created five new jobs after receiving £97,582 from the Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG).

The family-owned company says the expansion is vital to meet a surge in demand for its products across Europe and a predicted 20 per cent rise in turnover over the next year. The company was launched by endurance sports competitor Tom Beaver in 2010 and has rapidly become a world-leader in manufacturing functional training rigs (FTR) and transportable and self-contained gyms.

Tom said:  “Our products have recently been accepted into the UK armed forces policy for domestic and overseas deployments. As a result we have seen a huge rise in interest from allied NATO nations, including US Forces situated throughout Europe and beyond.

“We are expecting our turnover to increase by a fifth but needed to improve our base so we can manufacture more on site and also provide a facility to showcase our products to new and existing customers. The support we have had from the MBIG team has been first class. This grant has been instrumental in us being able to build the new workshop and showroom and really take the company on to the next level.”

The MBIG programme has recently been extended with a new £2.2million programme offering grants of up to £150,000 to help meet the cost of building new premises, or extending and reconfiguring existing ones. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Marches Growth Hub.

Programme Manager Caroline Cattle said: “We are delighted to have been able to support BeaverFit in the next stage of their growth plans. This support will ensure further expansion and more new jobs for a real Shropshire success story.”

Gill Hamer, chief executive of the Marches LEP, said BeaverFit was an excellent example of how support could help companies to grow.

“BeaverFit is helping to put Shropshire and the Marches on the map with its commitment to excellence in everything it does. This support will ensure the company continues to grow and creates new jobs and prosperity.”

The MBIG programme, which is delivered by Herefordshire Council, awards funding for projects that create new jobs or products and meets up to half the cost of successful applications, meaning that projects costing up to £300,000 could secure a grant of £150,000. The scheme covers B2B businesses and does not include retail, social welfare or agricultural companies.

Pictured: MBIG programme manager Caroline Cattle with Jim Beaver of BeaverFit

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