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Monday, 24 November 2014

Cumbrian firm’s jobs hope after £45,000 grant boost

A company which built the first-ever artificial pitch for a professional rugby club is now the first to receive a new grant which it hopes will create eight new jobs.

Turf maker photo
Steven Szostak and Luke Dicicco, from Energy Coast, with SiS managing director Phil Nichols

Support in Sport (SiS), which is based in Maryport, has been awarded £45,000 by the Britain’s Energy Coast’s (BEC) Investing in Business scheme.

The firm is responsible for the pitch at Allianz Park, home to north London club Saracens.

Paul Nichols, SiS managing director, said: “We’re delighted that Britain’s Energy Coast and its funding partners the Regional Growth Fund and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, have supported our own substantial investment, which will help us to grow in the coming years and bring with it benefits to the local economy.

“We are a company at the forefront of what could be a revolution in artificial sports pitches and our work at the Saracens rugby club ground demonstrated that. These are exciting times for SiS.”

SiS plans to spend the money on new equipment for its production line.

It will also buy carpet-laying devices for setting up pitches.

The firm will be one of the first in the UK to own these, and hopes this will give it a competitive advantage.

It will also hire it out to parts of its group in other countries in Europe and the Middle East.

The company currently employs 25 people and says this investment will help increase its revenues over the next four years to create the new positions.

Its previous projects have included constructing surfaces and training pitches for some of the world’s leading football clubs, including Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

The grant to SiS will form part of a wider £180,000 investment in new equipment that the company is making.

The BEC programme is making use of £5.6 million of funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and another £1m from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

David Jones, head of projects, energy and business support at BEC, said: “I’m delighted the first Investing in Business grant has gone to Support in Sport. The firm combines hard economic outputs with an ambition to compete on a national and international stage, selling and installing a quality product.

“It is an important employer in Maryport and a good example of the kind of hidden gems that make west Cumbria’s business fabric so vibrant and diverse.”

Businesses based – or hoping to move to – Allerdale and Copeland and involved in manufacturing, processing, engineering or fabrication, can apply for grants of £10,000 or more.

The deadline for grant applications is Monday, September 30.

For full details see www.britainsenergycoast.co.uk/investing-business

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