A West Cumbrian firm has invested £150,000 to help it reopen and grow following the easing of the Government lockdown.

Forth Engineering, which is headquartered at Flimby, and has bases in Cleator Moor and Barrow, said it had used the lockdown period to fast-track its expansion plans ready to come back even stronger.

Mark Telford, managing director, said: “The lockdown has given us time to reflect and look at our business and it has concentrated our minds on what areas to focus on so we come out of the other side leaner and even stronger.

“We have been planning for how our sites will operate, in line with social distancing regulations, when they reopen as restrictions are eased.

“We are ready to be first in the queue to provide solutions when a range of different industries come to us with their problems."

It is creating three new offices, at a total space of 20,000sq ft, at its Flimby site so it can comply with social distancing and doubling the size of its retail space at its trade counter.

Mr Telford added: "We are doing that so we can stock PPE and other items which businesses are telling us they need.”

Its 68,000sq ft Cleator Moor base will be used as an "innovation hub", where world-first products like its pioneering FSWbot will be developed, and it is looking to employ more staff.

Mr Telford said: “We are looking to spread our people around our sites more to ensure social distancing.

"We are considering our innovation side of the business being based at Cleator Moor. It’s that technical side of the business which we need to get moving again.

“All these steps we are taking now, and have been taking, are about adapting our business to the new ways of working.

“It means that as soon as customers reopen, in whatever industry that might be, we have already made our changes and are ready to help them.”

During lockdown, the firm has continued working. It has developed new products to help fight Covid-19, including a disinfecting robot, which has now gone into production.

It also supplied more than 20,000 items of PPE, which were donated to the West Cumberland Hospital and local care homes.