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A long and successfully established family business in Northumberland has recently received funding from the North East Rural Growth Network to support their expansion.

Thornton Brothers Ltd have operated in Northumberland for over 40 years and have been awarded £48,800 from the North East Rural Growth Network.

Thornton Brothers Ltd diversified into bus refurbishment after previously being involved in truck refurbishment and manufacture of recovery vehicles. The business has since emerged as a leading player in the national bus refurbishment market and boasts national customers such as Arriva, Abellio and London United.

The expansion of the business follows a strong 24 months, where the business has experienced strong growth and demand. Arch recognised that the project was a good fit with the Rural Business Growth Scheme through support delivered as part of the Business Northumberland programme and an assigned high growth coach helped the company to prepare an application and the resultant grant award reduced the risks, enabling the project to proceed.

The company had previously specialised in coachworks and this expansion will enable it to also undertake mechanical and electrical work, providing a one stop shop service to its customers. The growth will lead to fifteen new full-time positions over the following two years, boosting opportunities in the local labour market.

Director of Thornton Brothers Ltd, George Thornton, explains how the funding has helped to develop the capacity of the business: “The support of the grant funding and the delivery team from Arch and Business Northumberland has been invaluable for the continued growth of our business and our ability to create more jobs for local people. The funding will help us to purchase and install a bus MOT testing lane with equipment, a testing pit and two heavy vehicle lifts. Our continued expansion is as a result of the quality of our service, and this has been evidenced by the faith shown in our business from the North East Rural Growth Network”.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The Rural Growth Network promotes economic growth in our rural areas by supporting businesses through funding and expertise. Thornton Brothers Ltd is an example of a strong rural business which has the potential to develop further and it’s fantastic to see that the planned expansion will lead to the creation of new jobs in the North East rural economy.”

Arch Chair Cllr Richard Wearmouth added: “It’s great that such a long-established and successful company has been able to benefit from this funding. It’s an excellent example of a county-based company expanding and creating extra jobs and we’re delighted to support its continued expansion.”

In addition to expansion, the inclusion of electrical power transmission maintenance will future-proof the business as the switch to electric power continues.

The North East Rural Growth Network is designed to support small rural businesses with capital investment projects. In 2015, the Rural Growth Network secured £6 million capital investment from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal - Local Growth Fund. This investment will support businesses in the rural areas of Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland until 2020.

You can find out more about the North East Rural Growth Network grant schemes and how to apply by contacting the delivery team who are based at Arch.

Katy McIntosh : 01670 528489
Chris Walker : 01670 528476

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