Furniture manufacturer strengthened with £2.8m loan

From left: Tony Darley (Buoyant), Rob Weston (Barclays), Mike Aramayo (Buoyant), Steve Berry (Barclays)

Nelson-based furniture manufacturer Buoyant Upholstery has secured a £2.8m funding package from Barclays through the Government backed Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The new facility will provide additional flexibility and headroom to help the business through the COVID-19 crisis by providing a second funding line.

This ensures Buoyant emerges stronger should there be a second lockdown after what has been a difficult time for the industry.

Having started out in Nottinghamshire and operated for more than a century, the company is now based at Oakbank Mill in Nelson.

It manufactures sofas in its two production facilities housed in adjacent sites covering 332,000 sq ft and employing nearly 600 staff.

When the country went into lockdown, it, like many others, had to furlough the majority of the workforce.

However, the company’s management took the decision to bring in its sewing machinists and use its factory to help the NHS, by cutting around 30,000 PPE gowns per week.

Buoyant Upholstery chairman, Joel Rosenblatt, said: “We’ve been banking with Barclays for more than 20 years so I was delighted with the practical support they were able to offer once our manufacturing had been temporarily suspended.

“This additional facility only goes further to support the business with greater flexibility and headroom through what may be uncertain times ahead should a second lockdown come into force.

Buoyant managing director, Mike Aramayo, said: “Despite the challenges and with Barclays support, as one of the largest manufacturers of upholstery in the UK, we had a lot of sewing capacity and a lot of capability to support the national effort.

“It has been an extraordinary period in our history, but I am proud of the dedication and resilience shown by our staff and we see this as our small contribution to the important work our healthcare professionals are doing on the front line every day.”

Steve Berry, Barclays relationship director, said: “Buoyant Upholstery is a long-standing client who, prior to COVID-19, were performing extremely well.

“The CLBIL funding gives the business the additional headroom it needs and we’re confident the business will emerge stronger and continue on its exciting growth journey once normal trading resumes.”