NW business briefs: Bentley; Envair Tech; Premier Digital Textiles; Foundation 92; Forshaw Group; United Living Group; Delkia

CGI of new Bentley paint shop

Bentley Motors has taken the next step on its journey to become fully electric and the world’s most sustainable luxury automotive manufacturer with a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Paint Shop in Crewe. This investment transforms an 85-year-old site for a new age of electrification and confirms Bentley’s commitment to its Crewe base.

The new facility at Bentley’s carbon-neutral headquarters will be integral to the brand’s preparations for future Battery-Powered Electric Vehicle production and to set a new benchmark in next generation, digital, flexible and high-value manufacturing operations. To mark the occasion, Andreas Lehe, Bentley’s board member for manufacturing, and Jan-Henrik Lafrentz, Bentley’s board member for finance and IT, officially started construction by breaking ground.

The new 12,460 sq m paint shop will be completed in 2025 and will offer an expanded paint colour choice of near 100 individual colours to customers, uniquely celebrated as part of the exterior building design. Additionally, there will be a four-storey office building which in total will be home to more than 370 Bentley colleagues.

The new building forms part of a £2.5bn investment programme in future products and at the Pyms Lane factory in Crewe, where all Bentley models are handcrafted. Andreas Lehe said: “Breaking ground on this new state-of-the-art building is a milestone moment and supports our aim for a benchmark position in new innovative technologies, skills and facilities to enable a truly digital, highly flexible benchmark for luxury car manufacturing.

“While also modernising our site, it is a clear demonstration of our ambition and long term commitment to Crewe as we transform Bentley into the leader of sustainable luxury mobility.”

Bentley’s industry-leading Beyond100 strategy will see the company reinvent its entire product range to support an electrified future, while achieving end-to-end carbon neutral status by 2030. The company’s digital, zero environmental impact, manufacturing facility will introduce a go-to-zero approach on the environmental impacts of manufacturing and lead the luxury car industry in next generation digital applications.


Envair factory

Heywood-based clean air and containment solutions business, Envair Technology, is set to post record orders of £3.75m for Q1 2024, after a period of consolidation following the successful integration of isolator manufacturer Envair and fume cupboard producer Total Containment Solutions (TCS).

The strong start to the year has been fueled by an increase in orders from both the NHS and pharmaceutical clients, across its product range. The business, which was brought together in 2021 under new CEO Andrew Ellison, will now see revenues reach £12m in 2024 – up 25% over its first two years.

The company plans to sunset the Envair and TCS brand names and trade solely as Envair Technology going forward, which has undergone a total brand refresh. With strong pipelines and demand for its products growing from both the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, the business is projecting a turnover in excess of £20m within the next five years.

To prepare for this growth, the company has consolidated its workforce on one site, Heywood, Greater Manchester, and increased the employment of skilled engineers. The company has also brought 90% of its fabrication and manufacturing in-house, having previously outsourced approximately 50%. This has enabled the business to reduce lead times and gain more control over its supply chain.

CEO Andrew Ellison said: “What the business has been able to achieve in such a short space of time has been remarkable. By moving production on to one site, we’ve been able to reduce lead times, improve quality control and speed up R&D. This is already bearing fruit as we continue to innovate and engineer solutions for our customers.”


Two groundbreaking products have been unveiled by Bury-based Premier Digital Textiles.

A 100% recycled cotton, prepped for digital printing, and a revolutionary biodegradable polyester also designed for the digital printing sector, were unveiled at this year’s FESPA expo in Amsterdam.

Premier Digital Textiles director, Nick Smith, said: “We are thrilled to have introduced two pioneering new products during FESPA 2024. Premier Digital Textiles is committed to pushing the boundaries in the textile industry and we believe our 100% recycled cotton and biodegradable polyester do just this.”

Crafted from pre-consumer waste, Premier Digital Textiles’ 100% recycled cotton can be used in crafting, dressmaking, tote bags and more. The 100% polyester with biodegradable technology aims to reduce microfibre pollution and synthetic accumulation by degrading in landfill like natural materials.

Nick added: “FESPA is an exhibition that brings many important industry figures together to share ideas and gain insights. There’s no doubt that this year’s event raised the bar in terms of the role we all must play when it comes to combining sustainability with the very best technology. Premier Digital Textiles champions the digital textile printing industry and specialises in delivering high quality textiles that redefine industry standards.”


Salford-based charity, Foundation 92, which supports people in improving their lives through sport and education, has recorded an impactful year of aid, delivering more than 17,000 hours of provision across all programmes.

Several programmes have been delivered including #F92DecembertoRemember campaign which saw the charity personally donate more than 2,000 gifts to local communities. This comes on the back of the charity developing a range of highly innovative, bespoke and life-changing areas of work supporting in excess of 13,000 individuals in 2023 across a number of programmes including the ‘Dementia Friendly’ programme delivering over 500 visits and the Bee Network promoting restorative justice, behaviour change and youth work.

Foundation 92’s range of innovative programmes specialise in health and wellbeing, employability skills, community inclusion, youth outreach, and tackling homelessness. As a result of the charity’s efforts to tackle social immobility, more than 500 food packs were donated to families in need across Salford. Alongside this, 140 individual spaces were made available at F92 Holiday Activity camps during the school holidays for those receiving free school meals.

A selection of other pioneering programmes has been developed including the Rail Network which promotes behaviour change and positive mobility, the launch of the new Wellbeing Hub, education delivery which has supported more than 5,000 people over the past 12 months and a wider anti-social behaviour campaign which has seen 6,000 young people supported.

Tom Hutton, head of Foundation 92, said: “We’re proud to mark another successful year across Salford, but the work doesn’t stop there. We’re continuously striving to reach as many people as possible in our community, whether that’s through mental health and wellbeing initiatives, or physical activity programmes, we understand the impact our support can have.”


Knowsley-based The Forshaw Group celebrated its revival of the Huyton with Roby Sea Cadets building last month. The community volunteer refurbishment project was carried out in a week by the property restoration specialist’s INS-Pire Training and Apprenticeship Academy and Knowsley Apprenticeship Partnership.

Ten of The Forshaw Group’s first, second and third year apprentices took part in the renovation and were supervised by their respective trade mentors. It was a morning of celebration and attended by guests including Forshaw Group’s managing director, Liam Hanlon, and Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mark Blundell.

The refurbishment came about following a chance conversation between Liam Hanlon and Jan Cox at an Armed Forces Covenant meeting. The Forshaw Group was awarded Gold Armed Forces Covenant Award status in July 2022. As part of the INS-Pire Apprenticeship Academy, its apprentices take part in a number of ‘enhancement days’ alongside their trade-specific NVQs and training. These days include Community, Charity, and Challenge/Adventure days to attract, train and retain the next generation in its industry.

This refurbishment project was chosen as its community project, which also supported The Forshaw Group’s business volunteering hours with Knowsley Chamber of Commerce’s Working Well Together Initiative. Laim Hanlon said: “I would like to thank the apprentices and all those who took part in the project as part of our commitment to all the organisations present today.”

Jan Cox, the Regional Employer Engagement Director for Merseyside, said: “It’s wonderful to see the Armed Forces Covenant in action. A huge thank you to Knowsley Chambers and The Forshaw Group for honouring their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.”


United Living Group, a provider of infrastructure, affordable housing, property services and telecoms, has revealed that its Warrington-based subsidiary, United Living Connected (ULC), has secured a major contract with Cornerstone, a key UK mobile infrastructure services company.

The contract will see ULC deliver a comprehensive suite of telecommunications services, including site acquisition, planning, design, and construction, across Cornerstone’s UK footprint. It will also enlarge Cornerstone’s partner network, enabling digital infrastructure growth and improved connectivity for its customers.

This partnership is expected to set new industry standards, leveraging ULC’s experience, scale and expertise and Cornerstone’s drive for delivery excellence to enable high speed digital services for local communities and businesses across the UK.

Scott MacGregor, Operations Director, United Living Connected, said: “This contract is a testament to our team’s hard work, dedication, and innovation in the telecommunications sector and underscores ULC’s commitment to providing top tier services to enable critical digital connectivity across the UK. We look forward to delivering exceptional value and support to Cornerstone, ensuring they can meet and exceed their strategic objectives in the years ahead.”

Andy Train, Chief Network Officer, Cornerstone, said: “Cornerstone is on a mission to bridge the digital divide and ensure businesses and communities across the country can benefit from seamless digital connectivity. We welcome United Living Connected to our partner family and look forward to great results.”


Pete Hudson, Delkia

A grant of £49,887 from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovating for Success scheme has unlocked a flagship research and development project for Delkia, which is based in Whitehaven, Egremont and Preston.

Delkia provides some of the most complex, high performing control systems in the UK. In its 11th year, the company, which operates in highly regulated sectors including nuclear, aerospace and maritime, is on track to make £10m+ in revenue.

Project Bumblebee, at a total cost of £99,775, is its first research and development project. It is focused on developing a technology that will allow the rapid development of safe, vehicle control systems for submarines, ships, aircraft and other complex defence and commercial systems.

Pete Hudson, Delkia’s Research and Development Manager said: “We used the investment to take Bumblebee to a proof-of-concept demonstrator, using a remote-controlled submarine. The Cumbria LEP grant has helped us to establish the Bumblebee team and to buy essential computing and equipment. Project Bumblebee has allowed us to turn an innovative idea into intellectual property and add value to our rapidly growing company.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria LEP, said: “It is great to see the difference that the Innovating for Success grant programme has made to Delkia’s project Bumblebee. This is an excellent example of why we launched Innovating for Success. It was to encourage small and medium sized businesses across Cumbria to invest in either innovating or decarbonising their business.”