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Blackburn firm's growth is child's play
FOUR years after setting up in business, and expansion has been child’s play for Paul Riley.
The Burnley-born play equipment specialist started out as a one-man operation in 2009, and now employs nine staff who have brightened up more than 400 school playgrounds nationwide.
The firm has had to move from its original base on Centurion Court to larger premises at the Blackburn Management and Technology Centre in Challenge Way.
Uni-play Ltd supplies and installs playground markings to schools and nurseries, setting up games like giant snakes and ladders and hopscotch.
They have installed their thermoplastic artwork on playgrounds at East Lancashire primary schools, including St Barnabas in Blackburn, Stoneyholme in Burnley and St Peter’s in Accrington.
The company has benefited from expert help and advice on how to grow their business by the Pennine LEAP programme. The scheme part of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire has a network of enterprise partners giving one-to-one coaching, start-up seminars, mentoring and access to finance for individulas, through groups such as Enterprise4All, Winning Pitch, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Community and Business Partners and Selnet.
Now Uni-play has re-positioned in the marketplace and is targeting new customers including global playground equipment manufacturers such as Kompan UK, the Lego distributor for the UK.
Managing director Mr Riley said: “I was working for a large company based in Burnley and decided to set up on my own. Originally it was just me but we have now done more than 400 schools nationwide and employ nine people.
“I would not hesitate to recommend the Pennine LEAP programme. “It will give you the tools, support and expertise to start and grow your new business. “It has boosted our ambitions and revenues considerably. I did not know this level of support was available for new businesses. “ Rona McFall, enterprise manager at Regenerate, said: “Uni-play found a market for playground equipment and have leaped into a new business.
“If you have an idea for a new product or business, we can help you access support to get it off the ground.”
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