BURNLEY’S ‘unique’ Bondholders scheme has European success in its sights after helping the town to a national enterprise award – and winning approval from the Prime Minister.
The project is one of just two British entries into the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Lithuania in November.
And the group, which was praised by the prime minister in Parliament yesterday, said it had received a ‘constant stream of enquiries’ since Burnley was named the most enterprising area of the UK by the government last week.
David Cameron was prompted to hail Burnley’s success after the borough’s MP Gordon Birtwistle spoke during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session.
After lively debate on the Middle East and the proposed lobbying bill, Mr Birtwistle asked: “Would my Right Honourable Friend wish to congratulate the many businesses in Burnley who are members of the Burnley Bondholders scheme on their achievement?”
Mr Cameron said: “I certainly congratulate businesses large and small in Burnley for the enterprise they have shown. The fact about this recovery is it is a private sector-led recovery.
“That is what we needed after the massive, excessive government spending and it has been very good that businesses up and down the country, including in Burnley, have done so much to take people on and get our economy moving.”
Kevin Keith, brand manager for Burnley Bondholders, said the scheme had even attracted interest from firms based outside the town.
He said: “That would defeat the object of what we’re trying to do but it shows how good the scheme is.
“The fact that we’re up alongside the Premier League for the European award in Vilnius shows how far we’ve come.
“It sounds odd, but why not? We have companies who are the best at what they do, providing sound equipment for Hollywood movies and making parts for the biggest planes in the world.
“There is a sense of togetherness and unity in making Burnley stand out from the crowd.
“We work as a collective. What makes the Bondholders unique is that everyone pays for the privilege of promoting this town.”
The scheme has embraced 125 organisations, which employ around 4,000 people.
Andy Brown, managing director at Crow Wood Leisure and a Bondholders’ member, said: “In the Bondholders, because we know each other, we can use each other’s facilities to our advantage to attract investment.
“I think the award is great. It shows that Burnley is not a basket case – it’s doing better than most places.
“The Bondholders have helped sell that positive image.”
Former Burnley College student Nigel Eastwood, founder and chief executive of New Call Telecom, was due to appear on BBC’s The One Show last night.
The firm switched its main contact centre from Mumbai, India, to Simonstone in 2011.
He said: “This is a brilliant place to run a business with a skilled workforce and a real enterprise culture. New Call has enjoyed strong growth since its move to Burnley, and we are excited about the next stage of our development.”