A RENOWNED Rossendale steelwork and engineering firm is set to create eight new jobs after investing in new machinery, with support from a Government grant.

James Killelea and Co, based in Stoneholme Road, Crawshawbooth, has landed a £75,000 grant from Regenerate Pennine Lancashire (RPL) to help with a new steel plate processing project.

The firm, which was founded in 1970, said it needed to expand after a surge in enquiries from clients working on football stadiums, hospitals and other civil engineering projects.

Peter Killelea, network administrator at the company, said the new machinery would create roles within Killelea’s assembly workshops, including designers and machine operators.

He said: “The new machinery will enable us to win more tenders and take on bigger jobs.

“Without the investment and the grant from Regenerate, we would have relied on having several processes handled by external contractors, which would have been less profitable and could have reduced our staff level over time.

“As a result, the project has not only created eight jobs, but has safeguarded a further 12.”

Mr Killelea added that the new machinery will enable the company to produce steel fittings faster, increasing competitiveness.

The grant, supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, has also been endorsed by Rossendale Council.

Coun Andy MacNae, portfolio holder for regeneration, tourism and leisure, said he hoped more firms in the Valley would work with RPL to secure funding.

He said: “It’s fantastic that Killelea are further investing in the borough with grant support from Regenerate.

“We’d urge those in other businesses to consider whether a grant could help them grow .”