ANY visitor to long-established Ainsworth Jewellers can hardly fail to pick up on the firm’s rich history.

On the wall, strategically positioned by the front door to Darwen Street, stands a family tree that traces the generations of Ainsworths back to the 19th century.

Founded in 1870 by Joseph Ainsworth, the family-run company with five staff is a Blackburn fixture. The firm is also firmly committed to the Hive network.

Director Philip Ainsworth has no doubts about how he values the firm’s links to the Hive network.

He said: “We got involved when the Hive was very much in its infancy. I have known Ian Brown for a long time and got involved when he suggested what was being set up, how it would benefit the town as a whole and how we should be involved.

“It’s about being able to be part of it all and involved in how it is developing.

“As a business we have always prided ourselves on being involved in the town and it’s nice to know that we can help Blackburn as it develops, very much as Blackburn people.”

Mr Ainsworth acknowledges that the town has gone through “seismic” changes, but believes the fruits of those changes are now starting to be seen. As for the strength of the Hive, he is unequivocal.

He said: “The strength of the Hive is very much the people involved in it. The bigger businesses on the outside of the town are very much part of this and want to work with this.

“One of the other main strengths is the communication between us. The networking is key and we can all help each other.

“We also need to look at how we can get more involved with the smaller independent businesses in the town centre and bring them in."

“We need to use each other’s expertise in making sure we can all be successful.”

So that’s a task for the Hive as it grows. But Mr Ainsworth has no doubts: “It is a huge benefit.”