AN East Lancashire engineering firm has secured a loan to maintain its ability to trade through the coronavirus crisis.

Bacup-based Bark Engineering's funding has come via the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and was secured with the help of Barclays.

Bark Engineering bosses say the funding will not only help the business to support its team of 20 staff, but will also enable it to fulfil big incoming enquiries, such as producing ventilator boxes to support Covid-19 medical efforts, that will continue to sustain the outfit.

Despite a strong start to the year, bosses said that when coronavirus started reducing the number of jobs coming in, the disruption to cash flow impacted their ability to fund and fulfil larger contracts.

Managing director Wendy Etheridge said: “This year started with a bang and was just getting better and better. However, when coronavirus came out of the blue, we weren’t sure if we could keep going.

“We had big enquiries coming in, however we needed the stock to fulfil them, and we didn’t have the money to get the stock without our normal bread-and-butter jobs coming through too.

“Accessing the loan meant that we were able to fulfil an order to produce ventilator boxes – which were needed at a very short deadline – to support the coronavirus medical effort. The funds also enabled us to fulfil a big order of water bowsers for a client that are being used to clean schools.

“We have such a loyal workforce and this loan has really raised everyone’s spirits."