A thriving Shropshire design and print company is building for the future thanks to £10,000 of help from a grant programme.

Newport-based AYP Ltd secured the support through the Small Equipment Grant scheme to help it purchase a new digital die cutter, which will allow it to expand and offer more services to clients.

The grant scheme is supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and its business support arm, the Marches Growth Hub, and receives European Regional Development Fund assistance.

AYP managing director Martin Hall – who founded the business with his wife Sandra in 2006 – said the grant was crucial in helping the company to invest in its future and offer a wider range of services to both new and existing customers.

“The grant has allowed us to invest in a Veloblade Volta, a bespoke die cutting machine, which will enable us to produce one-off samples without going to the expense of having a cutting tool made and then sending the work out to a finishing company.

“Not only will we save time and money as a result of installing the machine, but we will be able to diversify into new target markets such as packaging because we will have the capacity to cut materials to any shape and size.

“This is cutting-edge equipment so we can now offer services and products which are not widely available elsewhere. We’ll be able to run single sheets to trial new concepts which will also greatly reduce paper and card waste and the expense of transporting materials to different sites.

“There is no doubt that this grant and the equipment it has helped provide has made us more robust by broadening our customer base and range of products.”

Rachel Laver, Marches LEP chief executive, said: “This is another example of how the Marches LEP and Marches Growth Hub can help deliver real support to companies across the region so that they can plan for the future and grow.

“The support on offer from the Marches Growth Hub has enabled hundreds of businesses like AYP to expand and will continue to do so.”

Small Equipment Grant programme manager Caroline Cattle said the scheme had proved hugely successful.

“We have been able to help companies across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin invest in the equipment they need to grow, which is good for them and for the overall economy. The scheme remains open and we would particularly welcome applications from Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.”

Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available under the programme.

The grant is available as a contribution of up to 50 per cent and primarily covers B2B companies. Items purchased must exceed £500 in value and have a life expectancy of three years. Eligible projects must lead to the creation of at least one part-time job within six months or the creation of a new product or service to be used by other businesses.

Because of restrictions imposed by the ERDF, the scheme is not available to retail businesses, restaurants, drinking establishments and fast food takeaways, online retail or rental businesses, farms involved in primary production, or local social welfare facilities.

Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme.


Image Caption: Martin Hall & Caroline Cattle from AYP