Karting company and horse spa bounce back with LEP support
- Credit: Carl Lamb/Ambientlight
An engineering company which makes top-end horse spas and a karting business which launched a laser maze are among more than 100 firms to net support to diversify and adapt during the pandemic.
DC Engineering in Swaffham and Anglia Indoor Karting in Ipswich have both benefited from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme after the outbreak caused severe disruption to their businesses. Both employ 16 people.
The LEP says it has so far awarded more than £4.8m towards 123 short-term resilience projects and longer-term recovery and diversification ones — generating nearly £7.5m of private match funding.
Anglia Indoor Karting was awarded £50k from the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme and previously received support from the LEP’s Small Grant Scheme to invest in a new fleet of adult karts.
Director Paula Partridge said: “As a business that has survived for 30 years, we thought we had seen it all. At the end of 2019, having grown the business, we invested in an extension to the upstairs circuit and a fleet of children’s electric karts and business was going very well.
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"Little did we know that three months later we, along with many other businesses, would be forced to close due to the pandemic. Since that time we have been closed for 10 of the 14 months.
“We applied for a grant from the LEP’s Resilience and Recovery Scheme and this has enabled us to broaden our offer by extending the upstairs circuit to accommodate adult drivers, as well as installing a Laser Maze room, giving us a second activity on offer alongside the karting.
"This widens the appeal of what we have to offer and will put us in a much stronger position to recover than where we might otherwise have been. Without this support we would have been unable to develop the business as we have.”
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DC Engineering — which makes construction and agricultural equipment and diversified into equine spas and treadmills for ECB Equine Ltd in 2016 — was badly hit by the pandemic last year when eight members of its workforce caught the virus. Two were hospitalised and one of those is still off work recovering from the effects of the illness. It received free consultancy through the LEP-run scheme.
Manufacturing at the family-run firm — with the father, mother, son and daughter all working for it — ground to a halt and it remained out of action for two months.
Even once the workforce returned, Covid restrictions made transporting the treadmills — which were in high demand — a challenge.
Founder Dean Clark wanted a new piece of equipment and advice on how the firm’s premises at the Ecotech Business Park could be redesigned to house the equipment and allow for social distancing.
His bid for LEP support was quickly approved and consultant Steve Palmer from WLP Consulting went into the company to review its layout.
The company started making treadmills after the owner of Cheltenham-based ECB Equine Ean Branston paid it a visit in 2016. After many trials and setbacks the company also managed to perfect the design and manufacture of a series of equine spas, which include cold saltwater hydrotherapy spas and mobile spas.
Customers for the equipment are based all over the world and have included King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalif, Irish show jumper Cian O’Connor, USA Dressage Olympian Kasey Perry and trainer of the 2017 Grand National Winner Lucinda Russell.