All change at business support agency with new board chair and headquarters move

MAJOR changes have taken place at enterprise agency Erewash Partnership – with a new chair of the board of directors and a move of headquarters to state-of-the-art offices.

Vice-chair Richard Ledger has stepped up to be chair in a role reversal with Bev Crighton who became the first woman chair in 2020 and has steered the organisation through the Covid pandemic.

Richard is managing director of Draycott-based Millitec, which designs and manufactures machinery for the food industry and exports across the world.

He is also chair of Long Eaton Town Deal Board, which won £24.8m of Government funding for projects to breathe new life into the town and take it forward over the next decade.

Richard is thrilled at becoming chair. “These are exciting times and Erewash is a fabulous place full of opportunity” he said.

“The Partnership is all about people working together to make the most of those opportunities and the team can give give real tangible help to all businesses, from those just setting out on their journey in self employment to the more established businesses looking for investment and growth.”

Partnership chief executive Ian Viles said: “Richard is very enthusiastic about the area. He was educated in the area at Trent College, Long Eaton. He's very passionate about manufacturing and training and skills.

“Bev has proved a steady hand as chair, especially through the difficult challenges of the Covid pandemic period when we had to re-think, adapt and even boost support for businesses, including new members attracted by what we do. The board is grateful for her leadership.

“Among her new roles Bev has taken up a position with Derby County Community Trust and one of her first acts was to introduce the trust to the Partnership and recruit them as members.”

Bev, who became a director in 2015, is a senior lecturer at the University of Derby and employability lead at Derby County Community Trust.

She is also a trustee of Derbyshire Voluntary Association, part of the fundraising committee of Derby Quad and holds a number of other voluntary roles in the third sector. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

“I have enjoyed my time as chair of the partnership and am excited to now take on the role of vice-chair,” said Bev.

“Richard and I have always worked closely to ensure that we divided the work of chair and vice-chair to play to our skills for the benefit of the partnership.

“During COVID lockdowns and the difficult last two years we have jointly used our expertise to support the team.

“This ‘swap' in roles will help to steer the partnership and the team on its journey going forward, and I look forward to working alongside Richard and Ian to support the growth of the partnership.”

The Partnership has moved its headquarters from Bridge House, Derby Road, Long Eaton, where it has been based since autumn 2014, to Toll Bar House, close to White Lion Square, Ilkeston.

The newly-opened premises, with 27 offices, are managed by the Partnership on behalf of Erewash Borough Council.

The authority invested £425,000 in refurbishing and breathing new life into the building. This was matched by D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership.

A further £126,000 was secured by contractor J.Tomlinson from a Government scheme aimed at helping local authorities with projects designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon output and lower energy bills. This took the total transformation cost to £976,000.

The Partnership was based at Toll Bar House for several years from 1994. “The move is to provide better facilities for face-to-face meetings with clients, including people with disabilities,” said Ian.