By Martin Walker
The Aycliffe Business Park Community (ABPC) will celebrate its second birthday during a special event at the end of January.
It’s been two years since the Steering Group officially launched ABPC at the Xcel Centre, with around 100 firms from Aycliffe Business Park attending.
Since then the group has hosted regular news and networking meetings as well as useful business practise seminars at various sites across the park.
And in September last year, it organised the hugely-successful Make Your Mark awards event, when Tekmar Energy was crowned Company of the Year during a glittering ceremony attended by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson and Business Durham Managing Director Simon Goon.
Talks are now under way to formalise the Steering Group, which will create a more sustainable entity.
And the group has organised a special birthday celebration, which will be held at Ebac’s Nortfrost site on Heighington Lane, on Thursday 29th January, starting at 8.15am.
Chair of the group Kerina Clark, Managing Director of the Xcel Centre, said: “It promises to be another well-attended event with lots of new faces and some fun long the way.
“We’ve organised a special Aycliffe Business Park quiz, which will include a fun picture round featuring well-known personalities on the business park, while there will also be a short video presentation to round up what’s been another really positive year for Aycliffe Business Park.
“It would be lovely to see a big turn-out for it so we can not only celebrate what’s been achieved, but also keep everyone up-to-date on some of our exciting future plans.”
The Steering Group, currently an informal association which currently relies on volunteers and help from Business Durham, says a recognised body will have more opportunities to access funding to pay for projects.
It would then potentially be able to employ staff or pay local firms to carry out work and build on what’s already been achieved in its first two years.
Kerina added: “It’s been an interesting couple of years. We feel like we have a really good foundation now, but we feel we need to build on that.
“So we’re in talks and taking advice about formalising the steering group and formalising the community group on the business park.
“We feel we need to be some kind of formal entity. What it means for the future is we can look at joint procurement, insurances, joint purchasing and also access funding to do projects on the park.
“At the moment we can’t do that as an informal group, but we really feel to be able to go to the next level and be sustainable for the future we think that’s what the park needs and, from what we’ve heard, it’s what businesses want as well.”
The Steering Group – which currently consists of Kerina, Pamela Petty, John Finley, Rachel Townsend Green and Dave Spensley, with advice from John Parnell from Business Durham – launched ABPC in January 2013.
Kerina added: “We’ve achieved a lot as an informal group. People are very surprised at the amount we have achieved.
“So we are really encouraged but we don’t want to lose that momentum, and I feel we’ve hit the lid in what we can do informally.
“Because businesses are asking us to do more, and we feel we can do more, the logical step is to formalise it and build on what’s been achieved.
“And imagine the possibilities of what we could do from there.”
All companies on Aycliffe Business Park are invited to attend Aycliffe Business Park Community’s second birthday party at Norfrost (Ebac site 2), Heighington Lane, from 8.15am on Thursday 29th January.
This completely FREE event will consist of breakfast and networking, news and updates, a short video presentation and a special birthday quiz, with prizes up for grabs including a Nortfrost chest freezer and hamper.
All companies on the business park are invited to register their attendance at: www.aycliffebusinesspark.co.uk