Community organisation to expand as it celebrates 25 years

An organisation which provides support for the rural economy in Shropshire is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with plans to expand its services in the community.

Enterprise South West Shropshire staff celebrate 25 years
Enterprise South West Shropshire staff celebrate 25 years

Enterprise South West Shropshire, based in Bishop's Castle, provides a range of services including the running of the town's library and its Sparc theatre programme.

The not-for-profit organisation now also runs the Bishop's Castle's artificial sport pitch and hires out equipment for garden parties and events.

Manager Rob McKay, who took over from Mike Ashwell in November last year, is now overseeing plans to set up a community repair shop in the town.

The company was set up after the town’s two largest employers, FarmGas and Walters of Ludlow, left the area.

Mr McKay said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating 25 years helping the rural community of Bishop's Castle and it’s a privilege to be able to be involved in such a special local organisation.

“When ESWS was set up 25 years ago, it was never expected to last this long.

“Thanks to the support of Shropshire Council and a dedicated staff team it has become a real part of the community and there are lots of projects in Bishop's Castle which would not have happened without the help and support of ESWS."

Mr McKay says the company's base at Enterprise House site was critical to employment in the town, renting space to a number of small businesses.

ESWS also provides administrative support to small businesses in the town, including printing and publishing.

“There are at least 100 local businesses using ESWS on a regular basis from artists to farmers to the local garage to the brewery," he said.

"Our services are also used by countless local interest groups and individuals”

Mr McKay said ESWS will expand to help local businesses grow with more services such as data input, bookkeeping and personnel management.

He said: “We want to be the best we can be for the community. Initially we helped with regeneration but that has changed over the years and moved into supporting prosperity, business opportunities and community.

“We know that most businesses in the region are small, and we want to expand our services this year so that we can support them to recover as the economy opens up and help them with the non-core tasks of the business so that they can free up their time to focus on growing new business."

Peter Phillips has recently retired as chairman after 25 years, and has been replaced by Tim Russell.

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