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Walsall Business Support, which was set up to help grow business and skills in the West Midlands town, appeared on BBC TV for contributing £10,000 to support the world-famous local leather skills industry.
Walsall Business Support was featured on BBC TV’s Midlands Today, the regional daily evening news programme for the West Midlands, after it provided funds to a centre teaching the next generation of saddle, bridle and leather-goods makers.
Formed by leading local business figures to distribute funds, Walsall Business Support provides grants to applicants who want funding for projects to enhance business life in the borough.
The TV appearance, which helped drive fresh enquiries about WBS support, came on the back of its communications launch by Osborn.
The agency, the 2021 start-up business of the year at the prestigious Black Country Chamber of Commerce Awards, delivered a brand identity for WBS, drawing upon its heritage in the region.
Osborn launched the first WBS website, working with J Turner Web Services, plus a communications strategy incorporating key social media accounts.
After securing key media interest in the first grants to be delivered by WBS, Osborn represented the funders in liaising with broadcast media.
The BBC TV news team visited to report on the specialist equipment bought for learners at Walsall Leather Skills Centre, in The Bridge, following the grant being made, for the bulletins on Oct 3.
The centre, which opened in 2020 to develop skills for jobs in local leather firms, is run by the Saddlers Company Charitable Fund with Midlands-based training company Performance Through People.
Among those interviewed was Stu Annikin, of Albion Saddlemakers, who said: “To have this right now in Walsall is perfect because we are finding it much harder to get young people into the trade.”
As well as interviewing the young trainees starting out, the TV crew featured Hannah Scoffham, one of the apprentices to progress to employment.
Having moved to Ideal and WRS Company Ltd, her saddles are among those to be used by the Royal Horse Artillery. Hannah told TV interviewer Laura May McMullan: “It is all hand done. All my skills and everything are used to make these saddles which are very prestigious and very cool.”
Walsall Business Support board member Rob Colbourne said: “Osborn Communications have delivered a comprehensive suite of activity to ensure we reach as many people as possible.
“Seeing the beneficiaries from our first grants featured on the TV news was a massive boost, especially for the young people who WBS hope will be the future of the leather industry.
“Working to deliver against our brief, Osborn have given us an identity and digital presence, as well as a plan of media activity, which ensures we engage with the widest audience on an ongoing basis.”
Osborn director Chris Leggett said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the team at WBS as well as their first beneficiaries, to spread the word about their positive work in the community.
“They have a strong story to share, which we will support them to spread with PR and digital activity over the months ahead, driving more applications and benefitting more good causes.”
New applications for Walsall Business Support funding can be made via the website www.walsallbusinesssupport.co.uk