A FISHING firm awarded £25,000 in a business grants scheme will grow their business and provide employment for prisoners.
Monteum, in Shoreham, benefited from the Be the Business initiative, now in its second year after it was launched by West Sussex County Council.
The retail and wholesalers identified a demand locally, and potentially further afield, for lobster pots, which will supplement their core business and offer the company a chance to grow.
The grant has helped them to purchase the equipment and training needed to manufacture them locally.
Jim Partridge, of Monteum, said: “The constituent parts of the pots are being made at our Shoreham Harbour base.
“Thanks to ‘Be the Business’ we’ve been able to buy the equipment we need, and we’ve already taken on a new member of staff to help with their manufacture.
“The grant has also secured two other existing positions, and we hope to take on another member of staff in the near future.”
The lobsters parts are labour intensive to build, however, so Monteum will enlist the help of prisoners at Lewes prison to offer offenders the chance to learn new skills.
Mr Partridge added: “Construction of the pots is labour intensive and we’re planning to work with HM Prison Lewes to offer offenders paid employment, and the chance to develop new skills as part of their rehabilitation.
“The project will provide around 35 jobs at the prison, and prisoners will learn to work with their hands.
“This will hopefully increase their employability when they are released and potentially reduce re-offending, which is a really positive thing for the local community.”
Other grants awarded include £25,000 for Seward Ltd, in Easting Close, East Worthing, which makes specialist microbiology laboratory equipment, to design and manufacture a revolutionary new piece of kit used in the preparation of samples for food safety analysis.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council and holder of the economy portfolio, said: “I’m so proud that we have been able to give a boost to so many businesses across the county.
“The range of organisations that applied for grants is amazing and demonstrates the breadth of skills and specialist business knowledge we have in West Sussex.”
She added: “Over the last two years we have distributed over £1.5million to local businesses through our ‘Be the Business’ and Social Enterprise Funds, which demonstrates our commitment to creating and maintaining a thriving local economy.”
Twenty three organisations have received grants totalling £478,198 from the grant fund to date.
At least 88 jobs have been created and a further 170 safeguarded.
Six apprentices have also been hired.
For more information about the business support and grant funding available from West Sussex County Council, visit www.bethebusiness.org