Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Business

Richard Fuller opens new eco-friendly showroom at Gibbs and Dandy with Branch Manager, Stuart Harm (Photo by Professional Images)

Richard Fuller opens new eco-friendly showroom at Gibbs and Dandy with Branch Manager, Stuart Harm (Photo by Professional Images)

Homeowners in Bedford looking to reduce their energy bills and become more fuel efficient can now learn about a wide range of eco-friendly systems following the opening of a Sustainable Buildings Showroom at the Bedford branch of builders’ merchant, Gibbs & Dandy.

The showroom, opened by Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, has many products and technologies on display, such as biomass boilers, air source heat pumps, solar thermal systems and external wall insulation. All of which can have a major impact on helping homes and buildings become more fuel efficient, as well as reducing energy bills for owners.

The new showroom was created in partnership with Greenworks, the UK’s recognised authority and market expert, providing training in the applications of sustainable building solutions and products. As part of the showroom, there will be a centre to train trade professionals from the area about the various products and technologies.

Mr Fuller said: “It’s fantastic to see a local business working to support people and trade professionals in Bedford. The showroom has a great range of energy saving solutions that will truly benefit a lot of people.”

Stuart Harm, manager of the Bedford branch, said: “We’re committed to helping homeowners in the area become energy efficient, so this facility will provide them with the chance to come in and see what will benefit them. Also, installers have a great opportunity to learn about sustainable technologies, which they may well go on to fit into their customers’ homes.”

Fords Packaging Systems CEO, Laura Whincup with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Fords Packaging Systems CEO, Laura Whincup with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor, and possible Presidential candidate, Scott Walker visited Kempston business, Fords Packaging Systems, as part of a trade mission earlier this week. The Governor and members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation met Bedford MP, Richard Fuller and members of the council before touring the Fords factory.

Fords Packaging CEO, Laura Whincup, and director, Joe Cusano, spoke to the delegation about the company and their plans for expansion in the USA.

Commenting after the visit, Richard Fuller MP said,

“It’s not every day that a US Governor visits Kempston, and certainly not one with the high profile of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. It was a pleasure to join him in visiting this successful, growing local business.”

Greg Clark MP, Growth Minister, with Richard Fuller MP and Jas Parmar

Greg Clark MP, Growth Minister, with Richard Fuller MP and Jas Parmar

The Government’s Minister for Growth, Greg Clark MP was in Bedford on Friday (9th January) with local MP, Richard Fuller and Conservative Mayoral Candidate, Jas Parmar to discuss Bedford’s economic future.

The Minister was in the region to sign officially the Local Growth Deal that gave Bedford the final piece of funding for the Western bypass.

Richard and Jas took the Minister to the sites of some of the ambitious projects they have proposed to drive Bedford and Kempston’s economic growth, including a new road bridge over the River Great Ouse at Batt’s Ford.

Richard commented, “I have been delighted over recent months that the Government has committed funding to several vitally important infrastructure projects in and around Bedford, including the Bedford-Oxford railway, a flyover for the Black Cat junction of the A1 and the completion of the western bypass.”

“Having the Growth Minister here in Bedford gave us a great opportunity to show him the plans we have for other projects that will bring about new jobs and economic prosperity for Bedford and Kempston.”

Jas added, “A new road bridge in Bedford has been talked about for decades and would make a real difference to traffic in Bedford. It was great to have the opportunity to tell the Minister more about the projects that matter to Bedford Borough.”

Richard Fuller MP at the TradePoint opening

Richard Fuller MP at the TradePoint opening

Local MP, Richard Fuller opened the new TradePoint store in Bedford today – the local trade building supplies business – along with Luke Thorn, Branch Manager and David Cooke, Unit Manager.

The new 30,000 sq ft store is located at the Interchange Retail Park, next to B&Q, and has created jobs in the local area by employing 30 members of staff, 22 of whom are new hires. It will be open seven days a week for local tradesmen, further boosting the local economy by helping sole traders and small businesses.

After helping to cut the ribbon on the new store, Richard commented:

“We’re delighted to see TradePoint expand its presence in Bedford with this new store. As well as bringing jobs to the region, TradePoint’s decision to open this store in Bedford recognises the ongoing efforts to bring economic growth to the area and is a welcome new addition to the town.”

This is the first TradePoint of its kind, focused on the needs of the small trade professional. The store boasts several services and features not previously available which are aimed at fulfilling the builders’ needs quickly. The Bedford store TradePoint counter has built strong relationships with a thriving community of local businesses and individuals since opening last year and so represented a good opportunity to build on the existing offer.

Luke Thorn, TradePoint Branch Manager, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opening of our brand new store and I’m hugely proud of everyone who has worked together to get us opened on time and looking so fantastic. Our team is ready and raring to help tradespeople in Bedford to get the job done without the hassle.”

Jemma and Jon from A Class Kitchens talk to Richard about their company

Jemma and Jon from A Class Kitchens talk to Richard about their company

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, today met with local ‘mumpreneur’ Jemma Hough and husband and business partner, Jon.

Jemma and Jon started their business, A Class Kitchens of Bedford, with the help of a Start Up Loan from the government-backed Start Up Loan Company. After becoming a mother, Jemma felt the best way to combine spending time with her daughter and working was to start her own business. After testing the market, Jemma and her husband Jon, who was working for a kitchen company, received lots of local support and decided to go it alone.

The business is going from strength to strength and is now approaching 50 kitchen installations with bookings mounting up into the spring of 2015.

They are looking to expand the business and are currently beginning a recruitment drive to recruit an installations manager to coordinate the installation process and build a larger fitting team, which will mean that in 2015 they will be able to provide more customers with an A Class Kitchen.
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Richard Fuller MP and Vicky Ford MEP at Newnorth Print Ltd in Kempston

Richard Fuller MP and Vicky Ford MEP at Newnorth Print Ltd in Kempston

Bedford MP Richard Fuller celebrated the success of a local business during a visit to Kempston-based Newnorth Print Ltd this week. He brought leading Euro MP, Vicky Ford, to meet employees and hear how the company has invested and grown the business.

Newnorth Print was founded in 1971 and offers smart e-commerce printing solutions as well as traditional printing and merchandise products.

Richard and Vicky toured the facilities in Kempston and heard about the barriers to trade that small and medium sized businesses face when trading in the single market.

During the tour of the company’s facilities, the MP and MEP saw the new printing equipment in which the company has recently invested over £2 million.

Richard Fuller MP commented “It’s great to see this local business growing and investing in new technology. Supporting small businesses is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, creating more jobs and increasing the country’s economic security.”

Vicky Ford added “Small and medium sized companies are the backbone of our economy and it’s good to see small firms like Newnorth Print taking advantage of the stronger economy to invest and grow. The printing sector has seen rapid change and companies have needed to be flexible to survive. It is important not to overload them with red tape and bureaucracy.”

Richard opens new-look Putnoe post office

Richard opens new-look Putnoe post office

 

Earlier this month, Richard opened the newly refurbished post office on Putnoe Street.

Richard cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony to mark the store’s refurbishment and launch of new services, which includes seven days a week opening with postal services available on Sundays; a new Car Tax service and more bureau de change currencies available.

Richard said, “I am really impressed by the changes that have been made throughout the store. Putnoe Street Post Office is at the heart of the community and I want to congratulate John and Pat Pinner, who have run Putnoe Street Post for 27 years, on their vital community role. The earlier opening hours and Sunday opening make it far more convenient for customers to visit. The addition of the car tax service at this branch is also very handy.

“This post office was a favourite place of mine to buy comics and sweets when I was a little boy and went to pick up books from Putnoe Library. It is great to see these changes and modernisation.”

Under the current Parliament the Government has committed £1.34bn for the Post Office network to make sure there is no programme of Post Office closures and to update branches; in November the Government announced a further £640m investment in the Post Office network, from 2015 to 2018. Nationwide the investment programme will see up to 8,000 branches modernised with additional investment in over 3,000 community and outreach branches.

Ricahrd Fuller & MD of BELA, Mike LafrattaEarlier this month, Richard attended an open day to celebrate the 30th anniversary of BELA Electronics – a company started by local entrepreneur, Mike Lafratta, which is regarded as one of the market leaders in its field with a strong reputation in the design and manufacture of printed circuit board assemblies.

Based in Kempston, the company has now grown to 30 employees and has recently invested in an apprentice scheme aimed at developing new skills within the industry and securing the firm’s future for another 30 years.

Richard said, “BELA Electronics is another Bedford and Kempston success story, providing employment to a skilled local workforce. I was also delighted to see BELA investing in the futures of young people – a key focus for this government which has created 1.8 million new apprenticeships since 2010. For many, an apprenticeship is the key to realising their potential and securing a better future, helping them to get on in life.”

Richard with CGI Graphics CEO, Peter Owen

Richard with CGI Graphics CEO, Peter Owen

This week, Richard visited Creative Graphics International (CGI) – a Kempston-based business that produces external graphics, self-adhesive branding information and safety labels for the automotive and aerospace industries to global customers such as Ford, Virgin Atlantic and VW.

CGI employs over 40 staff locally and has twenty years of export experience.

Richard was shown around the site by CEO, Peter Owen and Commercial Director, Mel Goodliffe. Richard commented: “This government has been working hard to boost exports and I’m delighted to see another successful local business exporting and providing services to prestigious global companies.”

Richard Fuller MP with staff at Kempston Sainsbury's - August 2014

Richard Fuller MP with staff at Kempston Sainsbury’s – August 2014

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford got behind the food counter in Kempston Sainsbury’s store to learn more about preparing food and serving local customers.

Richard was welcomed by Michelle Booth at the Fish counter. During their time on the job they covered the importance of safety and hygiene while preparing food as well as getting a few tips from trained colleagues on how to fillet a fish. The day was designed to highlight the various career opportunities retail offers, and the training available to colleagues.

Richard said “I’ve had a great day accompanying Michelle. It’s interesting to see how passionate the staff are, and to meet local customers.”

Michelle adds: “It’s not every day you have your local MP in to work with you – I really enjoyed sharing some of the skills I’ve learnt and having an extra pair of hands.”

This year Sainsbury’s was awarded its second consecutive Gold Investors in People accreditation for supporting, developing and motivating its staff. Over 22,000 staff who work on the fresh food counters, bakeries and cafés have received job-specific City & Guilds-accredited training in the seven Food Colleges across the UK.