THE chairman of St Helens Chamber has expressed his delight after its work to improve the town’s economy was recognised at “the very highest level”.
The Chamber was named among the best of British businesses as it received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
The annual Queen’s Awards honour British firms that have excelled in exporting, social or environmental good works, or innovation.
The Chamber was one of just six winners of the new Promoting Opportunity award, introduced for the first time this year.
Graham Worsley, chairman of St Helens Chamber, said: “We are thoroughly delighted to have received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and have the work we do to improve the St Helens economy recognised at the very highest level.
“Everything we do at the Chamber is about supporting people to achieve their maximum potential, whether it is supporting local entrepreneurs to start or grow businesses, providing people with valuable skills and qualifications, supporting young adults into their first job, or encouraging children to aim higher when they leave school.”
The Merseyside Jobs and Growth Fund, managed by St Helens Chamber, enabled 102 firms to expand, creating 649 new jobs, including apprenticeships.
Continuing to help businesses start in the area, the Chamber’s ‘Be your own Boss’ campaign has promoted self-employment and the creation of sustainable businesses.
And its traineeship programme was last year rated as outstanding by Ofsted for Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare.
The Chamber has also worked in schools, raising career aspirations and enterprise awareness in children.
And last year it co-ordinated the national Your Future Careers Fairs project, which gave 44,500 young people the opportunity to speak directly to experts in a wide variety of vocational and professional areas, which helped to see it named Chamber of the Year for the third time in 2016.
Graham Worsley added: “Our strength as an organisation has always been that we recognise the important roles that all parts of the community play in contributing to our local economy.
“By delivering programmes that encourage enterprise we help improve the economic success of St Helens businesses and people.”