A COMPANY that has tickled the tastebuds of people in St Helens for more than a century is among the businesses to be embracing new technology as part of O2's Digital Communities scheme.

Bartons' range of pickled delicacies have won plenty of fans, ranging from Johnny Vegas to Prince Charles, and now sells goods at leading supermarkets. But the family business is acutely aware that they must adapt and benefit from modern technology, if they are to thrive for many years to come.

Joanna Jenner, the Parr company's MD and fourth generation pickler, explained why Bartons had signed up to the three month project, which aims to broaden the digital skills of businesses and people across St Helens, and why her father, Eddies, is among those relishing the chance to get to grips with an iPad.

She told the Star: "The potential was to look where we could take our business working remotely because as a working mum sometimes you can get pulled away from the office.

"We didn't have the technology to do this before because we did what we do best and that is making pickles. But when I go to meetings or just be round and about I sometimes can sometimes get a phone call from a buyer who will want some information.

"I will have to call Tim my husband on the production line and got to my PC asking can you find whatever information and email to my. Hopefully be having iPads and being able to attach to the office remotely we will be able to work from anywhere, which is something we haven't had the opportunity to do before.

"It's something we have been thinking about for a long time but unless someone comes along and says 'this is how you do it' it is very busy when you are a small business to be able to learn how to do that yourself. But step by step we are quickly learning.

"I now have an iPad so if I need to contact a buyer I will be able to do business much more quickly which saves a lot of time."

St Helens Star:

  • Joanna and Tim Jenner, of Bartons Pickles, with O2 Business Director, Ben Dowd (centre) at today's launch

Established in 1905, Bartons employs 11 staff many of whom are long serving. Joanna said they are all keen to embrace the new technology, including her 73-year-old father Eddie.

"The staff are keen because it's quite simple. These days everyone has a phone and is on social media. There's not many people technology doesn't touch. Who doesn't want an iPad? Even my dad can't wait to use it. He's keen as mustard."

She was confident that with support the scheme will be a success.

"The launch is underlining what O2 said to us about how they want to go forward in St Helens and the more small businesses that take part the better.

"I think one of the challenges is bringing people in and understanding how easy it is.

"We didn't understand until someone came along and showed us. It's getting the small businesses in and individuals and attracting more people into St Helens that will be good for us and everyone else."