Nine members of the Club attended a vocational tour of the Westbridge factory units in Greenfield and Deeside – hosted by the Managing Director (Commercial) of the company – Rotarian Paul Islip
Westbridge Furniture Design operates out of four UK production sites occupying in excess of 450,000 square feet of production, design and office space, employing over 1300 people in the UK and also a dedicated cut and sew factory in Romania.
With a vast and diverse range of over 1200 fabrics and leathers widely sourced throughout Europe and Asia, their fabric stores stock in excess of 300,000 metres of cover in readiness for quick and on time delivery.
In 2006 they started their Eco journey to become the first ‘Model Green Factory’ in the UK in partnership with Marks & Spencer. Their initial goals were to reduce our carbon footprint and send zero waste to landfill. The company have had continued success in reducing the amount of material that becomes waste, rather than recycling it. For example reusable transport packaging for supplies into Westbridge, rather than single-use cardboard, or polythene packaging. Much of the recent success they have had is due not only to their own efforts, but to the help received from partners, JEM Recycling Ltd and Art Services Ltd which takes a proportion of our timber waste and turns it into charcoal for barbeques and filters.
Westbridge are suppliers to the biggest and best high street retailers including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis Partnership, Next home, Ikea, Sofology, Argos and to over 200 of the best independent retailers
The company employs 1200 people of which one third are of Eastern European origin many of whom have worked for the company for many years.
The local economy benefits from Westbridge – the third highest employers in Flintshire following the Local authority and airbus – with a turnover of £83m emanating from an incredible production rate of 7000 pieces of furniture including 3000 suites per week.
In the near future they will be introducing a training academy and apprentice scheme with the support of Coleg Cambria.
An education in ‘what goes on’ on our doorstep – thanks Paul
Rotarians Malcolm Mellor, Alan Friend, Peter Williams, Kevin McIntyre, Damian Davies, Paul Islip (resting) Rob Board, Gareth Owen & Barry Harrison