Leicester’s garment industry is set to benefit from a new £500,000 business support project.
The sector has received a boost after the city council was successful in a bid to the Government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF).
It means Leicester City Council will receive £500,000 to work together with partners Fashion-Enter Ltd and De Montfort University (DMU) to offer co-ordinated support to textiles manufacturers and local textiles workers.
The project will see all three partners providing lots of practical support to participating businesses to ensure ethical compliance and best practice, support innovation and develop their workforce skills.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke said: “This is great news for Leicester and demonstrates our commitment to the garment sector locally, which is a vital part of our economy. We’re determined to help raise standards and promote best practice in the industry – and this funding will help us to do that, by working intensively with local businesses.
“We are very pleased to be working with our partners Fashion-Enter and De Montfort University on this project, both of whom bring substantial valuable expertise to the project. Specialist training providers Fashion-Enter are also working with us on our fashion technology academy, while DMU is well known for driving innovation in the fashion industry. Together, we can combine our expert local and industry knowledge to support businesses to become beacons of best practice, in turn sharing what they learn with other businesses to create a wide-reaching positive impact.”
DMU will mapping all the textiles activity in the city from companies and dye houses to brands. The university will then work with companies to develop a sector growth plan – providing leadership training and shifting the focus from low cost and non-compliance to high quality products. New business models will be developed, focusing on new production systems and more sustainable methods and fabrics.
Professor Katie Normington, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University, said: “The city of Leicester and DMU share a rich history in fashion and textiles, and the university is delighted to be part of this far-reaching project. We will be working closely with companies of all sizes on this plan, which has the potential to re-imagine business models and develop a more sustainable future for the industry.”
Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion-Enter, said: “Following on from the launch of the Fashion Technology Academy, this is more good news for Leicester! The CRF revenue will allow for a wider range of training initiatives that will offer further wrap-around support to factories and workers. This will include information on new learner technologies, workers’ rights and e-commerce websites for brand development. It’s time to really establish Leicester as a major quality ethical manufacturing centre of excellence.”
The project will work with local manufacturers and textiles workers on accredited skills and training via the newly-launched Fashion Technology Academy (Leicester), develop links to research and innovation to drive productivity, offer support for manufacturers to adopt best practice ethical compliance procedures, and work to promote the best of Leicester manufacturing.
The funding award is part of an overall £3 milllion package secured by Leicester City Council from the Community Renewal Fund, with four further projects also benefitting, including schemes to support people into employment, provide English lessons for speakers of other languages, help women in business and provide mentoring and digital support to businesses.
The UK Community Renewal Fund is a Government programme which aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK, investing in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus