A board of directors set up to help promote companies on the region’s biggest business park is celebrating its first anniversary. The Aycliffe Business Park Community (ABPC) board is marking its first year of operation by embarking on a number of new initiatives, designed to boost community engagement and communication. Spread across 400 hectares, and with future expansion plans, Aycliffe Business Park is already home to an estimated 500 companies and 10,000 employees including high-profile names such as Gestamp Tallent, Hitachi Rail, 3M, Husqvarna, Inovyn and PWS.

ABPC was officially set up formalising the group after its predecessor had been run as an entity for more than three years. The board is now undertaking a complete re-brand, to be revealed at a major launch event with keynote speakers later this summer. It will include a brand new website, to enable businesses to submit their company information and services as well as sharing news. The group’s chairperson, Xcel Centre managing director Kerina Clark, said: “It has been a really encouraging first year and we’re very happy with its direction. We are seeing more and more new faces at our regular news and networking meetings. Attendees are getting to know their neighbours and many are doing business with one another as a result, which is fantastic.

“We want to see more engagement and are looking at ways of increasing that, and we’re hopeful the company’s re-brand and new website will help.” The ABPC board is made up of Kerina along with Sarah Slaven (Business Durham), Steve Robson (South Durham Enterprise Agency), Rachel Townsend Green (Thrive Marketing), James Goodliffe (Formula Plastics), Pamela Petty (South West Durham Training), Lee Harris (Mitchell Gordon), Emma Little (Gregg Little Testing Centre), Chris Hyde (JDP Contracting) and Martin Walker (Mantis Media). Kerina added: “The main aim of the board is to encourage and increase a sense of community between businesses on the park, supporting company growth. We want to increase engagement with all businesses across the park and try to ensure they are aware of the services that exist on their doorstep, and how to access them.

“We aim to do this by encouraging engagement through regular networking events and other ABPC-organised events on the park, as well as encouraging more interaction with businesses online and through social media.” The next news and networking for Aycliffe Business Park residents only is at ROF 59 activity centre on Friday July 21st from 8.15am. The next event open to all is at Planet Leisure on Friday September 22nd, from 8.15am. Businesses can register for events at www.aycliffebusinesspark.co.uk