Caring manufacturer wins chamber’s top award

A historic Birmingham manufacturer set up almost 200 years ago to provide a workplace for visually impaired people has been crowned the city region’s business of the year.

Shelforce, which makes PVCu windows and doors from its base in Erdington, was named winner of the excellence for people development category before taking home the top honour at tonight’s Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Awards.

The company was originally founded in 1839 as a workplace for the visually impaired as part of the Royal School for the Blind and continues to this day with its mission to change the perception of disability within the workplace.

Around 75 per cent of its workforce has a disability and it runs partnerships with educational institutions, such as Oscott Manor School near Sutton Coldfield which caters to children with autism, in order to help children become valued employees.

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Steve Allen, president of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “Shelforce has shown excellence in many of this year’s categories, not only in its service to manufacturing and sustainability but also through investment in staff development and the wider issue of diversity and inclusion.

“Shelforce is an outstanding example of what it means to do good business and we are glad to recognise it as such after a year of such adversity.”

The chamber awards were held online for a second year running due to the pandemic and were hosted by BBC News presenter and reporter Amy Cole, with entertainment from singer Namywa.

A separate president’s award was given to Dr Sarb Clare, deputy medical director at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, for her work throughout the covid pandemic which also saw her earn an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The full list of winners is:

Excellence in Contribution to the Community

Gro-Organic

Excellence in Customer Service

Unique Venues Birmingham

Excellence in Hospitality & Retail

Millennium Point

Excellence in International Business

Y International

Excellence in Manufacturing

Deakin & Francis

Excellence in Responsible Business

Wesleyan

Excellence in Sales & Marketing

HDY Agency

Excellence in Sustainability

Enzen

Excellence in Technology & Innovation

Innovating Minds

Excellence in Third Sector

The Haven Wolverhampton

Excellence in Training & Education

Services for Education

Excellence in People Development and Business of the Year

Shelforce

BusinessLive – West Midlands