A Sunderland-based architectural metalwork business is celebrating a successful first year in business.

Since it was set up in January 2022, Neil Hood Bespoke has employed 3 new members of skilled staff and established a national client base, including work on several prestigious projects in London.

The Washington based company – set up by experienced architectural metalworker Neil Hood –  designs, manufactures and installs very high quality products, such as staircases and balustrades.

Speaking about the journey so far, he said: “The order book is looking very healthy, we’ve got a lot of projects on at the moment and we are tendering for numerous projects also, so it’s looking quite bright for the future, as we grow the business in the coming months we will be on the look out for more skilled staff to join our team.

“It’s quite a challenge trying to find the right staff and you really need to train your own people for the level of work that we undertake. You’re not going to find someone that can just fall into the way we want them to work, there’s a lot of training involved.

“With the apprenticeship schemes that are available, it is worthwhile taking apprentices on and allowing them to learn from scratch. I’ve got my son working as my apprentice now.

“There’s currently three of us working in the business but I’m about to take another employee on so there’ll soon be four.”

Neil was supported in getting his idea off the ground by Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment Team.

Neil added: “I’ve had a lot of support from Sunderland City Council and that’s been a great help.  They backed the project from the start and had faith it would be successful and create jobs for the region.

“If someone has a viable business idea that is going to create job opportunities for the local area, I would definitely recommend they get in touch with the council’s Business Investment Team to see how they can help.”

The Business Investment Team were also able to signpost Neil to other funding sources that helped him accelerate the business.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s great to have entrepreneurs like Neil setting up businesses in Sunderland that bring highly skilled jobs to the city and provide opportunities for young people.

“We look forward to seeing the company grow and are looking forward to working closely with the team as we look to the future.”

For more information on Sunderland as a city to do business, visit: https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/business-and-investment