West Suffolk Manufacturing Group Celebrates 5th Anniversary

About 5 years ago, Richard Bridgman, Founder Owner of Warren was asked if he would chair a manufacturing group in West Suffolk.

Here is Richard’s account…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since the inception of the West Suffolk Manufacturing Group. What started as a simple idea has blossomed into a thriving community of industry professionals, thanks to the dedication and hard work of everyone involved.

Reflecting on the journey, it all began with a simple question – would I chair a manufacturing group in West Suffolk? Perhaps it was because of my experience in starting and chairing similar groups in Kings Lynn and Thetford. However, the success of these endeavours would not have been possible without the support of the local councils.

At the West Suffolk Manufacturing Group, I have had the privilege of collaborating with James Talbot from the West Suffolk Council, whose efforts have been instrumental in bringing our vision to life. From organising venues to inviting speakers and keeping members informed, James’s dedication has been the cornerstone of our success.

Our meetings, held at members’ factories or the West Suffolk College, have been a highlight of the group’s activities. Each gathering typically begins with a talk and tour by the hosting member, offering valuable insights into their operations and processes. Over the past five years, we have had the opportunity to visit esteemed companies such as Treet, Unisurge, Claydon Drills, Videndum, TAIT, Camden Boss, and even the groundbreaking XR LAB at the West Suffolk College.

As we celebrated our 5th anniversary with our largest attendance yet, (over 40 participants), we had the privilege of visiting Sealey HQ in Bury St Edmunds. The tour of their facilities highlighted their remarkable growth over the years.

Following the tour, we were treated to enlightening talks from esteemed speakers, including Julia Nix from DWP, Yvonne Mason of “icanbea,” and Kate Price-Thomas from the Shoestring Project at IFM Cambridge. To mark this special occasion, our own Suzie crafted a delectable Celebration Cake, which was enjoyed by all. Additionally, the venue was adorned with large No. “5” helium balloons, specially made by our member Oaktree in Mildenhall – which added to the atmosphere, despite some personal aversions!

As we look back on five years of growth and collaboration, I am filled with gratitude for everyone who has contributed to the success of the West Suffolk Manufacturing Group. Here’s to many more years of innovation, partnership, and shared accomplishments. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey.