Marketing Apprentice on the Skills for Growth - SME Support programme.
Introducing Graystone Action Sports
From forced closure to a wholehearted "welcome back"
Graystone Action Sports are looking forward to the future of their business with the support of Skills for Growth – SME Support. Dedicated to making action sports accessible to everyone, their goal is to increase participation, create new passions and inspire progression. They offer a range of activities including skateboarding, scooter, BMX, trampoline, tricking, gymnastics, parkour, freestyle ski & snowboard, inline, cheer & acro. We spoke to Graystone Action Sports owner David McCabe to ask some questions about what the future for his business.
When discussing his business goals for 2021 and how he sees the business working towards them with the help of Skills for Growth, David said he wants to “come back stronger and better, delivering the great services that our customers have missed”. He also wants to make capital improvements to their Salford site and re-engage with their programme of expansion. David is committed to helping “upskill our workforce, something that Skills for Growth have already assisted with, particularly in the fields of mental health and wellbeing, sustainability and environment-friendly practices and leadership and growth”.
David also looks forward to working with as many of our specialists (Apprenticeship, Wellbeing and Business Change) in as many areas as possible. Graystone Action Sports have worked with our apprenticeship team in the past and they can’t wait to work with them again in the near future.
- David McCabe, Owner
Working with Skills for Growth - SME Support
Despite the hardship the pandemic has caused for many SMEs, Graystone Action Sports are extremely proud to have safeguarded all of their jobs, thanks to their resilience and our support. We will also be there to support Graystone Action Sports if they face any sort of adversity in the future that may put their employees’ jobs at risk.
Utilising government initiatives and grants
Making the most of government initiatives and grants will be essential for Graystone Action Sports as they begin to reopen. Government initiatives such as the Kickstart scheme provide a mutually beneficial way for Graystone to hire new talent, grow their team, and support the local community while receiving government funding to make that happen. However, David noted that since Graystone Action Sports are so focused on reopening and daily operations that they might miss some of the support they are eligible for. Fortunately, our team and our colleagues from other areas of The Growth Company are here to alert him to these opportunities and directing his business to relevant support.
Working in conjunction with other Growth Company businesses
Graystone Action Sports are already receiving support from Growth Company businesses to develop ‘greener’ business practices, something that is becoming ever more important in today’s society as we look to take action to prevent global warming and pollution.
Job creation and Digital Innovation
Graystone Action Sports are looking to create a new job this year in the field of digital media content production. The digital & IT sectors have had the most job vacancies since the pandemic, highlighting a skills gap and a growth in the sector, so it’s no surprise that Graystone Action Sports are looking to expand their skillset in this field. To recruit someone for this upcoming role, David will be looking to hire from their neighbouring University of Salford in order to support the local community.
Building Back Better for 2021
As Graystone Action Sports reopens for business they are looking to fill specific skills gaps within the business, including mental health and wellbeing, safeguarding, coaching, customer service, and training employees to have advanced level first aid skills and environmentally positive business practices.
Impact of the Pandemic and Moving Forward
One of the biggest challenges faced by Graystone Action Sports during the pandemic was the periods of forced closure, which caused a lot of disruption for a new business trying to consolidate and grow. One of these problems was qualifying for and receiving a Business Interruption Loan that should have been a big help to the business when they were struggling during the pandemic, but actually ending up being another huge challenge for the business in a time when they already had enough problems to be dealing with.
Graystone Action Sports did of course make it through the pandemic however, and David attributes that survival in part to the furlough scheme that helped protect employees’ jobs, but for the most part to their “loyal customers” and the “community who have been an enormous help”. David also stated “We feel totally privileged to have quickly built a community who care deeply about our business. The constant communication and encouragement from the community during periods of closure, the offers of voluntary support to get us ready to open and the general excitement and positivity from them as we open our doors has been incredibly inspiring”.
Reopening and Beyond
Exciting times lie ahead with Graystone Action sports looking to expand their business with some great new features including an outside decking area to enjoy takeaway food and drink. They are also going to be implementing new procedures to ensure the highest standards of hygiene and social distancing, to give customers and employees peace of mind. However, one of the most important things that Graystone Action Sports wants to give their customers is a great big, wholehearted “Welcome Back!”.
We are proud to be working with a plethora of resilient and determined SMEs just like Graystone Action Sports, and we will be continuing to support their growth as they begin to reopen and as we head towards the future.
If you are an SME interested to explore our fully funded support service, please contact us on 0161 237 4444 or register on our website here.
The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years.
This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.
The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.
Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.