Local business catering for global and celebrity clients celebrates milestone

A Lancashire firm which supplies clients worldwide, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, with bespoke mobile catering systems, is celebrating over 40 years in business.

Darwen based Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems has manufactured catering trailers and mobile vans for more than 3,000 customers since the business was established in 1978.

Its experienced and skilled manufacturing team, based at the head office in Darwen, builds trailers and converts a range of existing vehicles from Volkswagen camper vans to double decker buses into catering vehicles.

Their clients span the globe, reaching as far as Australia, and include iconic locations including Harrods, Manchester City FC and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who used a converted mobile van created by the company in his Food Tube videos.

The family business has been supported by local accountancy firm Pierce for the past couple of years, who have helped the company manage multiple changes to payroll.

Angela Rawson, Financial Director at Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems, said: “There have been lots of changes with PAYE and pensions in recent years. Pierce have taken the headache of that away from us and have seamlessly implemented those changes to the business.

“Pierce have a really skilled and friendly team, and they do all the gritty accountancy work for us, which we don’t have the skills for in-house including year-end accounts, management accounts, VAT returns as well as payroll and pension support.

“We’re so proud of our Lancashire roots, so having a local accountancy firm was crucial to us.”

Simon Diggle, Director at Pierce said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Angela and the team and supporting them as they go into their 40th year of business.

“Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems is a very successful, innovative and high-quality business and we’re really proud to be working with a firm based in the heart of Lancashire who are working with clients on a global scale.”

Let’s get the Apprenticeship Levy working for Lancashire

Lancashire’s leading employers are being urged to share their unused Apprenticeship Levy funds with local companies to help bridge skills gaps and seize the economic benefits of training.

The plea for collaboration from local accountancy firm Pierce, comes as the first tranche of payments dating from the scheme’s introduction in April 2017, are set to expire in April 2019.

Companies that have not made full use of their Apprenticeship Levy credits, are also now able to transfer funds to any business whether they are operating either locally, in their supply chain or within their broader industry.

Currently, employers can transfer a total of 10% of their annual funds to as many businesses as they wish, with the amount increasing to 25% from April. Both companies need to be registered with the apprenticeship service in order to transfer or receive the funds.

The option of transferring funds was introduced following the lack of uptake to the levy. Last year, it was announced that 92% of the funds were not spent in the first year of the scheme.

Lisa Kennery at Pierce said: “The Apprenticeship Levy is a fantastic initiative but various complexities mean that not all companies are taking full advantage of it. Simply by collaborating locally and regionally to share money that is set to be lost anyway however Lancashire firms have a unique opportunity to spread the immense benefits of training and upskilling.

“Right now in our region, there are skills shortages in construction, engineering, manufacturing, IT, logistics and many more specialisms. The Apprenticeship Levy offers an excellent opportunity to get our regional workforce trained and upskilled, and our businesses poised to unlock future growth and investement.

“Lancashire is famed for its friendly, open way of doing business, so it would be fantastic if we could show the rest of the UK just how well we collaborate by using this opportunity to plug as many regional skills gaps and creating as many jobs as possible.

“SME’s account for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK, so the opportunity to transfer funds will not only add fuel to regional growth by stimulating all areas of the supply chain – it will enable smaller firms to offer apprenticeship schemes, or upskill existing staff.

“This will allow many more people in the local community to enhance their careers through training.”


Thanks to LBV – BIBAs honour Lancashire businesses

From Lancashire Business View

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BIBAs honours Lancashire businesses

Blackpool Tower played host to 900 Lancashire business hopefuls for an awards ceremony which recognised the achievements of the county’s best.


Trophies were handed out across 18 categories, including Lancastrian of the Year and others including  honouring green credentials and successful growth.

TV personality Eamonn Holmes oversaw proceedings from the podium, whilst X Factor favourite Matt Cardle provided the entertainment.

A full review will be included in the November/December Lancashire Business View.


E-business of the year Soap Media Ltd, Preston

Exporter of the year Panaz Ltd, Burnley

Small business of the year Healthpoint, Blackpool

New business of the year BR Contracting Ltd, Blackburn

Creative business of the year The Grand, Clitheroe

Entrepeneur of the year Daniel Cuffe and Peter Taylor, Lytham

Excellence in customer service UPL Ltd, Greenhalgh

Manufacturer of the year Laila’s Fine Foods Ltd, Bispham

Employer of the year F Parkinson Ltd, Blackpool

Service Business of the year Springhill Care Group Ltd, Accrington

Green business of the year Roaming Roosters, Higham

Business woman of the year Dr Caroline Chesworth, Mad Science, Preston

Medium business of the year Panaz Ltd, Burnley

Leadership team of the year Preston Bus

Change for growth Connect 2 Cleanrooms Ltd

Inspiring Award Inspired Energy Ltd, Kirkham

Business of the year Fairbank Environmental Ltd, Skelmersdale

Lancastrian of the year John Lancaster

Thank you to Lancashire Business View for the above.

Footnote from Pierce

Our own special congratulations go to Ken Nolan and all at Springhill Care Group Accrington, who snapped up the Service Business of the Year Award. Ken and his team celebrate 30 years in business this year. A truly compassionate and professional organisation, of the first order.