Fylde coast pair are regional small business winners

Toyland of Birley Street in Blackpool regularly mentor young people coming into the retail industry
Toyland of Birley Street in Blackpool regularly mentor young people coming into the retail industry
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A Blackpool toy shop has been held up as a shining example of a business having community spirit in a North West awards ceremony.

While Kirkham-based AWOL Adventure picked up an innovation award.

The team from AWOL Adventures of Kirkham filming on location at the Manchester marathon

The team from AWOL Adventures of Kirkham filming on location at the Manchester marathon

Toyland in Birley Street won the Community Business of the Year Award in the Federation of Small Businesses’ Celebrating Small Business Awards.

They were among eleven regional winners.

Chris Manka, FSB North West Regional Chairman, said: “We congratulate all the finalists on their excellent year in business in a competitive range of categories.”

Shaun Morton, of Event Sponsor Prism IT Solutions opened the event said: “We are consistently in awe when we see some of the fantastic business people going the extra mile to do the very best for their staff and their customers. The judges have been wowed by the quality of entries.”

Toyland Manager Tracey Clarke said: “We were very surprised and really pleased.

“We were surprised because what we do, we don’t really think is a big deal.

“I think the judges were pleased with the work we do in training. We are an unofficial training centre. Last year we had 152 work placements.

“We help with school and with Business in the Community offering mock interviews and mentoring students.

“We help with young people who are struggling with mental health issues or who have autism, sometimes just to have them come in and talk to the staff along side the eight weeks work placement.”

The team will be at this week’s Changing Horizons careers event where hundreds of Fylde Coast primary and secondary pupils will visit the Winter Gardens to learn about the range of careers out there when they leave school.

Toyland staff will be teaching basic customer service skills. Tracey added: “We will be taking our work placement people along and getting them to do the teaching, which will in turn give them a sort of supervisor experience.

Creative Consultancy AWOL specialises in media productions and strategic communications for businesses.

The judges were impressed with its revolutionary approach to creating an online sporting social network, which has evolved into a photo-sharing platform for mass participation events.