Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin was given a tour of the Royal British Legion Industries’ new road and rails sign printing facility earlier this week.
The visit to Aylesford marks the completion of the first phase of a modernisation programme and an investment of over £350,000 in new, leading-edge printer technology and a fully climate-controlled printing and graphics room.
The visit enabled Mr McLoughlin to see first-hand where new heritage and tourism signs are made. The vibrant and colourful signs, which are slowly replacing existing brown ones, often depict iconic images associated with their area, such as the historic Chatham Dockyard. RBLI is one of only four organisations in the country with the advanced technology able to produce the new style of sign.
During his visit Mr McLoughlin met with some of RBLI’s employees and clients, including representatives from Network Rail, Amey, Traffic Management Products (TMP), Rennicks and Kent Highways.
He said: “If you’re going to compete as a social enterprise you have to invest. Also, the way in which you’re working with big businesses is good for developing a reputation.
“In the future, people will come to you not because you’re a social enterprise but because you have built a reputation for providing first-class products and services to the market.”
RBLI’s Chief Executive, Steve Sherry CMG OBE: “This modernisation programme has put us in a better position to provide our public sector and company clients with a competitive social value partner. And in fact, in 12 short months we’ve seen a 35% increase in orders and recruited an extra member of staff.”
David Brazier, Kent County Council cabinet member for environment and transport, said:
“This is a positive social enterprise that brings benefits to many people. The RBLI staff of ex-Service Personnel manufacture a wide range of signs for us, and when drivers in Kent see a new road sign, it will be one produced by the team at the RBLI design shop and manufacturing premises in Aylesford.”
Pictured from left to right: Gerry Walsh, Amey; Chris Morris, KCC Highways; Albin Sendang, RBLI; John Hartley, Amey; Patrick McLoughlin MP; Steve Munro, Amey; James Rudoni, RBLI.