From bingo cards to hundreds of thousands of baby ‘red books’, Harlow Printing has been a fixture in South Shields for more than seven decades.
Founded in 1947 as a single shop in Frederick Street, the firm now occupies four factories and has an annual turnover of more than £12 million.
The company started off printing clock-on cards and bingo tickets, but is now one of the NHS’s biggest suppliers of printed stationery, producing 600,000 Child Health Record books ever year.
The company has recently joined the 200 businesses who have signed the South Tyneside Pledge.
Sales Director Vince Hume said:
“The ethos of the Pledge is very much in line with how we operate as a business.
“Harlow has developed and grown in South Shields, and it’s important that as a local business, we ensure the local area and local people benefit.
“We recruit people from the borough and they tend to stay with us for a long time – I personally have worked for the company for over 40 years!”
Launched in January 2022, the Pledge sets out nine commitments around encouraging organisations to spend, recruit and procure locally. It aims to boost local economic activity, reduce health inequalities, cut carbon emissions, and enhance civic pride.
Harlow, which now employs over 120 people, has recently taken on three apprentices.
Vince, who himself started with the company as an apprentice, said:
“Again, it’s about creating opportunities for local people, making sure that young people who are coming out of school are equipped with the right kind of skills for the jobs that there are.”
“The company was also ahead of its time in terms of its carbon-cutting credentials, achieving ISO 14001 status 25 years ago and winning a host of environmental awards.
“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. All the paper we use comes from sustainable sources.
“To help promote biodiversity we have a wildlife garden in the grounds of one of our warehouses, with newts and bird boxes, and school children and any other community groups are welcome to come and use it.”
Cllr Paul Dean, Lead Member for Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said:
“Harlow Printing has been a South Shields institution for over 70 years.
“It has grown and evolved and become a real success story, but has remained true to its roots.
“The company embodies the spirit of the Pledge by adding real value to the communities it serves.”
To find out more about Harlow Printing see: https://www.harlowprinting.co.uk/
For further information about the Pledge, visit investsouthtyneside.com/why-south-tyneside/south-tyneside-pledge/
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