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Gloucestershire Business News

Hygienic Handles open door on innovation grant

A Cheltenham manufacturer has been awarded an Innovate UK grant to develop a range of hands-free doors and handles.

Hygienic Handles, the new division of Astor-Bannerman based at Andoversford Business Park, has been awarded the funding for a range of products to help people return to work, school or university safely after the coronavirus lockdown.

Managing director Mark Colebrook said: "We've been designing and manufacturing specialist care products for more than 25 years from our Gloucestershire base.

"We designed these hygienic handles to allow our office to operate safely throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

"They worked really well and so we are now offering them to everyone."

He said the firm was delighted to be selected from thousands of applicants to receive a significant grant from Innovate UK, the Government-backed scheme that supports British companies to develop new products and technologies.

"It's a major win for us and means we'll be able to invest in rapid development of the product range and grow the Hygienic Handles business into new niches, such as supermarkets and forecourts," he said.

"We've already seen huge interest from all sorts of business and organisations, large and small - especially in the education, local government, legal, construction and industrial sectors - so we're really ramping up production to meet exponentially growing demand."

The Hygienic Handles range of products can be fitted to most types of doors so they can be easily opened and closed by either the forearm, elbow or foot.

Among those who have installed the handles are Kents Property in service offices and co-working venues in Surrey.

Managing director Nick Kent said: "We are pleased with the products and the ease of use.

"They inspire confidence among our workforce and tenants, as well as reducing the risk of transmission. It is a valuable tool in our basket of what we have done to allow our buildings to reopen."

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