Sheffield forgings firm enters Vision 2021 Awards honouring businesses that led in the pandemic

A Sheffield forgings company, which has made many changes to continue its vital manufacturing work, has entered The Star’s Vision 2021 Awards honouring businesses that led in the pandemic.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:37 pm

Independent Forgings and Alloys has entered the Best Covid Safe Office category - one of 12 reflecting the full breadth of innovation by Sheffield companies in a uniquely challenging year.

The firm, based at Livesey Street, Hillsborough, says it realised the potential severity of the virus ‘many weeks’ before the first lockdown and acted to give staff confidence they would be protected in the best way possible.

Workers were provided with thermometer, hand sanitisers and snoods made with a special anti-viral coating.

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Ian Turner, forge operative, placing a hot blank into the forging machine at IFA.

Every door handle is sanitised several times a day and while visitors are kept to a minimum, they all have their temperature taken and complete a questionnaire before being allowed onto site.

The company also bought laptops for work from home staff and set up perspex screens in offices and made new offices to give everyone more space.

Among other measures, the company invested in improving ventilation and trained two employees as mental health first aiders.

A spokeswoman said: “Everything that can be reasonably done is being done to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all IFA staff.”

Vision2021 Awards.

The Star’s Vision 2021 Awards aim to highlight those who, through their efforts and ideas, have improved lives, secured jobs and created a blueprint for post-Covid success.

Widespread working from home, shuttered shops, pubs and restaurants; booming online delivery services and a love of homegrown and independent businesses are all new.

Some firms were forced to change direction while others triggered long-held plans to survive. Sheffielders pulled together like never before. Now, it’s time to honour their achievements.

The winners will receive the kind of publicity only the region’s largest multi-media organisation can generate, with a five-minute video on your company, a feature online and in the newspaper, social media support, a podcast and invitations to a round table and audio visual seminar.

Jason Kenyon – Forge Operative handling a newly forged aerospace forging

Email entries to: [email protected]

The categories:

1. Best Work From Home Employer - For the company that has gone the extra mile to help staff forced to work from home. This could include emotional and mental health support, extra allowances, equipment, recognition or help with childcare and staff socials

2. Best Reinvention — Recognising firms that were forced to pivot – completely change direction - to survive and have made a success of it

Peter Frith – Forge Manager in his covid secure office space.

3. Best Lockdown Innovation - Companies that have introduced new products or services, perhaps putting into action long-held ambitions, to remain viable

4. Lockdown Launch - Celebrating the most successful start-up who launched despite - or perhaps because of - the most trying circumstances

5. Best Home Delivery Service - The company that helps keep independent and homegrown businesses in business. Delivering products, revenue and satisfaction with the best and easiest-to-use service

6. Business Champion - Providing services that have helped other businesses to survive, whether through direct advice, helping them to develop a new strategy, or signposting

7. Community Champion - The business or organisation that has had the most impact supporting charities and the wider community with donations, free products or expertise, innovations or hours worked

8. Best Tech - A new app or platform developed during the pandemic to help companies stay alive and thrive

David Walsh, business editor.

9. Manufacturing Innovation - The best new product to combat Covid, be it a spray, mask, dispenser, ventilator or even software

10. Best Covid-Safe Office - The firm that has gone above and beyond installing, implementing and maintaining safety systems producing the happiest and most secure staff

11. Big Idea - The new project with the biggest potential impact on Sheffield, for the better

12. Best Property Conversion - The best, most ambitious, most impactful scheme that breathes new life into a beloved building and offers the most potential benefit to both occupiers and the city as it stages a recovery.

Nominated companies/people must be based in Sheffield. Entry to more than one category is permitted.

Email entries to: [email protected]


The Best Reinvention Award is sponsored by Future Life Wealth Management, one of the country’s top financial planning firms.

It has been listed in the New Model Advisor Top 100, a national list of the top financial planners, every year since 2013.

Based in Renishaw, it was established by Jillian Thomas in 2009 and today employs 11.

The Lockdown Launch Award is sponsored by Launchpad, a programme to inspire and support new entpreneurs in Sheffield City Region.

Launchpad has helped more than 7,000 people to transform their ideas into a commerical reality and has delivered nearly 70,000 hours of business support in workshops, one-to-one training and mentoring delivered by experienced business advisers based in the Sheffield City Region.

It is delivered by a consortium led by Barnsley Council, with Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Bassetlaw councils and The Prince’s Trust. Funding is provided by each partner and the European Regional Development Fund.

The Business Champion Award is sponsored by Finance for Enterprise, one of the most trusted and respected alternative lending providers in the North.

The company delivers the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme and Start Up Loans, helping new business owners access up to £25,000.

Over the past five years, FFE has provided £37m in loans, helping to create more than 1,400 jobs, safeguard 1,800 and boost the economy by more than £140m.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.