St Helens firm wins contract to make Olympic curtains

Ena Shaw factory at Lea Green has secured a contract to make the curtains for the Olympic Village.'Production director Tom Gardner and machinist Anne Cunningham
Ena Shaw factory at Lea Green has secured a contract to make the curtains for the Olympic Village.'Production director Tom Gardner and machinist Anne Cunningham

A WELL-KNOWN St Helens firm has won a lucrative contract to measure, make and fit thousands of curtains for the Olympic village.

Staff at Ena Shaw’s Lea Green factory are busily manufacturing the made-to-measure curtains set to adorn 14,000 bedrooms.

Athletes from 200 countries will use the special polyester blackout curtains both at the main Olympic village at Stratford, London, and at the sailing centre in Weymouth, Dorset. The coup was secured following a lengthy tendering process, which saw Ena Shaw beat off a number of other competitors.

Managing director Richard Potter said: “This is the biggest contract for a single delivery that we’ve ever had and we were delighted when we found out we’d won.

“We started out more in hope than expectation by indicating our interest in the tender on the website. But we all started to get excited when we made the last four.

“This really is a massive boost for Ena Shaw. It will give us a mark of credibility for contracts of this size that no money can buy.”

The navy blue polyester curtains, chosen by the London 2012 Organising Committee, must all meet the International Olympic Committee’s “blackout” specification to enable athletes to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

They will all be made-to-measure too because, instead of all the Olympic village’s rooms being the same, they all boast different shapes and sizes and different size windows.

Half of the curtains have already been produced and around 30 per cent have been fitted.

Ena Shaw’s contracts director, Stuart Taylor, says the job is on target to be fully completed by the end of May – prior to a security sweep at the Olympic village in early June.

Tendering for a similar contract for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 is already underway too.

Richard Potter added: “Obviously, being based in the UK helped our cause with the Olympic village contract because we won’t need to fly anything in at the last minute. And, from the word go, we were adamant that it was all going to be made here at Lea Green.

“It’s exciting just to be involved in the Olympics in any way.”