Ambassador pledges to help Covid-hit businesses

A newly-appointed ambassador has pledged to help small businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 8:00 am
Alan Ferguson OBE, ambassador at Open North Foundation.

Alan Ferguson OBE, director of Cramlington-based Fergusons Transport, has pledged £5,000 and continued support for small firms looking for a road map to success in his new role as ambassador at Open North Foundation.

Born in Blyth, the former president of the North East Chamber of Commerce, is current chair of the Blyth Town Deal Board and spearheaded its £25million bid towards regeneration, with the outcome pending later this year.

Open North Foundation – a private sector-led, not-for profit company, established in 2020 – assists small firms in the North East looking to recover from the pandemic.

Businesses that meet strict criteria receive grants ranging from £1,000 to £5,000, that are donated by companies and individuals plus in-kind support such as marketing, HR and finance.

Mr Ferguson said: “Fergusons Transport has operated for nearly 100 years, assisting thousands of companies in the region and forging strong relationships.

"We believe that all businesses should look after the relationships they build in good times, during the bad times.

"Business doesn’t purely exist for what we can take from it.

"It operates to support all in its community and the North East is famed for looking after its own, lifting up those who need assistance when things get hard.

“The region’s business community is extremely interconnected, we are all separated by just one or two contacts.

"The successes and struggles of one business have a ripple effect and is why initiatives such as Open North Foundation are so important.”

Richard Swart, chair of Open North Foundation, said: “Alan brings a wealth of business knowledge and contacts as ambassador.

“Alan’s support will be a huge asset in helping us further our reach and the very generous donation will be used to assist businesses which, with a little bit of support, will continue to bring great benefit to our local economy and community.

“As lockdown eases and businesses are able to resume a more normal way of operating, we will still be surrounded by somewhat of a safety net, due to the furlough scheme.

"When it stops at the end of September, there will be untold disruption and discomfort as businesses look to find their feet.”

For more about Open North Foundation, visit