A VERY warm welcome to issue six of East Durham Business magazine – our first issue out of lockdown for almost two years!

To say the past 18 months have been tough would be an understatement, however we are gradually seeing life return to normal.

Offices are once again a flurry of activity, businesses are well on the road to recovery and face to face engagement is possible once more.

Hurray – how we missed the every day things we all took for granted before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Producing issue six of our flagship magazine has probably been the most enjoyable and we are so proud of the end result.

It’s probably our most diverse issue too, featuring businesses from a broad range of sectors and from around the region, not just East Durham, which we think is testament to just how much our magazine’s profile has grown since we launched it in the summer of 2019.

Cover stars are the team at Central Doorset Manufacturing, Peterlee’s newest resident.

The company relocated from Seaham to the former Dewhirst building earlier this year to facilitate ambitious growth plans – and in just six months the workforce has doubled in size.

We chat to directors Martyn Sandison and Scott McIlvaney to find out more about their move, their unique staff training and development programme and what the future holds.

Also featured in this issue are Delanoy Funeral Services, issue four’s cover stars, as we find out how the first 12 months in business have gone for owners John Delonoy and Julie Stout; and County Durham entrepreneur Keith Gill, one of the founders of the Phileas Fogg snack brand, who has penned the first chapter of his memoirs, Taking It Head On.

Other businesses and organisations that we shine the spotlight on are East Durham Business Service, The Wills Guys and the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing programme.

One of the many benefits of being out of lockdown is that venues like Seaham Hall Hotel are back open for business – and I had no hesitation in taking up the chance to review the facilities on a spa day with my husband Paul which coincided nicely with his 40th birthday. Check out the At Your Leisure spread to see what we thought of our experience!

You’ll also see that from the packed news pages within the magazine that there is plenty of positivity out there, with many businesses reporting that not only is their covid recovery back on track but they are also now looking towards growth and expansion.

How welcome that is after months during the pandemic where many business owners questioned whether they would be able to survive.

As always, we welcome your feedback on our magazine so if you have any suggestions that could improve it, or want to get involved in issue seven, get in touch with me!