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Signs Express (Peterborough) were proud winners of the Innovation award at this year's Signs Express convention, held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Derby on Friday 8th November.

The convention, which was based around the theme 'working together', consisted of seminars and speakers during the day followed by an awards dinner and evening entertainment. The Peterborough sign makers, who fought off strong competition from the nationwide network of over 70 other Signs Express centres, were delighted with their win. Centre owner Anne Hitch, who also spoke at the convention, proudly accepted the award on the night. Signs Express (Peterborough) entered their work with the The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) into the Innovation category, which called for entrants who had demonstrated innovation in terms of a product solution or ways of working. RNIB enquired if the Peterborough team could assist in the manufacture of specialised maps for blind and partially sighted readers called Maps for All. Following lengthy research and discussions into how best to help their client, Signs Express (Peterborough) purchased their own Vision 2448 engraver with automatic braille inserter and in 3 months the centre was an expert in braille and tactile manufacture. This dedication to helping their client and finding a solution, however challenging, led the judges to present the sign making centre with this coveted award. Signs Express managing director Craig Brown commented: 'The accolade also follows recent work that the Peterborough team have completed with DIY SOS where they provided signs at the very last minute free of charge for a Children in Need project. This commitment to serving their customer by whatever means possible highlights that the centre are worthy winners.' Sue King from RNIB commented; 'After working with Anne for several months, I found her very willing and able to adapt her production methods to suit the manufacturing needs of the maps. This was something that I had found difficult with other sign companies that I had previously used because they were often reluctant to actually listen to what was being requested and then translate the information into a revised manufacturing process. However, this was not the case with Anne as she was able to understand what was required and come up with a manufacturing process that has enabled RNIB to have a far superior 'Map for All' that is fit for purpose and RNIB's clients are very pleased with. RNIB could not have done this without Anne and her team's help and guidance.' Anne also spoke at the convention about how she had motivated staff to become the strong, dedicated and focussed team that they are today. As one of the most successful franchisees in the Signs Express network, Anne was able to give invaluable advice to her colleagues and share best practice which resonates throughout her and her team's work. Following the centre's considerable success in Peterborough, in 2010 they took over the Signs Express production centre in King's Lynn. This expansion has led to growth and investment across both production centres, including the recruitment of additional staff in order to meet demand. As well as Peterborough, the expansion has led to the business covering areas such as Market Deeping, Oundle, Stamford, Wisbech, March, Kings Lynn, Fakenham and North Norfolk.

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