Local business Coomber bringing schools and businesses together 


Worcester’s Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Robin Walker, today visited local specialist

education equipment business Coomber, which was hosting a gathering of the Worcestershire

Education Network (“WEN”). WEN is an organisation designed to allow schools to purchase

more of their equipment locally and to showcase the work of manufacturers and service

providers in Worcester.


He met up with School Governors, business managers, service companies, and manufacturers

who were interested in selling to schools. He heard how the WEN is coordinating local

businesses to market their products to schools.


The initiative is designed to ensure that schools can achieve good value for money in

purchasing educational equipment and services such as legal and accountancy support. Tony

Bennett, the MD of Coomber, hosted the event and took Robin on a tour of the factory floor –

following in the footsteps of the Shadow Chancellor who had visited the week before.

Robin was invited to say a few words to open the conference and spoke about his twin passions

for supporting local businesses and securing fairer funding for education through the f40

campaign, he said:

“It is wonderful that we have so many excellent businesses such as Coomber in Worcestershire

that produce high quality equipment for schools and so many companies that can sell good

value services. The WEN is a brilliant idea because it helps schools to source the products that

they need locally and that in turn supports jobs and skills in our County. One of my passions in

politics has been to break down the barriers between education and business and this initiative

is a powerful tool in doing just that, even as it helps schools to get value for money and deliver

more for their pupils.”


“In a time when money is tight and none of the major parties are able to offer a significant

increase in funding for schools, the fairness of funding becomes all the more important. I have

campaigned relentlessly for this and led a cross party effort in Parliament to secure fair funding

for the lowest funded areas. It is simply not possible to justify the £1000 gap between per pupil

funding in Birmingham and that in Worcestershire and we need to change the system. I am glad

that after four years of relentless pressure, the Government has finally provided a first step in

that direction with the £6.7 million secured for Worcestershire’s schools this year but I recognise

that is only a small part of what is needed.”


“I am very proud of two lines in the Conservative manifesto. Proud because I fought hard to put

them there. The first says that the six and a half million pounds will be ‘baselined’, meaning that

it is not just for this year but for every year into the future; and the second says that we will

deliver fairer funding. If I am re-elected, I will continue to fight hard to ensure that our schools

get the funding they deserve; and to make sure that the money goes into improving the life

chances of Worcester’s pupils, as well as buying the goods and services of the companies here



After the opening of the conference, Robin met with Coomber’s three apprentices and heard

how they are enjoying the two and three year apprenticeships at the firm. He also spoke to the

management about plans to take on more and how the Government and local councils could

make funding more flexible to support this.


The Conservative Manifesto has committed to raise the number of apprenticeships nationally

from 2 million to 3 million and Robin is campaigning to match this with his Worcestershire

Apprenticeship Challenge, to bring local opportunities up from 10,000 in 2014 to 15,000 by



Notes to editors

For more information on Coomber see:


For more information on the Worcestersire Education Network see:


For more information on Robin’s campaigns on Fairer Funding see:



For more information on the wider f40 campaign see: