A Portglenone hearse building firm has credited the support received from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in helping secure funding to launch an innovative ‘Coffin Pod’ which will help protect grieving families and funeral directors as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Family-owned Quinn Hearse & Limousines have specialised in the design and manufacture of hearses and limousines for over a quarter of a century, and currently employ 22 staff.
The company’s revolutionary new product has been launched following extensive market research after Quinn’s were awarded the Innovate NI Gold Standard accreditation.
The Coffin Pod is a sealed glass pod which will allow funeral directors to transport coffins safely, and allow families to have open coffin wakes while observing social distancing measures.
The development of the new product has been made possible with the support of a network of stakeholders, including the council’s Economic Development team, Innovate UK and Invest NI.
Patrick Quinn, Company Director, said:
“Innovation and new product development have been core to the business’s continued success. We had the idea to develop the Coffin Pod, after seeing the impact that Covid-19 was having on families being unable to properly mourn for their loved ones; and to protect funeral directors in transport to their final resting place.
“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have supported us through the process of applying for the Innovate UK Challenge Fund to address the current and future impacts of Covid-19. With their support, we successfully secured the funding to develop our Coffin Pod.
“We are delighted to have now launched this into the market, and to have been awarded the Innovate NI Gold standard for this product. We continue to develop our core product ranges of hearses and limousines and have several new vehicles under development.”
Speaking about the ongoing support received by the council, Patrick added:
“Through our interaction with Council’s Business Client Manager, Barbara Orr we have received support through the Business Escalator and Business Escalator Plus Programmes to develop our export markets and growth development.
“The support through the programmes and assistance from Barbara has been truly worthwhile and I would recommend that businesses in our borough take advantage of the help available.
“As we continue to move forward, we aim to make use of the assistance in the many different areas of running our business, to grow and create more jobs for the people of Ballymena.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, said:
“Quinn Hearse & Limousine is just one of many companies across Mid and East Antrim to have benefitted from support via Council’s Amplify programmes, since the launch of our economic development strategy in 2018.
“As well as supporting our SMEs to navigate through the current challenges posed by COVID-19, we are preparing for the new economic landscape as we navigate post lockdown, and have provided expert guidance to support Quinn Hearse & Limousine with its longer-term business development strategy.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Business Escalator and Escalator Plus Programmes are part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
To find out more about the support available to your business and to access free mentoring make an enquiry today via midandeastantrim.gov.uk/EscalatorPlus