FOR the winner of Small Business of the Year at last year’s Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards, community involvement is something to be taken seriously.

FOR the winner of Small Business of the Year at last year's Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards, community involvement is something to be taken seriously.

Though Bierce Technical Services also collected the overall Business of the Year title in 2009, the three-year-old company is still a small business at heart, according to managing director Stephen Birch.

The heating and energy efficiency company took on an employee from the Papworth Trust earlier this year, who joined initially to gain experience of the world of work, but who has since joined the company on a contract.

Mr Birch said: "It was a gradual process, designed to give some hands-on experience of work, but we have been so impressed with Matthew's work that he has become part of the team.

"We are still a small company, so it is very important that we retain our community links, and this initiative with the Papworth Trust has worked out extremely well for all parties."

Mr Birch also encouraged other small Huntingdonshire businesses to look at similar projects.

"I would recommend other companies to try it, because it is an extremely worthwhile idea. It doesn't take a great deal of time, and there is support from the Papworth Trust at all stages.

"We just consider it part of our civic duty to participate in schemes like this, and would encourage others to try it too."

Bierce also works with Job Centre Plus to fill any new positions that arise, and have taken on two new members of staff through the arrangement.

"We also make annual charitable donations, as many companies do, raising as much money as we can and matching the staff efforts from the company," said Mr Birch.

Staff completed the 46-mile Pathfinder March to raise money for their nominated charity, the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, and last year donated to the Royal British Legion.

Bierce Technical Services is also involved in promoting small business in Huntingdonshire. Mr Birch works with the Federation of Small Businesses - sponsor of the Small Business of the Year award - and is involved with the Huntingdonshire Business Against Crime network.

"We work with many other small businesses, and we consider it very important to work together and support each other wherever we can," he added.