Bespoke painting and decorating service S Nicholson and Sons is responding to its growing order book by creating six new jobs and investing £70,000 to expand its fleet of vans.

The Bishop Auckland-based firm revealed that the latest lockdown has contributed to a significant rise in work over the past few months, as people have focused on a range of home improvements.

Managing director Stephen Nicholson said staff have also been kept busy completing several commercial contracts – particularly in the hospitality sector – as businesses prepare to reopen their premises to the public.

The family-run firm recently took on three new decorators and is in the process of recruiting a further three, to bring its workforce to 17 full time staff.

Two new apprenticeships are included as part of the intake as several current apprentices approach the completion of their training

In addition, the company has invested £70,000 in three new Citroen Relay vans to add to its current fleet of nine, as well as updating the company branding.

Stephen said: “We have seen a huge increase in work over the past few months, partially due to people looking to redecorate as they spend more time at home, while businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector, have been gearing up to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased.

“This has given us the impetus to create six new jobs and expand our fleet of vans – allowing us to keep up with the demand for our services.”

Stephen, who set the firm up in 2008 and is a staunch supporter of apprenticeships, added. “I’m particularly pleased to be able to take on two new apprentices as it’s a matter of pride to be able to pass on our traditional painting and decorating skills to the next generation.”

The company, specialises in the restoration of heritage and listed buildings, including Raby Castle, Rockliffe Hall and Hallgarth Manor.

It has also recently appointed a new paint supplier, Brewers, Darlington, which offers a range of trade paints, products, and accessories, together with a paint mixing and 24- hour collection service.