A TOUR which aims to boost Braintree businesses kick started this week.

Councillor and Braintree District Council chairman Sue Wilson started her tour of businesses with a visit to the Essex Gliding Club.

The aim of the tour is to identify ways to grow and support the businesses.

Chairman of the club John Whitwell gave Mrs Wilson and officer Danielle Putt a tour of the airfield, simulator and fleet of gliders.

Essex Gliding Club is a small club with around 50 active members which operates from an airfield in Ridgewell.

A glider is designed to fly without an engine and the club invites guests to take to the air.

The club, while popular among members, faces challenges in maintaining its services to residents and visitors.

It is looking for financial support from government and other organisations to help fund its activities.

During the visit the guests and Mr Whitwell discussed some of the grant schemes available which could help the club, and covered an introduction to free courses and sessions offered and run by partners to support businesses.

Mrs Wilson said: "I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the volunteers and the tour I was given of the airfield, simulators and gliders.

"We were both offered a ride in the glider and our hosts were friendly, helpful and informative to us both.

"I would like to thank them for a really enjoyable visit and I’m pleased that we were are able to give them a flavour of the funding opportunities open to them."

Chairman of the Essex Gliding Club, John Whitwell said: "It was a very real pleasure to introduce the chairman of Braintree District Council and her colleague, Danielle Putt, to the Essex Gliding Club.

"It is quite an honour for us to be chosen for the first of these innovative visits.

"The exhilarating sport of Gliding involves flying unpowered aircraft using the same naturally occurring currents of air that birds use to fly. Using these invisible currents we can soar to great heights and travel long distances."

For more information visit the website www.essexgliding.com.

Businesses interested in business support can email economicd@braintree.gov.uk.