Oldham Mayor meets with local business firm as part of commitment to raise profile of the town

Date published: 19 February 2020

A group of local employees had the chance to meet with Oldham’s Mayor this week when Councillor Ginny Alexander made a visit to Lees Brook Mill, the home of leading British toy manufacturer and distributor, Character Options Ltd. 

The visit took place on Monday, 17th February 2020 as part of the Mayor’s commitment to raising the profile of Oldham and forging links with the private, voluntary and public sector in the area.

Character Options is one of the area’s biggest employers and has been situated at Lees Brook Mill since 1991.

The company employs over 200 people at the busiest times of the year and, as the largest UK based and owned toy manufacturer, produces or distributes over 13 million toys per year while also exporting to over 35 different countries.

As part of the Character Group, Character Options now has offices in Hong Kong, London and China, but considers Oldham to be its home. 

Arriving after lunch, Councillor Alexander was given a full tour of the site and showroom which houses many of the exciting toys that Character Options is famous for.

As a part of this, she met with representatives from across the whole company many of which have been with the firm for decades.  

The visit culminated with a presentation of the history of the firm, its links with the Oldham area plus an overview of the many charitable activities that the company is involved in.  

Character Options supports many good causes every year; either through monetary donations or the giving of toys.  Last year alone they donated toys to over 66 charities many of which are located in the Oldham area. These included the Royal Oldham Hospital, POINT (Oldham) and Oldham Fire Brigade. 

‘’Many Thanks to everyone for the tour of Character Options and the friendly hospitality shown today.’’ Commented Councillor Alexander, ‘It was truly enlightening. I certainly won’t be driving past Lees Brook Mill without thinking about what a great company we have in Oldham and what lovely people work there. Thank You.’’

Joe Kissane, Character Options’ Managing Director also commented; “We were delighted to welcome Councillor Alexander to Lees Brook Mill.  

"Over the past 29 years, we have been fortunate to establish ourselves in the Oldham Community and have a very loyal team many of whom come from within a very small radius of the site.

"Without them we would not be where we are today and so it was important to us that they were made a part of this visit. We would therefore like to extend a personal thank you to the Mayor for taking time out of her busy schedule to see what we do here.” 

Bev Cummins, Character Options’ Business Administration Director, was one of the many that met personally with the Mayor.

She said: “Monday was a very special day at the Mill. It was wonderful to speak with Councillor Alexander about our roles within Character Options and the enjoyment of being part of the Company’s evolvement over many years.

"I have worked for Character for over 26 years and began my career as a Sales Administrator, gradually proceeding to becoming a Director of the Business.

"Knowing first-hand how important the local community is to the management at Character, today was a super opportunity to engage and share with the Mayor our commitment to National and local charities alike – of which I have no doubt is playing a huge part of what our Mayor is also aiming to achieve within her Appeal Fund events and her term within office.” 

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