A CLOTHES-MAKER has secured a £150,000 investment to create more jobs and continue its expansion.

The AMA Group, in Peterlee, east Durham, is being supported by the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund.

The backing has come from fund managers, Rivers Capital Partners.

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AMA bosses say it will help the company, which employs more than 40 workers, take on more staff.

Last month, The Northern Echo revealed AMA was preparing to hold talks with famous fashion brand Fred Perry, endorsed by Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, over a potential supply deal.

It already has an agreement to send girls’ leggings to Sports Direct in the style of Disney’s Frozen story, and has held negotiations with Tesco over nightwear and casual gym-style lines after supplying thousands of ladies tops for the supermarket’s F&F range.

Director Paul Watts, who runs the company with fellow directors David and Julie Price and two other partners, said River Capital’s backing was an important step as it returns clothes-making to its North-East heartland.

He said: “We’re well placed to take advantage of consumers becoming more conscious of where their clothes come from.

“With the funding supplied, we can offer affordable garments made in the UK that shoppers can be comfortable, if not proud, to wear.”

Speaking to The Northern Echo previously, Mr Watts said it was committed to delivering more jobs, including two apprentice engineers and cutting room staff.

He added: “We’ve created full-time jobs and will continue doing that.

“There would have been a lot of experienced people out just sat at home with 15 years of their working lives left. “

The firm’s presence is a major boost to a County Durham employment landscape once renowned for boasting famous clothing manufacturers such as Shildon-based fur coat company Astraka, and Claremont Garments, which had factories in Stanley, Peterlee, West Auckland and Newton Aycliffe, and produced clothing for Marks and Spencer.

Dr Michael Dickens, who led the Rivers Capital Partners investment team, said he was delighted to support AMA’s success.

He said: “The company has an immensely experienced team, who know their industry inside out, and that has allowed them to seize the opportunity in UK clothes manufacturing.”

Legal advice on the investment came from Ward Hadaway, which has offices in Newcastle.

Imogen Holland, corporate partner, added: “AMA have pursued their vision with great tenacity and I’m sure their experience in the sector will prove invaluable.”

Earlier this year, The Northern Echo also revealed how AMA had plans to open more factories and go past its initial estimate of creating at least 100 posts.

Mr Watts said: “What we do in Peterlee will give us a platform for further potential factories and we are looking around the North-East.

“We've talked about recruiting in excess of 150 people, but that’s us being conservative.

“In reality, we expect the figure to rise significantly so we can meet the demand that is already there.”