CHARTERED accountants and business advisors UNW has won praise for helping to secure £6m in Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants for 12 North-East companies.

The Newcastle firm says it has helped local businesses create and safeguard more than 1,200 jobs in the past six months.

Recent successes include businesses as diverse as heavy engineering, software, food processing and biotechnology.

Davy Roll, in Gateshead, was advised by UNW on its grant application and was successful in winning an award of £1m.

The firm is the world's second largest producer of steel rolls.

RSA grants are administered by regional development agencies and include money from the Government and the European Union.

Steve Bell, managing director of Davy Roll, said: "UNW guided us through a fairly complex grant application and ultimately negotiated a significant grant for us which will enable us to invest in new equipment and better production processes."

Neville Bearpark, who leads the corporate finance department at UNW, said: "We have a strong team who have more than 25 years' experience between them in finance-raising and grant applications.

"Our success rate is hard to beat anywhere in the country."