June 11, 2024

New home for family-run financial services firm

West Park
Founder Andrew Hodgson, PA Karen Dunn and Trainee Financial Adviser Thomas Hodgson

A family-run financial services company has moved to a new base at Innovation Central in Darlington as part of its own investment in the future.

West Park Financial Planning has been helping to protect and build the wealth of businesses and individuals since being founded by financial adviser Andrew Hodgson 11 years ago.

After building up a client base of more than 250 across the North, Andrew recruited sister Karen Dunn to provide operational support as his PA and son Thomas Hodgson as a trainee financial adviser.

Now the firm has moved from its Tillage Green office to a new suite at the £8million Central Park business centre where the team will focus on further growth.

“This is a significant move for our business as it futureproofs our growth plans,” Andrew said.

“There are plenty of flexible options of bigger offices within the development if we decide to buy another practice and need more space. We will be able to move without any upheaval or even changing our address.”

Andrew has worked in the financial sector for 35 years and launched his business in 2013 after working his way through the ranks of Halifax.

He believes his company’s family values and ownership has been the secret to its success, leading to long-term relationships with clients who appreciate personal service.

West Park

He said: “A lot of clients followed me from my banking days when I set up the business and that meant a lot to me. Over the years we’ve developed lovely relationships – I’ve represented some families for 23 years and now I’m advising their children.

“I’ve watched their families grow and helped them through all of their financial journeys. It’s a privilege to be part of their lives and now my own son is part of the story too.

“The financial services industry can feel quite anonymous and I think people find it reassuring to know they have my family working for their family.”

Andrew said the decision to move to Innovation Central has dramatically reduced overheads, simplified operations and introduced the company to a ready-made business community. 

“The change of location has halved our costs. It was a no brainer of an idea,” he added. Everything is geared up to make moving really smooth and get you up and running really quickly.

“Neighbouring businesses are now our IT and photography suppliers, we can use the facilities of nearby Business Central for meeting rooms and we even have the train station across the road when we need to work in London. It’s perfect.”

Daniel Sanderson, Centre Manager at Darlington Workspace, said: “We’re over the moon to welcome this family business into the Innovation and Business Central family.

“Community and a sense of belonging is a huge part of what’s on offer at our connected business centres so we are a great fit with West Park’s strong family values. We hope the team feels very much at home and we can’t wait to see what’s next for the business.”

Innovation Central and neighbouring sister site Business Central provide a connected business community at the heart of the town’s Central Park development. Both are owned by Darlington Borough Council and are managed by the North East BIC. 

Innovation Central features 45 Grade A offices and five labs, all designed as flexible spaces where businesses can grow. The project is jointly funded by Darlington Borough Council, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), £3.55million from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, and the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

To find out more about Innovation Central and Business Central click here.

To find out more about West Park Financial Planning visit westparkfp.co.uk