A Sussex plastics and engineering firm is providing the latest exhibit for the troubled Millennium Dome attraction.

Called the Kidz Bridge, the polystyrene structure is designed to be taken apart and put together by youngsters. The large pieces fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle and was designed as an educational building game.

The bridge takes its place in the Dome this week.

It was made by Newhaven-based Expanded Polystyrene Supplies.

The company has its premises on Denton Island and employs a workforce of eight.

It is used to seeing its products in the limelight after making the Naboo speedsters for the film Star Wars Episode 1, the Phantom Menace.

Another cause for celebration at the company is the awarding of an enterprise grant from the Government Office for the South East.

The grant will be used for refurbishing the firm's premises, new machinery, new product development, staff training and recruitment.

And item number three on the firm's good news list for August is a grant from South East England Development Agency and the Engineering Physical Science Research Council.

This will allow it to work in partnership with Brighton University on a project to find a way of giving polystyrene an environmentally-friendly, toughened, exterior.

The grant will pay for the services of a research chemist.

General manager Tony Benham said a process had been developed in the U.S. but the finish involved too many potential pollutants to make it safe.

"We are working on water-based product that won't pollute.

"In the States, it is used on shopfronts and fascias but planners in this country are reluctant to allow it to be used in that way.

"It has worldwide potential."

When it comes to innovation, EPS is at the forefront.

The hotwire technique used to cut through and shape polystyrene has been streamlined by the firm and now its fully automated machines shape 30 or more pieces at a time.

Not all of the work at the factory has the glamour of a film set, although it is often involved in making one-off pieces for theme parks and TV companies.

A recent commission involved making huge treble clef signs to adorn the roof of the Royal Opera House.

Generally the work is making bespoke packing for delicate items.

And it is working with a leading airline on a new style of cool box that could one day be used on aircraft.