A farming couple have bounced back from financial ruin with a thriving new food production business.
They have launched a bakery selling premium quality meat-based baked produce. The Wissage Bakehouse Ltd is now operating at Little Aston Farm near Stafford.
Linda Young and Peter Read obtained support from the Staffordshire Rural Enterprise Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The total project fund for Staffordshire is £5million and the scheme ends in June 2019. The programme is managed by Staffordshire County Council and supported by borough and district councils.
After finding ourselves in the situation of having to sell a large proportion of our land, the farm was no longer sustainable. We had a great idea for a new business, but the support from the county council in successfully applying for a Rural Enterprise Programme grant helped us turn it into a reality.”
Peter and Linda converted several redundant outbuildings at their farm and launched The Wissage Bakehouse, selling premium quality meat pies locally – including a range of flavoured pork pies and oven-ready pies. They received a grant of £21,000.
We launched the business this summer. Our pies are going down well and we plan to expand the range and take on staff as we become established.”
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said:
Staffordshire has a good reputation for providing the major infrastructure and facilities big businesses need to thrive and prosper, but we are a large rural county and the success of our diverse rural economy is very important to us.
It is encouraging to see the entrepreneurial spirit that Linda and Peter have shown – particularly given the circumstances they have had to overcome. I’m pleased this grant has given them the boost they needed to get their venture off the ground and wish them every success.”
Stafford Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic development and planning Frances Beatty said:
This is great news and I’m really happy for Linda and Peter – and also pleased that we have been a part of this programme to help rural businesses.
I would also encourage more people to come forward very soon to have the opportunity of securing money from the ERDF before the funding is closed next year.
It would be good to be celebrating even more local entrepreneurs who have used this funding to make a success of their business.”
The Rural Enterprise Programme grants are available to help businesses across Staffordshire to develop under-utilised or redundant commercial premises or construct new workspaces.
The minimum amount of grant available is £10,000, and can be used towards the cost of building improvement works, helping to increase productivity and create new job opportunities.
Anyone wanting to find out more about the programme can email REP@staffordshire.gov.uk or call 01785 277400.