Food producers to expand production thanks to Covid-19 grants

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Home-made cakes and pies have been among the foodie treats delivered to people’s doors during lockdown and two businesses have been awarded grants to expand their services.

Twyfords To You, which owns a popular café in the Suffolk town of Beccles, and Worzals’ garden centre and farm shop over the Cambridgeshire border in Wisbech have received grants under the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme.

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership set up the £3.5m scheme in response to Covid-19 to support short-term business resilience projects and longer-term recovery and diversification projects.

A new range of luxury cakes branded Cake Street is being developed by Twyfords To You, adding to its Harris & James chocolates and ice cream. Initially, the business had planned to supply hotels, restaurants and cafes, but restrictions around Covid-19 has shifted its focus.

Large orders have now been placed by a supermarket chain and a supplier to the trade and its ice cream products will be packaged in smaller tubs to meet the demands of shops and people ordering from home.

Since 2015, Twyfords has received two grants via the LEP’s Small Grant Scheme and another from its Growing Business Fund. The £50,000 grant from the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme will pay for new equipment and enable split working shifts.

Director Alex Godfrey said: “It’s a massive help because it enables us to tailor our products for people’s current needs which will probably continue for the next 12 or 24 months. This isn’t a one-off.

“Grants like this help businesses reach their goals more quickly. Time is of the essence and it’s all about being able to provide an excellent service to your customers who will reward you in the long-term.”

Worzals runs a successful garden centre and farm shop and shortly after the restrictions were put in place it decided to offer a home-delivery service. Its range of savoury pies and desserts such as banoffee pie and chocolate eclairs have proved particularly popular as people have afforded themselves a lockdown treat.

The demand has put pressure on its small kitchen and the £50,000 grant means it can pay for a new space and equipment and bring the three members of staff who were furloughed back to work.

Co-owner Jessie Claydon said the pandemic had changed how the business was run and the had been taken aback at the number of people who began calling up to order home deliveries. In response to the shifting consumer climate, customers were also given the opportunity to order items such as hand sanitiser and cleaning products along with their home-delivered food.

“In this climate, you can’t just put up a purpose-built deli kitchen to respond to the changing needs of the business,” said Jessie.

“At the moment we have a core range of products, but because of the space we are limited in what we can offer, and some items go out of stock. That will not happen once we have the new kitchen and we can extend our range.”

New Anglia Growth Hub helped Worzals with its application to the recently launched scheme and supported it through each stage. “They were in touch with us all the way through it,” said Jessie. “It’s been so straightforward, and I would encourage other businesses to apply.”

To find out more about scheme, click here 



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