FoodWorksSW is designed to provide a regional centre of excellence for food and drink manufacturers to help new businesses get started and established producers to innovate and grow.
The funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership will help finance the £11.2M first phase of the centre’s development, situated within the Food Enterprise Zone on the outskirts of Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset.
Phase one development will include the creation of a business engagement hub, four product development units and 12 units of between 92.9m2 and 139m2. The units will be suitable for food businesses and are targeted at new and growing firms from across the south west.
New and growing firms
Larger units of between 278m2 and 464m2 will be provided as part of phase two of the project.
Marshfield Bakery md and chair of the FoodWorksSW project advisory group Chris Smith said: “I am absolutely delighted by the news that North Somerset Council has successfully secured funding for FoodWorksSW which will provide vital facilities, training and support for SME [small and medium-sized enterprises] businesses such as ours.
“This is an exciting step forward for the food and drink industry in the south west and will not only raise awareness of this important sector, but will also help to secure future growth and investment.”
‘Secure future growth’
Subject to planning approval, building work is due to start in the autumn. The council hoped to open the centre by the end of 2018 / early 2019.
North Somerset conservative councillor Nigel Ashton said the new centre would boost the profile of the region’s food and drink industry, both locally and nationally.
“[This year] is going to be a big year for the Enterprise Area,” added Ashton. “Already home to a diverse range of companies, around 1,500 jobs have been created there in the last two years and we are confident that a number of high-profile investment enquiries will come to fruition this year.”