A new multi million pound regional food and drink innovation centre – the only one of its kind in the south west – is open for business.
North Somerset Council has handed over control of the new £11 million innovation centre, The Food Works SW, to The Food and Drink Forum as part of a 15-year contract.
The Food and Drink Forum operates similar food centres in Nottingham and Leicester and manages a large European funded business support programme for the food industry.
(Image: Nick Whimster)
The multi-million-pound project, situated within the DEFRA designated Food Enterprise Zone in the heart of the Junction 21 Enterprise Area in Weston-super-Mare, has long been in the making after North Somerset Council won funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
It is now opening the doors to food and drink manufacturers in the south west.
With concerns over the effects of the Coronavirus Crisis hitting the economy hard, the food and drink industry, listed as essential key workers, has seen some businesses facing increasing demand.
(Image: Nick Whimster)
The 12 business units and development kitchens are now available for anyone finding themselves needing more space during this time or those businesses who have had to diversify and are in need of an area to develop their products ready for delivery.
The business units at The Food Works SW will provide food and drink businesses with modern, affordable food-grade premises that conform to the highest standards and meet the latest environmental health legislation.
The various sized spaces will enable start-ups or established businesses to fulfil their production requirements safe in the knowledge that maintenance costs will be minimised and that they can achieve BRC Grade AA with confidence.
As well as the units now being available to rent, also on site is a team of staff to support businesses with a variety of operational or technical business queries.
North Somerset Council executive member for business, economy and employment Councillor Mark Canniford said: “I am really excited about the future direction The Food Works will take our food and drinks industry in North Somerset.
“We all know someone who is making great products to bring to the market but they need a little professional guidance and support, and The Food Works offers this.
““I want to see North Somerset as the gateway to the food and drinks region of the south west of the UK. I wish all those involved the best of luck and I for one look forward to trying their products.”
Businesses can access a range of services from The Food WorksSW that aim to alleviate the current pressures they are facing.
The latest tips, resources and live support can be found by searching @foodworks_sw on social media or www.foodworks-sw.co.uk
Anyone wanting to apply for the business units at The Food WorksSW can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the team on 01934 411272.