17 May 2002

PMG GRANT BOOSTS CHEESE ENTERPRISE

A 30% processing and marketing grant has helped

one N Yorks cheese producer expand

NORTH Yorks cheese producer, Judy Bell, says the processing and marketing grant she received will help her business compete against cheeses imported from Europe.

She was awarded a 30% grant towards putting in brand new production facilities at Shepherds Purse, Thirsk. These include a cheese room, dairy, refrigerated store and packing room. The total cost of the project was just over £514,000.

"We were planning to expand anyway but it would probably have meant cobbling things together and adding on to existing buildings, as we have been doing for the past 12 years," says Mrs Bell.

"The grant has allowed us to design new facilities so we can produce the cheese more efficiently. This will reduce costs and give us a more competitive edge in the marketplace."

Mrs Bell adds that her best-seller, the award-winning Yorkshire Blue cheese, is similar to Roquefort. Therefore it has to be competitively priced against the imported product.

Building work on the new facilities should be completed by this coming August, and production is expected to treble to meet growing demand. The business will need 20-25 full-time workers to add to its existing staff of nine and Mrs Bell says the volume of milk she will be buying from local farms will go up by 400%.

Judy Bell expects to gain a competitive edge.

Building work at Shepherds Purse, Thirsk should be completed

by the end of August this year.