Growth hub help guarantees cracking future for Shropshire egg producer Case Study
"I cannot underestimate the support that has been given to us from the team at the Marches Growth Hub. From our first meeting with Anna Sadler, who enabled us to have a meeting with Gary Spence to develop our idea, they both could not have been more helpful. Gary guided us through the application with great enthusiasm and dedication at every step. What an amazing team!"
Elwyn Griffiths, Oaklands Eggs
£500,000 support from Rural Development Programme for England
20 new full-time equivalent jobs being created by the £2.7m project
Turnover to increase by up to £7 million per year
Huge economic benefits to regional economy and supply chain
The Griffiths family group is a real Shropshire success story. Founded in 1955 by husband and wife Aled and Olwen Griffiths, it has grown to be one of Shropshire's largest employers with an annual group turnover of more than £75 million.
Today, the business is run by the Griffiths' sons Gareth and Elwyn with help from the next generation of the family, Jonathan and Michael. They bring new ideas and energy to the business. It employs 240 people and markets nearly 900 million eggs whilst maintaining a reputation as a leader in bird welfare standards.
The company is one of the largest egg packers in Europe and the only in-line farm of its type in the UK, where eggs are packed on the same site at which they are laid. A new processing facility is now under way within a few of miles of this. It has an unsurpassed expertise in farming and poultry, reflected by the family's involvement in representing most egg industry bodies and Elwyn Griffiths' role as chairman of the British Egg Products Association.
The farm and new processing facility, is based in North Shropshire.
How the Marches Growth Hub helped
The Marches Growth Hub has developed a close working relationship with the Griffiths family over a number of years.
"The family have worked closely with the Marches Growth Hub who have been the first port of call should we need any advice or potential help on new projects," Elwyn Griffith said.
"My marketing and design team have always found the support of Anna Sadler, Emma Chapman and Patricia Head at the Shropshire hub extremely helpful. They are always there ready to suggest any PR opportunities that are available, giving us constant support throughout our project together."
The family's Shropshire background means they have worked alongside Shropshire Council and, since its launch, the Marches Growth Hub Shropshire, as the business has grown into a major county employer.
So, when Oaklands were looking to develop a new high-tech site to produce liquid egg for the food industry, they turned to the Growth Hub team and Shropshire Council's ERDF Technical Assistance Officer Gary Spence for support.
The team were able to provide detailed information about the Rural Development Programme for England – the programme which is designed to create jobs and growth in rural businesses, particularly in the tourism and food sectors.
That led to the Growth Hub helping Oaklands put together an expression of interest for RDPE support and subsequently the submission of a full application. Ongoing consultation and support from both the Marches Growth Hub Shropshire and the Economic Growth Team within Shropshire Council resulted in the company being able to maximise the grant it received.
As a result, Oaklands received a £500,000 grant from the RDPE Growth Programme, with the total cost of the project amounting to £2.7 million.
The new liquid egg production facility will have a major impact on Oaklands Farm's continued ability to lead the UK egg market.
It will allow the business to separate and pasteurise whole egg, yolk and egg white on site, producing a liquid product which will enable the consumer to purchase food made with British egg rather than relying on the majority coming from Europe. With the uncertainty of Brexit, the aim is to have British products available throughout the UK egg industry.
The project will create 20 new full-time equivalent jobs, increase turnover by an estimated £7 million per annum and consolidate the family's reputation as innovators in the market.
Alongside this it will benefit the supply chain by providing a traceable British Lion standard product for secondary producers to use, which will be good for both their marketing and consumer relationships.
And it will also provide a significant boost to the many local Shropshire egg producers that Oaklands Farm already works alongside.
"Without the financial and supportive help from the Marches Growth Hub, this project would not have been able to take place and allow the business to develop in another new direction," said Elwyn.
"The site construction is currently under way, and will be for several exciting weeks. All specified equipment is now manufactured and ready for installation. There is a high level of activity on site ready for launching our first new products later in the spring."
Elwyn Griffiths is clear that the highly-successful relationship with the Growth Hub will continue as the company itself continues to thrive.
"We will continue our long-term relationship with the Growth Hub to develop marketing opportunities and look to them for guidance with any new add-on projects that we will be able to consider as the site develops.
"I know they will be a constant source of advice on any potential financial and supportive schemes that are available for our business development and growth."