The expansion plans of one Northamptonshire business came to fruition thanks to a sizeable grant from LEADER, with dozens of jobs created and tourism getting a boost as a result.

Olive Grove Nurseries saw the availability of LEADER funding in 2011 as an opportunity to grow the business and thanks to £70,000 LEADER grant they implemented ambitious plans to build a coffee shop, delicatessen and gelateria, having started off as an architectural plant garden centre and nursery in Polebrook, Northamptonshire.

Tim Thackeray of Olive Grove Nurseries was clear about the impact the LEADER grant had: “Without LEADER intervention the project would not have proceeded. We have gone from strength to strength since we had our grant and can honestly say we would not be in the same place without it.

“The application process may be relatively challenging but the team is really supportive and will help you at every stage. Our plans would not have become a reality without this funding, so if believe in your project, stick with it and contact LEADER!

“Thanks to LEADER funding we have gone from a business of around £200,000 run by just myself and one other person, to a business that this year will achieve sales of around £1million with a staff of over 30 people at the height of the season.”

Olive Grove Nurseries has seen its footfall significantly increase from the time when around 10 cars would be in the car park at any one time to now welcoming over 100,000 visitors a year, providing a significant boost to local tourism.

Tim explains the future plans: “In the longer term we have a plan to develop either an artisan village allowing local artisans and crafts people a platform to produce, display and sell their goods, or a small high end eco village short stay holiday complex. We have spoken with the local parish council and planners about both these opportunities and they have been positively received.”

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