A family-run dairy near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, was able to diversify and grow thanks to a LEADER grant awarded in the business’s early days.
When brothers Daniel and Gideon Lacey, the seventh generation of Lacey farmers, began bottling and home-delivering its creamy Guernsey milk and farm-fresh eggs as an experiment in 2007, they quickly became victims of their own success.
In a situation that every small business with a successful product finds out, demand can quickly outstrip supply. Unable to process enough milk to satisfy growing customer demand, E J Lacey & Sons turned to the LEADER Programme for help.
As Daniel Lacey says: “We had been bottling and labelling all of our milk by hand and our hard-working team just couldn’t keep up. We needed to scale-up to meet customer demand.”
The time and effort that went into the LEADER grant application was dwarfed by the outcomes that followed the award of the grant, as with the help of £40,000 the dairy installed a fully mechanised bottling plant and purchased a new refrigerated delivery van.
Will Dallimore, LEADER Programme Manager, said; “This is a great example of a rural business looking to diversify and grow in the face of popular demand for its product. I would encourage any farmers looking to diversify to talk to us about grants to see if together we can help them to deliver success similar to what E J Lacey & Sons managed.”
LEADER is targeting rural businesses with grants betwen £5,000 and £180,000 available for eligible projects. Over £5 million will be available between now and 2020 in the Chilterns, Clay Vales and North & West Northamptonshire areas.