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Business & Economy

Northumberland café to expand thanks to the Rural Development Programme

The Running Fox, an award winning café with sites in both Felton and Longframlington, is expanding to the village of Shilbottle in order to continue the development of local villages and communities in rural Northumberland.

The Shilbottle site, on the premises of the Farriers Arms, is set to open in early April 2019, offering seating for 50 visitors, a retail area stocking local produce as well as creating five full time jobs with further part time job creation over peak seasons.

The business has achieved funding through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE); a programme created to fund projects that create jobs and growth the rural economy.

Speaking about the expansion, business owner, Kris Blackburn said: “In 2011 I established The Running Fox in Felton with the objective of providing the local community with locally sourced artisan produce. The reaction was better than we could ever have hoped, not only with the local community but we saw a huge proportion of customers that have travelled from outside the area.

“Opening a new, and bigger site, is very exciting for us as it gives us the opportunity to further innovate the business whilst economically and culturally benefiting the village and surrounding area.”

In order to secure funding for the expansion, Kris worked with land, property and business consultants, George F. White. It quickly became apparent to the firm that this was the ideal project to fit into the RDPE criteria. Thanks to the teams hard work and determination, £45,000 was secured in late 2018, meaning that Kris and her team could move forward with the structural and design work required to achieve completion by Spring 2019.

Senior rural business consultant at George F. White, David Hume, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to have helped Kris achieve £45k of grant support. It’s great to be able to support a local entrepreneur with exciting ideas for expansion, supporting other local businesses and growth of the economy in Northumberland.

“I truly believe that The Running Fox has breathed a new life into Felton and Longframlington, providing a community hub as well as improving tourist infrastructure. Their success is a great example of how rural development starts at home with the individuals and the community.”