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Business & Economy

Accelerating rural business growth

Northumberland companies are being boosted by large-scale support programmes, which are helping them to diversify and supercharge their growth plans across the rural economy. Here, Advance Northumberland looks at some of the success stories.

“I’m really optimistic about the future,” says Ralph Thompson, owner of Alnwick-based Silvermoor Ltd.

These are exciting times for Silvermoor, which produces haylage for the equestrian, dairy and poultry sectors.

The company has been supported by the North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service Programme, which helps micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the rural areas of Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside.

The programme – delivered by Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council and part-funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority – will assist more than 300 businesses by 2023.

More than £1 million of support has been awarded to date. And just under £1 million is still available for business to tap in to.

The programme offers a Capital Grant Investment Fund to support investment in projects that enable rural businesses to expand productive capacity and/or diversify into new markets or products, which will lead to job creation.

In addition, its business advice and support services can help companies with the development of growth plans and guide them towards sources of finance.

There’s a single point of contact and access to technical advisors.

In Silvermoor’s case, £57,974 worth of grant assistance has helped the company tackle new markets.

For Wooler-based Glendale Engineering (Milfield) Ltd, which specialises in commercial and agricultural steel frame construction, the programme has helped fund machinery, create jobs and enable diversification.

The programme has also helped Pilgrims Gelato, which sells vegan gelato from Holy Island.

Funding has supported the creation of a production facility in Denwick, and helped the company extend its reach.

Putting rural communities at the heart of business growth

A business has been launched to provide families living off-grid across rural Northumberland with maintenance and servicing of home generators.

Launched by Steve Batey, Rural Generator Services provides a lifeline to the 350 off-grid households across Northumberland, who are reliant on generators.

Steve worked alongside the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project – delivered by a partnership between Advance Northumberland, Innovation SuperNetwork and Northumbria University – as part of the ‘Powerless People’ campaign, which has involved working alongside Community Action Northumberland to help find solutions to the issues faced by the off-grid community in rural Northumberland.

Interested in support?

Want to access the Rural Business Growth Service Programme? Call 01670 528 400, email [email protected] or visit