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Grant helps create new jobs in Haddenham

Haddenham Garden Centre expansion

Published by Dan Gooding at 2:13pm 10th January 2019.

More jobs are being created in Haddenham, thanks to a £180,000 grant.

The Garden Centre there has been helped by a scheme called the LEADER Programme, so they can expand and create 17 new jobs.

They say it'll help with the growing population in the town.

The family-owned Haddenham Garden Centre began trading in 1978, with the coffee shop opening in 2007.

It was hoped that further developments would begin within two years of this, but due to the financial climate and a focus on running the existing business, this had to be delayed considerably.

Now, with the help of a near £180,000 LEADER grant, the developments can be implemented.

Ben Hawkins, Director of Haddenham Garden Centre, takes up the story:

"We are a small business wanting to grow and diversify our offering to the local area.

"Expanding our coffee shop and farm shop will help us meet local demand, create higher quality amenities for the local area with an emphasis on quality local food, and in turn create many jobs for the rapidly growing local rural population."

When the work is complete, the coffee shop will be housed in a new building with a larger seating area and kitchen, while the farm shop will benefit from new fixtures in order to provide a much bigger range of local produce.

The garden centre will also have a brand new frontage and entrance that will vastly improve the appearance of the site from the road.

Ben knew there was scope for expansion after the results of a customer survey revealed that nearly one third of customers had been turned away from the coffee shop on one or more occasions as all of the seats were taken.

Ben said:

"Visiting garden centres is now widely considered a leisure and tourism activity.

"Our expansion will increase the number of visitors to the local area, therefore benefiting the other local attractions and businesses close to us.

"There are many local food and drink suppliers that will directly benefit from this project too, as we continue to source products from local suppliers."

The project is scheduled for completion in time for spring 2019, with the 17 new jobs spread across the business, with eight in the farm shop, seven in the coffee shop, and two in the main garden centre itself.

Ben explains that these jobs were dependent on the LEADER funding:

"Without the LEADER funding, we simply wouldn't be able to complete this project. The grant allows us to complete the entire project within one year and safeguard these future jobs and business growth."

Will Dallimore, LEADER Programme Manager, said:

"One of the key aims of the LEADER Programme is to help rural businesses create jobs, so I'm delighted we have been able to support Haddenham Garden Centre with an expansion that could add up to 17 new staff members and ensure the centre meets local demand for quality local food."

The LEADER Programme

The LEADER Programme delivers grants of between £5,000 - £180,000 to support business growth in rural areas.

Example projects eligible for funding include farm shops, farming & forestry machinery, glamping, local food initiatives, food and drink processing, and many more.

Funding is available for a limited time only.

Call the team on 01494 927131, email info@leader-programme.org.uk or visit www.leader-programme.org.uk.

The grants are administered by Ngage Solutions, on behalf of the LEADER Local Action Groups.

The LEADER programme is designed to promote business growth, particularly the growth of micro and small businesses.

It is focused on rural areas supporting; small rural companies, farm diversification projects, forestry projects, tourism projects, rural services and cultural and heritage projects.

Each programme area is expected to help with the creation of approximately 75 jobs and to provide financial support for 130 rural businesses.

In the 2008-2013 LEADER programme, projects delivered by Ngage were some of the most successful in the UK. 124 projects were awarded funding which in turn sustained 206 jobs, created 117 new jobs and helped launch 39 new businesses.

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