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Councils offer boost to food and drinks sector

13 October 2022 : Council news, Business

Local food and drink businesses are set to benefit from industry-expert advice, tailored training and financial assistance from Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) and Sedgemoor District (SDC) Councils.

The support offered has been organised between the councils in response to recent research highlighting challenges for businesses concerning labelling, food safety regulations, training and supply chain disruptions.

Any businesses signing up to receive the free support comprising a review meeting, one-to-one advice and attendance to at least one expert workshop, will be eligible to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 available from December on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

The range of workshops will be held over the next few months commencing with SALSA Certification on Tuesday, 18 October, which helps local and regional food and drink producers supply their products to national and regional buyers. Alternatively, businesses can request up to two hours of industry-specific advice provided by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards.

SWT's Executive Member for Economic Development, Planning & Transportation, Councillor Mike Rigby, said: “It's been a challenging two and a half years for local food and drink producers so anything we can do to support their businesses – whether it's establishing shorter, more environmentally friendly supply chains, guidance on regulations or Intellectual Property – we're more than happy to help.

“I'd like to thank our partners Sedgemoor District Council, the Heart of the South West Growth Hub and Devon and Somerset Trading Standards for their expertise in helping us to deliver this support and I encourage any local food and drink businesses to take full advantage of the help on offer.”

SDC’s Executive Member for Inward Investment and Growth, Councillor Gill Slocombe, said: “The food and drink sector is facing very distinctive challenges. We recognise that different sectors face different issues, therefore together with Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Heart of the South West Growth Hub, we have designed this bespoke programme looking at addressing those unique needs.

“From supply chains to allergens and accreditation schemes – we are giving our food and drink businesses specialist tools to grow and develop, for example the labelling of our foods is a serious issue for many people with allergies and ailments so to fully understand what they are eating is crucial and can be a life saver for some.”

For workshop dates and to register for the support, visit SWT’s Spotlight on food and drink webpage.

Businesses applying for the grant will need to demonstrate how it will support their business.

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