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Gloucestershire Business News

Sausage roll producers to hit TV screens

Sausage roll producers Cinderhill Farm are flying the flag for the Forest of Dean in the current Channel 4 series 'A Cotswold Farmshop'.

The six-part documentary series is about Gloucester Services, their ethos, their staff, and the local people who produce the goods they sell on their shelves.

Cinderhill Farm, of St Briavels in the Forest of Dean, has been a key supplier to Gloucester Services since the day it opened.

"As the services have grown, we have grown," says Deborah Flint who, with her husband Neil, began the business of making some of Britain's best-loved handmade sausage rolls for the services on their farm over ten years ago.

Their business is a real success story and now supports a team of 16 people as well as other local businesses with whom they trade.

Cinderhill Farm made 537,000 products last year and are currently around 7% up on last year since April 1, meaning they should be looking at about 575,000 products this year, or more than 11,000 a week.

Cinderhill Farm's story, which is being aired on Monday, August 28th, at 8pm is straight from "The Good Life".

Deborah and Neil Flint packed in their office jobs and secured a small holding in St Briavels in the Gloucestershire countryside. Deborah started by selling her sausage rolls at Coleford Country Market, and has had to learn how to manage a successful and growing local eco business ever since.

A life-changing meeting with buyer Alex Evans saw their sausage rolls stocked at the services. Today they deliver 2,000 sausage rolls to Gloucester every week, becoming one of the service's best sellers.

The husband-and-wife team report that sales are soaring this summer with the first three episodes having been shown and their sausage rolls having made only a cameo appearance so far. They expect this to be sustained over the next few weeks.

Deborah added: "Growing the business as an eco-business has been really important for us, but just - if not more important - has been our determination to be good employers and to provide sustainable employment for those who come to work for us."

The company's commitment to providing good apprenticeship jobs, to growing management of the business from within wherever they can, and to championing initiatives like Healthy Workplace, Cycling to Work and Living Wage Foundation membership, are among some of the factors that have meant that despite being deeply rural in location, recruitment has never been an issue.

A Cotswold Farmshop shares the stories of a family-owned motorway services business that celebrates the people and produce of Gloucestershire.

The services opened in 2014 as a unique partnership between neighbourhood development charity Gloucestershire Gateway Trust (GGT) and Westmorland Family, the business behind Tebay Services in Cumbria; each with a stake in the business, working together to create sustainable long-term community improvements.

Sarah, daughter of John and Barbara Dunning, grew up with her parents running the first family-owned motorway services in the UK; Tebay Services in Cumbria. The unique services opened in 1972 after the M6 motorway was built through their farm.

The family's vision to invite the world to this once-remote stretch of Cumbria to eat a good meal, enjoy a heartfelt welcome and relish the upland landscape became a reality. Gloucester Services continues the original ethos of celebrating local people and produce and giving back to the local community.

Sarah Dunning, chair of Westmorland Family, the business behind Gloucester Services, said: "We always start with what's local because that says something about the area and what the area does."

Social change entrepreneur and founder of the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, Mark Gale, approached the Dunning Family to build a motorway services that had true and lasting links to the local community.

Mark said: "The motorway presented a problem for locals. With 28 million cars and 40 million people passing by the areas creating noise, pollution and demands on public services every time there was an accident. Together with our communities, we looked at how to create an opportunity out of a problem."

Gloucester Services is a pioneering model of social investment. Gloucestershire Gateway Trust receives up to three pence in every £1 of non-fuel sales at Gloucester Services to invest in its partners throughout our local communities and create sustainable employment.

One of the many examples is a pre-employment course, Bridging the Gap which helps people who experience barriers to work to develop their skills, boost confidence and have a guaranteed interview at Gloucester Services.

Sarah said: "Business has an opportunity to have real impact if it runs itself in the right way. We set up Gloucester Services in a way where the benefits to the Gloucestershire community are embedded directly in our business plan. The more we sell, the more income Gloucester Gateway Trust gets. I love that concept because it's a win, win."

Deborah Flint appeared on the panel of this morning's edition of Punchline's Business Breakfast Briefers 

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