Northumberland food business goes mobile

The Real Taste of Northumberland is a family-run catering business which was incorporated as a limited company in 2016. Based in Lesbury near Alnwick, the team uses locally-sourced produce and provides catering for events including weddings, sporting and outdoor events, as well as working with businesses to supply catering for staff.

It’s one of the North East businesses which has received support from the North East Business Support Fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, with the business being awarded a grant of £1,232.50.

Before March 2020, the team had bookings secured throughout the summer for weddings, summer balls and sports events. When lockdown was announced, all these bookings were either cancelled or postponed, resulting in a £65,000 loss of business. In order to adapt to the new circumstances, Managing Director, Adele Johnson, used a bounceback loan to buy a mobile catering pod, which would allow the team to travel to outdoor locations to trade once restrictions were eased. 

The grant from the North East Business Support Fund was used to buy a generator which powers the mobile catering equipment. Without this, the pod could not operate in the more remote areas of Northumberland and potential income would be severely limited.

“The pandemic had a massive, massive impact on our business,” said Adele. “Buying the pod and generator meant that we were able to start trading again in July – if we didn’t get this grant for the generator, we’d only have been able to operate the pod from our base whereas now we can travel and offer takeaway food at different locations.”

Adele is now planning to take on more staff to help operate the pod and help with event catering when this picks up again. “If everyone supports their local businesses then businesses like ours will survive, so please buy local when you can.” added Adele.

The North East Business Support Fund is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL

NBSL is approved by BIS, Customer First, and Investors in People and has a team of experienced accredited business funding advisers, who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.

NBSL relaunched The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.