A North East brewery is planning to create new jobs and move into new markets after securing funds from initiative that has injected more than £1.3m into regional firms.
Camerons Brewery, in Hartlepool, has received £150,000 through the Tees Valley Business Compass scheme, which offers between £25,000 and £1m of grant support to SMEs investing in their businesses to achieve sustainable growth.
The money will enable the firm to invest in a modern bottling facility that will allow it to tap into the growing take-home market both in the UK and abroad, while creating 12 full-time jobs and safeguarding a further three by 2016.
Set up in 1865 as family business, Camerons has gone on to establish itself as one of the UK’s leading contract brewers, which also owns and operates more than 70 pubs in the North East.
Director and general manager Chris Soley said: “Without the grant assistance through the Business Growth Investment Scheme, we would have been unable to finance the project and lost out on the opportunity to grow the business and help secure the long-term future of the brewery.
“Camerons Brewery is now the only remaining major independent family brewer in the North East and, as it approaches its 150th anniversary, the addition of a bottling capability will allow the business to adapt to changing consumer trends and help cement the site’s future long-term prosperity.
“As a result of the grant funding, we are able to install a beer bottling line capable of packaging up to 10,000 bottles per hour. The investment adds a further vital dimension to our UK renowned contract brewing services.”
The Tees Valley Business Compass Scheme, which is being led by Tees Valley Unlimited, came about after Lancaster University secured Regional Growth Fund money to create 15 UK growth hubs.
A total of £2.4m was allocated to the area, £1.3m of which has already been handed out to 10 local projects, creating 165 new jobs and safeguarding a further 12.
The scheme can be used to improve or expand premises, invest in research and development or to invest in new plant, equipment and machinery.
Alternatively, grants could help cover the cost of new staff whose jobs have been created as a result of a capital-funded project. While safeguarding existing jobs will also be taken into account, companies must be creating new permanent jobs in order to qualify.
Stephen Catchpole, managing director of TVU, said: “Growth, sustainability and job creation are at the core of what this scheme is about and it’s encouraging to see how the funding has assisted Camerons Brewery in investing in a project which looks set to secure a long and fruitful future here in the Tees Valley.
“I would encourage any other local businesses in key sectors such as engineering, advanced manufacturing, digital and creative industries, chemicals and process technology to get in touch to find out how the Business Growth Investment Scheme could help your business achieve its full potential.”
The support service is being run in partnership with local authorities in Tees Valley, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service, UKTI, Growth Accelerator, Teesside University and a number of other partners are also involved.
Coun Kevin Cranney, vice-chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “Camerons Brewery has a long and proud tradition in Hartlepool for brewing going back almost 150 years and we are delighted to support their application for funding.
“This will enable them to expand into new markets, grow the business and create extra jobs, which is excellent news.”
For further information and to check eligibility for the scheme, visit http://www.teesbusinesscompass.co.uk