Bright future for Happy Hen
is booming for an East Cornwall couple who have successfully
diversified their smallholding to create a new business serving
locally sourced produce and meat.
Gerald and Julie Allerton opened the Happy Hen farm shop
three months ago and in that time have seen a five-fold increase
in sales. The couple have been rearing Aberdeen Angus cattle
and chickens at Caradon Farm, Pensilva for the past nine years
but like many smallholders, were finding it difficult to make
the business financially viable. They sought advice from Business
Link Devon and Cornwall after getting in touch with them last
year and received capital grant funding to build the new shop
and a fast track grant to invest in new butchery equipment.
Gerald said: "The equipment for the butchery was
essential for the business, as one of our most successful
products is our sausages. We sell about 150lbs per week of
our 'pork and leek' and 'rosemary and thyme'
sausages and are now in the process of developing our own
secret recipe! The pork that we are selling currently is sourced
in Launceston and the vegetables are from Looe but in the
future we would like to start producing our own pork. We've
reared Tamworth pigs in the past and would like to start doing
that commercially on the farm. In the summer we will also
be extending our stock to include seasonal vegetables and
pot herbs which we will source from within the village."
Gerald continued: "The process of setting up the
shop was made so much easier with the help we received from
Business Link. They advised us on exactly what information
was needed and how to present it, in fact it was the most
painless grant application we've ever made and once
the grant funding was in place the bank began to listen and
things really got moving."
Business Link's Rural Diversification Capital Grant
contract manager, Marilyn Pryor said: "The business
is increasing sales week on week and that is purely on word
of mouth recommendations. Gerald and Julie are now getting
some additional help from Business Link with marketing and
branding for the products and I'm sure the business
will be even more successful once that is established. Over
the next couple of years Happy Hen is looking to increase
its product range and hopefully the business will be bringing
some new jobs to the area as it grows in size."
She continued: "To diversify successfully, it is
important to evaluate the strengths and assets that you already
have. The Allertons have an obvious love and passion for producing
and supplying quality, local food which is one reason the
shop is already so popular."
Gerald concluded: "Our customers always comment
on the freshness and taste of the food we sell; the eggs on
sale during the day are gathered the same morning; the beef
is always properly hung and matured and the pork is totally
fresh. With the shop and the new facilities there are not
enough hours in the day to produce as much as we can sell
- which is exactly the position we wanted to be in."
For further information please contact Maxine McAdams of
the Marketing-PR company on 01566 771862 or email
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Diversification
Capital Grant Initiative through the European Agricultural
Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and
land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin
Butler, at Government Office South West on 01752 635134 before
commencing development as there are now only limited funds
available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural
sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative helps
farms and other rural related businesses to diversify their
commercial activities through a combination of grants and
It is one of the support schemes aimed at helping rural and
land based businesses across Devon, Cornwall & the Isles
of Scilly and administered by the Business Link Agricultural
Team. Others include:
• Cornwall Food and Drink Partnership scheme
• Rural Business Support Initiative
• Rural Enterprise Gateway (South West)
• Rural Enterprise Facilitation Scheme
• Rural Directory
Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service
via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk
and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and
those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides
impartial business advice and support through a network of
partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register
of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon
and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to
the region under contract from the South West RDA.
Business Link has received Objective One investment (European
Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve
performance and grow.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439