Wyke Farms receives £1.3m to expand into 'post-Brexit world'

The £1.3 million investment has enabled additional export capability for Wyke Farms
The £1.3 million investment has enabled additional export capability for Wyke Farms

One of the UK's largest cheese producers has received a £1.3m grant to support the increase in global demand for its flagship vintage cheddar.

Wyke Farms' new export centre, based in Wincanton, Somerset, received the investment as part of the government's RDPE growth program.

The funding has enabled the producer to increase its cheese maturing capacity, with an additional 2,500 tonnes of stocks being aged on site to support the demand for its Ivy's Vintage cheddar.

It has also increased cheese despatch storage to allow the company to consolidate container orders prior to export in a post Brexit world, as well as a long-life packing line for exports.

Wyke Farms' cheese is made with the milk from cows grazing the pastures of the Mendip Hills in the centre of the Cheddar making region in Somerset.

The investment was supported by a £1.3m food processing grant under the RDPE program, which provides funding for projects in England that create jobs and support growth in the rural economy.

Paul Caldwell, Rural Payments Agency (RPA) chief executive, said: "The RPA is pleased to have been able to support this project through funding from the Growth Programme.

"The investment brings much needed additional export capability and job creation to Wyke Farm's cheese processing facility.

"Just as importantly, it offers increased stability to the dairy farmers who supply the milk that goes into the cheese at a difficult time for the sector."

Rich Clothier, MD of Wyke Farms, said the new export hub would allow the producer to export to 'over 160 countries in a post-Brexit world'.

"Built to the highest environmental standards, this will allow us to continue to export more of my grandmothers Ivy's Vintage cheddar, in the most environmentally responsible way helping to secure jobs in Somerset."