A NEW organisation aiming to support and help grow the Cornish food and drink industry has been awarded £63,000 in funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The grant will enable Cornwall Gateway CIC to conduct a feasibility study for an agri-food and drink industrial resource centre in Bodmin. The project will enable numerous Cornish food and drink producers to scale up and improve their productivity.

Joy Bassett, co-director of Cornwall Gateway said: “I am very pleased that we are now able to undertake the industry research that I believe will confirm that there is an urgent need for local processing and packaging facilities. Being able to increase productivity locally will help Cornish producers reduce food miles as well as costs.”

The centre will also provide other shared services for the sector such as storage and distribution. The plans also include an innovation business support centre, and research and development lab. There will also be collaboration with local colleges and universities to provide skills and training opportunities. All of which will help the Cornish food and drink industry grow, revitalising the local economy and fostering sustainability.

The project was conceived by Phil Ugalde, the founder of Proper Cornish. Phil's vision, which aimed to help businesses achieve in five years what he accomplished in 30, was initially proposed and received approval in 2018. However, shortly after, funding for the project was redirected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cornwall councillors for the Bodmin area, Leigh Frost and Pat Rogerson are backing the renewed project and Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall, said: "The agri-food and drink centre in Bodmin is a promising development that will not only promote economic growth but also provide a vital platform for innovation within our local food and drink sector. It's a positive step forward for our region which is already a major employer in North Cornwall.”

Martin Tucker, principal of Truro & Penwith College, added: "We are excited to support the development of the Agrifood and Drink Centre in Bodmin. This centre will provide valuable opportunities for students and professionals to engage with the food and drink sector, ensuring that Cornwall remains at the forefront of the industry."

In addition to the feasibility study, Cornwall Gateway CIC plans to showcase the Cornish food and drink industry, supporting local businesses to grow and thrive.

Louise Ellis, co-director of Cornwall Gateway, said: “This project holds the promise of not only preserving our cherished traditions but also propelling our Cornish food and drink sector into an innovative and sustainable future. We’re committed to making this vision a reality and are grateful for the CIoS Good Growth Fund’s support. Together, we will elevate Cornwall's culinary legacy and ensure it thrives for future generations.”