May 2023


From candles to solar panels: Frank Parker Butchers powers on

“We date from 1896 but are always looking to the future and are very grateful to the County Council for helping us put in place something that will benefit us for years to come.”

A family business which has helped power the Nuneaton economy for 123 years is looking to the future as strong as ever after installing solar panels at its shop.

Frank Parker (Butchers) has been serving the people of Nuneaton from its Abbey Street base without a break since 1896. Founded by Frank Parker, whose great-great grandsons are now on the board, it has survived and thrived by always having one eye to the future.

That remains the case more than ever following huge recent increases in power costs – and help has been at hand through a Green Recovery Grant from Warwickshire County Council.

Whether the County Council, itself then only eight years old, helped Frank Parker with the cost of candles when he set the business up in 1896 is undocumented. But 12 decades on its support has been integral to work which has helped the business plan for more decades to come.

“We have been looking at ways to cut costs for a long time,” said Tim Parker, great-grandson of Frank. “Then with the increases in fuel costs ours went from £2,700/month to nearly £12,000. That shook us, so we looked at various options and went for solar panelling and I’m very glad we did.

The help we have had from everybody has been absolutely great, starting with Laura at the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub who assessed our needs and then introduced us to Jo Smith and Gaynor at the County Council. Everybody has really helped us. We have done lots of little things, like putting curtains on all the fridges to further insulate them, to make our energy bills come down, but are planning for the next 20 years so the solar panels are great for the long term and to get the grant towards them was a big bonus.

“Even when it’s not sunny, the panels generate 20 per cent of our power which all adds up. We haven’t had many sunny days yet this year but then, as soon as we had one, all of a sudden we were able to put a lot of energy in ourselves.”

Green Recovery Grants were created by Warwickshire County Council to help businesses make efficiencies on revenue costs to support their recovery from the impact of Covid lockdowns. As part of the programme, business receive a free energy audit which identifies key areas that could change to improve annual carbon usage. This free energy audit is managed and delivered by Coventry City Council as part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme (funded by the European Development Fund).

The solar panels at Frank Parker Butchers are significantly helping the business – and word of the benefits they bring is spreading.

“A lot of people saw the scaffolding when the panels were put in and asked what was going on and we have had so much interest,” said Tim. “We have a computer in the shop which shows customers how much energy we are creating ourselves and people have really taken note. A local pub and quite a few householders have said they will look into it.

“It’s a busy shop with quite a lot of staff who have been with us over 20 years but this week I’ve had a couple of youngsters in with a view to starting. We’ve given employment to a lot of people over the years and aim to do so for many more, looking after them and their families. We all work very hard and I think people know and appreciate that. We are Nuneaton born-and-bred and proud of it and anything we can do to support the town we will do.

“We date from 1896 but are always looking to the future and are very grateful to the County Council for helping us put in place something that will benefit us for years to come.” 

Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture, said: "As a county council we are committed to not only reducing our own emissions but also working with our communities, and especially the business community, to support them in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and at the same reduce their costs.

"I am delighted that the Green Recovery Grant has helped Frank Parker Butchers build a strong foundation for the future to go with its long and proud history in Nuneaton." 

* To find out what other support is available to your business, please call CWLEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747


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