May 2023


Green Recovery Grant helps bring massive savings for Farmers Fayre

“The project has made a massive difference and we are really grateful to the County Council for delivering just the sort of support that was needed at the time.”

A farm shop and cafe in rural Warwickshire is facing the future with renewed confidence after its energy costs were massively reduced following the installation of solar panels.

Supported by a Green Recovery Grant from Warwickshire County Council, Farmers Fayre, in Stoneleigh Park, installed 80 solar panels on the roof of their restaurant and farm shop. This work, carried out by local firm Ineco Energy, has helped to reduce both Co2 emissions and energy bills.

Like all businesses in the food and drink sector, Farmers Fayre was severely affected by the Covid lockdowns. Forced to close its doors, its future was under threat. But the business showed the resilience and adaptability needed to survive. A Retail & Hospitality grant from the County Council helped with the development of an e-commerce website to enable a click-and-collect service which meant they could stay open as a food shop - and now Farmers Fayre, having evolved as necessary, is blossoming again.

"We've gone through a kind of whole life-cycle through Covid,” said Finance & Operations Manager Becky Taylor. “When the pandemic hit, we were distraught that we might have to close, but the owners decided they weren't going down without a fight! We put together a spreadsheet with all our stock on, advertised it to customers and starting doing grocery collections - and it really took off.

“We developed a new website with help from the county council which kept us going and we came out of it with a whole new customer base. Previously most of our customers worked at Stoneleigh Park and came for lunch but now, with a lot of people working from home, more of our customers are external and drive to come here.

“That was really positive, but then came rising energy costs and the Green Recovery Grant from the County Council was incredibly helpful. There was lots of advice and support given along the way and it’s all been really quick and smooth project.”

Green Recovery Grants were offered by Warwickshire County Council to help businesses make efficiencies on revenue costs to support and accelerate their recovery from the impact of Covid lockdowns. That has emphatically been the case at Farmers Fayre where the future is now much more stable for the army of part-time staff which equate to 24 full-time employees.

As part of the programme, the business first accessed a free energy audit which identified key areas of the business that could be changed to improve annual carbon usage. This audit was managed and delivered by Coventry City Council as part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme (funded by the European Development Fund).

“We started looking into energy costs a year ago when electricity prices were going crazy,” said Becky. “Our prices went from 13p per kilowatt hour to 85p and we couldn't even begin to get our heads around that so had to look at other options. We invested in 80 solar panels and it has proved a fantastic move. The project was completed early by a local company, Ineco Energy, who were great to work with.

“The project has made a massive difference and we are really grateful to the County Council for delivering just the sort of support that was needed at the time.”

Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: "I am delighted that the future of Farmers Fayre, the jobs of their employees and the pleasure they bring to all their customers have been safeguarded by the Green Recovery Grant. These grants have brought so much benefit to businesses in cost savings as well as environmental terms."

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


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