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Expansion for Laura's rural business dream

Posted on Wednesday 10 February 2016
Laura Burlison1

Smallholder Laura Burlison has exciting plans to develop her thriving organic food business in rural Gateshead.

Three years ago Laura began delivering organic produce boxes with food made, grown and laid on her six-acre smallholding The Paddock, in High Spen.

This spring, after building up her online-ordering business, Laura will open the doors of her organic food store in High Spen, just five minutes away from her small holding.

Business Advisers from Gateshead Council worked with Laura to help her identify and apply for start-up and grant funding, which enabled her to buy a van and set up her business.

Laura said: “Working for myself is very hard work but it is so rewarding to be able to make a living out of doing what I love. I’m delighted to be expanding my business with the shop so customers can pop in whenever they like and collect our lovely produce. 

“I’m excited that we will be bringing customers a great range of locally sourced, organic foods from around the North East, including all of the items currently available to buy via the website, alongside a few more exciting additions. The delivery service will continue to run as normal.”

As well as vegetables grown on the small holding and free range eggs from ‘Laura’s Layers’ – her 150 chickens, customers can enjoy free range pork and chicken from local farms, local cheeses, honey and much more.

Laura’s Business Advisor, Caroline, said: “Laura has worked very hard to grow her business and stuck with it in tough times, as a result it’s gone from strength to strength.”

To cope with demand Laura has taken on a delivery driver and plans to employ another when the farm shop opens in March, as well as expanding the volunteer opportunities at The Paddock this summer.

If you are thinking of starting a business but don’t know where to start, talk to a Business Adviser at Gateshead Council on 0191 433 2037 or drop us an email at economicdevelopment@gateshead.gov.uk.