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The Royal Bath & West of England Society marks the opening of Rural Enterprise Centre with new food and drink award

To celebrate the official opening of The Royal Bath & West of England Society’s new Rural Enterprise Centre this month, we have teamed up with the Society  to introduce a new award to up-and-coming food and drink producers.

The award will offer one regional food or drink producer at the start of their business journey the opportunity to spend time with Martin Thatcher at our home at Myrtle Farm, Sandford. The award recipient will receive unique insight into how Thatchers Cider has developed and what has led to our recent growth, direct from Martin – the fourth generation of his family to head the company.

Rupert Cox, CEO of the Bath & West, comments, “Somerset and the surrounding counties are known for their exceptional food and drink credentials and we want to encourage and support emerging businesses within the sector. Through the Rural Enterprise Centre, we will offer micro food and drink businesses from across the region the facilities, contacts and advice they need to expand and grow. It seems fitting that to launch the Centre we have teamed up with one of Somerset’s most iconic and best-loved brands to offer an up-and- coming food or drink producer the opportunity for a one-one mentoring session with Thatchers Cider.”

Martin Thatcher adds, “Throughout my time in business I’ve been lucky enough to receive valuable support and advice – and quite often it’s the little things that count the most. We’re very privileged to live and work in a region that has fostered some fantastic food and drink companies, and amazing talent keeps emerging.

“The Bath & West’s Rural Enterprise Centre will be a resource that is valued by many people. When Rupert approached me to ask if Thatchers would be willing to partner with them to create this award I immediately agreed. I am a firm supporter of providing skills training, and if we are able to help a start-up in the food and drink business who has already shown a determination to succeed, by sharing my knowledge, then I consider that to be a very worthwhile initiative.”

Work is well underway at the Rural Enterprise Centre, with the doors due to open in January 2018. The Society’s former office building at the Bath & West Showground is currently undergoing a £520k refurbishment, transforming it into a cutting edge Rural Enterprise Centre – set to become the hub of rural enterprise across Somerset and the South West of England, encouraging knowledge sharing, education and business growth amongst the rural community.

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