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Schools caterer Local Food Links increases output by 50%

29 Mar 2019
School food caterer, Local Food Links, has increased its output by almost 50% with help from Dorset Growth Hub.

The countywide business support agency has helped the not-for-profit caterer to meet rising demand among primary schools for more choice in meal catering.

Local Food Links chief executive Caroline Morgan described the support package from Dorset Growth Hub as ‘pivotal’, adding: “They enabled our expansion to happen. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to increase our output or match the geographic reach additional schools required.”

“The team at Dorset Growth Hub have offered sound, clear advice. They understood where we were coming from straight away - they got it - and helped us ask all the right questions at the right stage. Working with them has been really straightforward. Their input has made such a positive difference to us as a local business trying to grow our output.”

A move to a purpose-built kitchen hub in Weymouth has helped increase production to 3,700 meals a day, a 48% rise on the previous year.

The expansion has taken the number of schools serviced by the 13-year-old social enterprise to 50.

Eleven new jobs have been created in the process, taking the overall Local Food Links workforce to 48 people.

The package included workshops and courses in IT, marketing and social media, and help with claiming a financial contribution from the ERDF, the European Regional Development Fund.

Dawn Leader, access to finance manager at Dorset Growth Hub, said: “Thanks to the growth of Local Food Links, hundreds of Dorset families are benefiting from extra choice in the meals their children eat at school and jobs are being supported in the food production supply chain.”