Home Finance & Investments Rural growth grant fuels Gateshead compost business expansion

Rural growth grant fuels Gateshead compost business expansion

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Darren Willey, (Greentech Services), Katie Willey (Greentech Services), Chris Walker, RGN Support Officer (Advance Northumberland)

A Gateshead based family business is growing profits and creating new jobs, following investment to feed its production of high-quality compost made from recycled garden waste.

Greentech Services in Chopwell is using the increased production capacity, delivered through a £90,000 investment, to expand its production compound by an additional 3,071 square metres. This includes the construction of a purpose-built concrete pad which will enable the firm to realise a 50% increase in the production of its fine grade compost, used in horticultural, landscaping and house building applications.

The work was undertaken with support of a grant of £36,000 from the North East Rural Growth Network’s Rural Business Growth Fund (RBGF), part of a programme designed to accelerate business growth and stimulate employment in rural communities in Northumberland, County Durham and Gateshead.

Two new full-time machine operator jobs have already been created, to work alongside its existing five members of staff.

The site expansion will also enable the business to increase the amount of green waste it recycles from councils in Newcastle, Gateshead, County Durham and Northumberland, with a target of a 50% increase in the amount of green waste recycled at the site by March 2021.

Darren Willey, who established Greentech Services 15 years ago in order to diversify the family agricultural business, said: “The business was at a turning point. We had our landscape grade compost where we wanted it as a product but had outgrown our yard and were working at full capacity. The funding enabled us to maximise our investment and get the infrastructure in place to continue our growth trajectory.

“The RBGF has enabled us to realise our aspirations for taking the business to the next level, in terms of the amounts we are able to supply in the horticultural landscaping market, much sooner than would otherwise have been possible”

The site also produces coarser grade compost, which is used for agricultural spreading on Broomfield, the farm on which it is based. This environmentally friendly and sustainable by-product in making fine compost is used in large-scale food production, further reducing its carbon footprint.

He added: “We’re passionate about the environment, recycling around 20,000 tonnes of green waste a year into PAS100 accredited compost as well as shredding around 800 tonnes of wood in the form of logs, root balls and pallet waste into biomass which we sell and use on-site.”

The new space gives the business flexibility in terms of its scope for an increased volume of green waste coming on to the site as well as making higher yields of its fine grade compost possible.

Katy McIntosh, Rural Growth Network Manager said: “Investment in this project means that Greentech Services can remain on its current site, increasing delivery of high-quality sustainable compost to respond to growing demand from existing customers. It will also secure the business in the long term by protecting ongoing contracts and enabling the business to attract new customers involved in retail compost sale, landscaping and house building.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The North East Rural Growth Network funds are designed to offer support to rural businesses, enabling them to grow and create more jobs. It’s great to see an ambitious, family run firm such as Greentech Services getting the support they need to not only accelerate its growth and create jobs but also to increase the volume of green waste it recycles and further its commitment to the environment.”

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