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Cheese and Grain win £20,000 Social Enterprise Award


Cheese & Grain

Artists impression of Cheese & Grain developments

The Cheese and Grain has won a £20,000  Social Enterprise Award from the Social Enterprise Development Agency, which is backed by Santander Bank.

The prize will be spent on further improvements to the building and to help, in particular, to develop the ‘Skills and Enterprise Centre’ on the newly developed mezzanine floor.

The centre will have three training/meeting rooms and eight ‘hot-desk’ that can be hired by local small businesses, local community/voluntary groups and the self-employed. In addition, the mezzanine will house at least 18 community education classes a week and be a base for vocational training. Located in the very centre of Frome there will be print facilities and café and plenty of parking spaces.

Julian Alexander, Santander regional director said, “At Santander we are committed to supporting communities and the Social Enterprise Development Awards were set up to help enterprises in the South West looking to grow.

“The Cheese and Grain has demonstrated the strength of the socially owned model as a way to boost the local community, and with increasing interest they have great potential to expand. We’re very pleased to be able to help them realise their goals.”

Steve Macarthur, the Cheese and Grain manager said, “The judges were impressed by our business plan and the way we were developing the Cheese and Grain from just an events-based building to a place open all day and night, seven days a week, with a café open all day, every day and a bar every evening.

“The Cheese and Grain becomes a place where it’s worth just dropping in to see what’s happening. They also liked the way we were diversifying into meeting local needs, creating employment and helping local small businesses.”

When officials from the Santander Bank visited they were especially interested in the solar panels and the mutually beneficial deal struck with Frome Town Council. The Cheese and Grain gets free daytime electricity and the town council makes almost £200,000 profit over the lifetime of the panels.

They were equally impressed by the way Frome Town Council creatively transformed a general subsidy to prop up the Cheese and Grain into an investment, which they described as “ingenious”.

Mendip District Council is also supporting the Cheese and Grain Skills and Enterprise Centre with a grant of £15,000 from the Mendip Homes Bonus Local Legacy Fund. The grant is in recognition of the potential support the Hub can give local enterprise, training and job creation.

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