LEADER Grant Aids Growth Of Woodland Management Business

3rd November 2020

Coquetdale Timber, a woodland management and logging business based in Northumberland, is looking forward to a 40% plus growth in business by the end of the current financial year.

The business, set up in March 2017, is a diversification of the J Robson & Son farming operation and is managed by Michael Robson, his brother Andrew and Michael’s son Thomas from their base at Hepple Whitefield Farm near Rothbury.

Whilst there was a business plan the company has enjoyed organic growth over the last three years as their reputation for being able to be flexible on the scale and type of service provided has spread around the region.

“We were approached by an individual not long after we started the business to construct lambing hurdles and now produce in excess of one thousand a year,” said Thomas.

In addition of the delivery of barn seasoned softwood and hardwood logs to a variety of clients across Northumberland and into Tyneside, an area of the business which will see more than 40% growth year on year, the team also provides a wide range of bespoke services including:

  • Low impact forestry services – hand tree felling, tractor and trailer extraction
  • Woodland management
  • Sawmill services with the ability to cut anything up to 27 inches in diameter on-site as well as mobile timber processing with a cutting range up to 15 inches diameter

“Our client base has grown significantly since the business launch and we are now involved in providing feed troughs, cladding, fence posts and rails, raised beds and even cut oak boards which a local company transform into bespoke mantlepieces for clients purchasing a stove from them” advised Mr Robson.

As part of that growth, the family realised that they needed to invest in equipment that would allow them to scale up the business and ensure they were operating efficiently and effectively.

“We contacted George F. White, as they have been assisting us with the wider farming business for several years, for business advice and where we should be going. After looking through the business Jamie recommended the RDPE LEADER grants to help fund the purchase of new equipment” said Michael.

After looking at a variety of equipment options that the business could use to expand, they opted to purchase a new forwarder trailer and winch. George F. White made contact with the Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group (NULAG); a branch of the RDPE LEADER programme which looked at funding a number of different priorities, such as farm diversification, business growth, woodland and processing. From here George F. White worked closely with the Programme and undertook the initial expression of interest submission. Upon this approval, George F. White liaised with Coquetdale Timber to prepare and submit the grant application, and following a successful outcome then prepared and submitted the appropriate claim.

The business took delivery of the equipment in late 2019 and are already seeing the benefits, “The new trailer and winch allow us to access areas in a considered and low impact way that larger operations may not adopt and at the same time ensuring we can undertake tasks efficiently and safely, it really has already proved its value to the business” commented Thomas. “Being a relatively small business the ability to utilise the LEADER grant programme and reduce the cost outlay by 40% is of huge benefit to us as without this funding the business would not have purchased such a large item. We were extremely happy to be able to rely on the team at George F. White to understand our needs and provide the appropriate assistance is invaluable”.

If you would like to discuss your business and explore the potential options for grants or a strategic review please call 0333 920 2220

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