From pies to pickles, bread to beer, some of the county’s favourite treats and tipples are now on sale under one roof, thanks to an exciting new partnership that’s just been launched at Rushden Lakes.
Made In Northamptonshire (MIN), the co-operative of food and drink producers whose members include bakers, distillers, brewers and many more, has teamed up with East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) to offer visitors to the retail park the opportunity to sample take home some amazing produce that’s all been lovingly created in the county.
The project has come about thanks to a collaboration with The Crown Estate, owners of the shopping and leisure destination , which has enabled the partners to share a prime retail space beneath the multiplex cinema in the West Terrace as part of its ‘Recovery Through Enterprise’ Hub.
ENC is offering a one-stop-shop for businesses and job seekers while for MIN Founder and Director, Rachel Mallows MBE of The Mallows Company, the opportunity to showcase some of the county’s artisan producers in one place is a dream come true: “When we launched MIN in January 2011, the aim was to lend our backing to our fabulous producers, helping to raise their profile, finding stockists and promoting their wonderful wares to more people” explained Rachel.
“Now, thanks to both The Crown Estate and East Northamptonshire District Council, we’ve found the perfect way to celebrate our ten-year anniversary with our very own shop, where buyers can come in, try some of the treats themselves and go home laden with local, quality produce, knowing it’s all been made just a stone’s throw from where they’re standing.
“Not to mention that, with ciders, cheeses, chocolates and chutneys among our array of tasty treats, I reckon we may have just solved a few people’s Christmas gift dilemmas in one fell swoop!” she enthused.
Among those many county producers to be stocked on its shelves is Stonyfield Wine at Blisworth, whose Stonyfield Rosé 2016 was recently awarded a Gold in the ‘Artisan Local Drink of the Year’ category in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards and partner, John Folliott-Vaughan, says they are thrilled to have this exciting opportunity to reach out to more wine-lovers: “MIN is a large part of a remarkable success story putting Northamptonshire firmly on the food and drink map and, over the last decade, they have gone out of their way to support and promote local producers, leading in our case to our success in the Awards and now the chance to showcase our wine in this new shop” said John.
“For a small family concern like us they have made a huge difference and we are truly delighted to support this exciting initiative, both as suppliers and, you can be sure, as customers, and will be lifting a glass of top-quality English sparkling wine in celebration of this fantastic venture!” he added.
Alongside MIN, East Northamptonshire Council’s business hub has been set up to continue and extend its ‘Recovery Through Enterprise’ scheme, offering help to businesses by providing 1-1 advice as well as access to a wide range of support webinars and resources, thereby complimenting the existing assistance provided by the University of Northampton and that already available at the Enterprise Centre East Northants.
It also supports local residents through its fast-track job match scheme, which aims to get those out of work swiftly back into employment.
ENC Leader, Steven North, says the new facility is a great addition to their portfolio: “The new hub will help local businesses and job seekers to tackle the challenges of Covid-19. With our partners, we want to do all we can to provide the practical help and support that people need to get through these difficult times and reach a place where they can flourish.”Those are sentiments echoed by Hayley Turley, Senior Asset Manager for The Crown Estate, who says: “Working with East Northamptonshire Council and Made In Northamptonshire, to bring a unique offering to Rushden Lakes, is a brilliant demonstration of what can be achieved through strong collaboration. This will be the first of its kind anywhere in our portfolio, and we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to the local community.”
Made In Northamptonshire was set up to bring like-minded businesses together to help promote quality on the doorstep and to forge new working partnerships.
Over the last decade its quarterly meetings have been regularly attended by around 50 members, gaining expertise from guest speakers, accessing sector news, grant and event information and, perhaps most importantly, the chance to share best practice. Membership is £50 per year.
It also produces a directory which promotes over 100 tasty treats – and where to buy them – to the county’s foodies.
For details of the MIN shop opening times, please visit its Facebook page at @MINFoodandDrink while for more information about MIN, including becoming a member, please call 01933 664437, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile for further details of the wide range of services offered through ENC’s free ‘Recovery Through Enterprise’ scheme, please visit www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/recovery