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Government minister visits Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre

21 September 2011

Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has visited the state-of-the-art Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre

Spelman visited the Centre in Shrewsbury to further understand the work of HEART of ENGLAND fine foods (HEFF), the food group which manages the Centre, and the challenges and opportunities facing local food and drink producers.

Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre is the only facility of its kind in the West Midlands and houses 12 food and drink production units designed specifically for start-up and growing businesses, as well as a development kitchen, Local Food Store and conference and training facilities.

Over the last three years HEFF has generated £16.4 million of GVA (gross value added) for the economy and created and safeguarded more than 400 jobs.

Spelman was met by Chief Executive of HEART of ENGLAND fine foods, Karen Davies, and Head of Economic Development at Shropshire Council, Mark Pembleton.

Davies said: “We were delighted that the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman, chose to visit Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre.

“It provided a great opportunity for Spelman to meet with food and drink businesses to further understand the challenges and opportunities they are facing and see for herself the work that HEFF undertakes across the food and drink industry.”

Spelman met Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre businesses such as Smoke and Pickle, Moyden’s Handmade Cheese and Cooper’s Gourmet Sausage Rolls. She then attended a working lunch in the Centre’s TASTE kitchen where she sampled products from across the heart of England region and had an open and frank discussion about the industry and the work of HEFF with other food and drink SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises).

Spelman commended the work of HEFF and outlined her commitment to reducing the amount of red tape restricting food and drink businesses.

“The food and drink industry is vital to the recovery of the economy and that’s why the Government is working to free them from the burden of unnecessary red tape engulfing small to medium sized businesses.
“Food enterprise centres such as this one in Shropshire have an important part to play in getting local foods into our shops.”

HEFF work with SMEs across the heart of England region including Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Birmingham and the Black Country.

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