Jus-Rol taskforce hails new investment
The co-ordinators of a locally-led taskforce have welcomed the news that the Jus-Rol factory, owned by General Mills, has been acquired by Country Style Foods.
The taskforce was brought together as a response to the announcement the site was at risk of closure in October 2015 with the loss of 265 jobs.
It set out to develop a programme of activity which would support affected employees and the local supply chain, and help attract new investment.
The taskforce, coordinated by Arch and in partnership with Northumberland County Council, successfully concluded in September and consisted of local MP Anne Marie Trevelyan, Northumberland College, Jobcentre Plus, the Confederation of British Industry, North East England Chamber of Commerce, Department of International Trade and Berwick Town Council.
The group developed and delivered a comprehensive programme of support through its 10-month existence, including supply-chain support and training to help staff find new employment and understand opportunities for them.
This programme of activity, delivered by General Mills, Jobcentre Plus, the National Careers Service, Northumberland College, Arch and Northumberland County Council, created opportunities for the workforce.
Some staff have successfully secured new employment, some have started their own business and some have entered education.
In addition, Arch was keen to support new investment into the site, and were quick to grant the sale of the freehold owned by Arch to General Mills, which was critical to a smooth sale.
This provided for a much more investable proposition to any interested parties and was further complemented by an offer of support from the inward investment team in Arch.
Arch chairman Dave Ledger said: “Co-ordinating the taskforce and making sure that we created the right conditions to secure investment from Country Style Foods was an important goal for Arch. Our profit for purpose ethos means that we work across Northumberland to encourage economic growth by attracting additional investment to the county and generating employment opportunities for local people.
“When General Mills announced the closure of the site in January 2016, 265 local employees were affected; by working with our partners through the coordination of a wider taskforce, we’ve been able to create positive outcomes and most importantly secure new investment to sustain the site following the General Mills closure.”
Country Style Foods is a modern craft bakery company, with sites across the UK. It supplies the in-store bakeries of leading grocery retailers, as well as food customers. With more than 150 years’ baking and milling experience, the company specialises in producing in-store bakery breads, pastries, pies and desserts.
General Mills and Country Style Foods expect to complete the transaction before the end of the calendar year.
Last month, Joe Wood, managing director of Country Style Foods, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our operations to Berwick and building upon the site’s heritage to supply high-quality bakery products.”