A Borders ice cream firm is looking to expand after scooping up a £45,000 grant.
Over Langshaw Ice Cream, secured that cash from the Scottish Borders Leader Fund to help it double its output to cope with demand.
That European Union funding will cover half the cost of a £90,000 investment planned by the business’s boss, Lucy Bergius, that will see manufacturing facilities at the 500-acre dairy farm run by her parents Martyn and Sheila near Galashiels double in size.
“It also means we will be able to double production to 1,400 litres during the busy summer months,” said Lucy.
That extra capacity – and the addition of a new, larger ice cream-making machine and a walk-in freezer – will help the firm target new wholesale customers to add to the 40 restaurants it already supplies in the Borders and Edinburgh.
Over Langshaw Ice Cream began life a decade ago when Martyn and Sheila decided to diversify their dairy operation, centred around their herd of 120 Friesian cattle.
“I fell into the business after returning from travelling in 2007 to work in the ice-cream unit mum and dad had just built,” explained Lucy.
“I’d always been interested in good-quality food, so the provenance of our ice cream is now my passion.”
Starting out with just eight flavours, the company now offers more than 60 blends, including blue cheese, pea and mint and Marmite, as well as a range of sorbets using locally-sourced fruit.
“Ideas for our new flavours generally come from the chefs we sell to. Nothing is too wacky for us to try and it keeps things exciting,” said Lucy.
She acknowledges the role of Business Gateway Scottish Borders in facilitating her expansion ambitions.
“I’ve had support from Business Gateway right from the start, and this has helped me build my business knowledge and confidence.
“More recently, my adviser suggested we apply to the Leader fund to help us grow, and his letter in support of our application was invaluable.
“Without this funding, we would have not been able to expand or take on the full-time ice cream maker who has just started with us.
“After 10 years of hard work and perseverance, we were running at full capacity and having to turn away orders.
“We had a choice – either to stay the same or to grow our operation.”
The Leader fund, for businesses wanting to grow and create jobs in the Borders, has awarded £1.5m in grants since it was launched in February last year. To find out more about it, visit www. scottishbordersleader.co.uk