Cumbria’s Westmorland family celebrate success in the South today. Gloucester Services, the Southern counterpart to Tebay Services, has been shortlisted for the Best Food Retailer category of the BBC Food and Farming Awards. Reaching the final three in the prestigious national awards is the latest of several recent nods to Gloucester Services’ pioneering work in the food industry and local community.
The sister project of the acclaimed Tebay Services opened in May 2014. Unlike any other services in Britain, they aim to make local food not just the preserve of elite shops and farmers markets, but accessible and affordable to everyone on the move.
Created in partnership with the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, a social regeneration charity, once completed (a second, southbound service area opens in 2015) the £40 million project will employ 300 people in the local area and will redistribute an estimated £10 million over 20 years back into local Gloucestershire charitable community projects. Regeneration, training and education for the unemployed and help for people in crisis are the trust’s key objectives.
The Westmorland Family operate the only family run services on UK roads. Like Tebay, Gloucester Services employ a dedicated local food sourcing manager to stock their farm shop, selling locally produced food. They run a butchery featuring Gloucestershire’s finest meat and a kitchen serving homemade dishes produced fresh daily using locally sourced ingredients. They work with 200 producers from across the South West, 130 of which are within 30 miles of the site, which provides a fantastic platform to enable small producers to develop their businesses.
CEO Sarah Dunning says “we are delighted that our work has been recognised by the BBC Food and Farming Awards. Local food is at the heart of everything we make and eat, and we are proud to do this in a way which supports and makes us part of the local community.”
“We are committed to celebrating and supporting the small local businesses and their fantastic produce. Back then it was visionary, today, we’re part of a local food revolution. Fingers tightly crossed for the final! ”
Sheila Dillon, presenter of Radio 4’s The Food Programme and host of the Awards said, “I’ve been judging these awards since they were set up and I’ve never before felt so strongly that food and farming are changing the UK. Many of the best, most entrepreneurial, engaged minds are now in the food business.”