Turkey firm turns up the heat on new sales

New growth: Bankwood Meats' John Hearsey, left with David Ward from Finance Yorkshire, which is helping the Doncaster firm to expand
New growth: Bankwood Meats' John Hearsey, left with David Ward from Finance Yorkshire, which is helping the Doncaster firm to expand
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Talking turkey with Finance Yorkshire has paid dividends for Doncaster-based Bankwood Meats.

The company, which cooks, slices and packs turkey crowns, has boosted output, cut energy costs and improved its environmental credentials with the help of a £20,000 loan from the organisation that backs new, small and medium sized businesses.

Bankwood hit problems when the boiler it used for cooking the turkey broke down.

The 15-employee company had to throw away £6,500 worth of meat, which was bad enough, but, to make matters worse it turned out that it simply wasn’t economical for it to repair the boiler.

“We brought in a smaller rented boiler as a quick-fix solution to keep production going, but continuing with this put the future of the business in jeopardy,” says John Hearsey, who runs the firm with joint managing director Andrew Bennett.

Fortunately, Yorkshire Forward was there to provide the loan, which has enabled Bankwood to install a modern boiler that runs on gas, rather than electricity, and is more economical for the firm.

“The new boiler saves us more than £3,000 per annum compared to the old model and takes around an hour less to cook 1.5 tonnes of meat, which is around 350 turkey breasts,” adds John.

Bankwood has also used the funding to recruit a sales executive who will target larger wholesalers and supermarkets.

The £20,000 loan from Finance Yorkshire is the latest step in a relationship that goes back to the days of one of the organisation’s predecessors, the South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF).

Accountants Smith Craven introduced Bankwood to SYIF, which provided funding to help establish the firm and then backed the company when it, like other food manufacturers, was hit by false fears that the world would be hit by a bird flu epidemic.

Bankwood kept working with Finance Yorkshire portfolio manager, David Ward, after SYIF became part of that organisation and John Hearsey says the company continues to turn to Finance Yorkshire for backing because of its “amiable approach and knowledge.”

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging in size from £15,000 to £2 million and was set up with backing from the European Union and Yorkshire Forward.