Funding boost works a treat

Matthew Stephenson, managing director, and Cath Stephenson, director, at Sweetdreams.

Matthew Stephenson, managing director, and Cath Stephenson, director, at Sweetdreams.

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A cash boost has worked a treat for one Northumberland confectioner.

Cramlington-based confectionery manufacturer Sweetdreams is enjoying the benefits of its newly-installed production and packaging equipment.

Sweetdreams manufactures well-known nostalgic brands such as Choc Nibbles and Choc Lick and has seen a 34 per cent leap in sales following the installation of their new equipment.

Previously the company’s confectionery products were packed in jars and sold to independent retailers and were also available in traditional sweet shops.

The new packaging line means that Sweetdreams’ chocolate treats can now come in pre-packed bags, meaning they can target larger retail chains such as B&M Stores.

The £100,000 investment was supported by a £30,000 grant from the Northumberland Business Growth Programme, part of the Regional Growth Fund, has helped create six new jobs .

Managing director Matthew Stephenson said: “Our analysis of the market showed real growth opportunities lay in the market for pre-packed confectionery, so we decided to invest in production facilities to enable us to tap into the booming discount market.

“The resultant growth we have seen in just a few months of operation has been incredible and is directly attributable to the investment in new equipment which could not have been purchased without the support from the Northumberland Business Growth Programme and Arch.”

In 2013, Arch, in conjunction with Northumberland County Council was awarded £11.75m from the Government’s former Regional Growth Fund to deliver the programme that provided support to businesses across Northumberland to encourage the creation of new sustainable jobs and the safeguarding of existing jobs.

Coun Dave Ledger, Chairman of Arch and Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This is a fantastic example of a small manufacturing company identifying an opportunity and investing to capitalise on it.

“We’re delighted that the project has been successful and has led to growth in the company and job creation in the County.”

The Business Growth Fund is now closed.

For further information about business support services provided by Arch, please contact gary.roe@arch-group.co.uk or (01670) 528 447.