An organisation aiming to bring the best out of the Cornish food and drink industry is calling for urgent backing of its crowdfunding campaign to enable it to secure over £1 million of European funding to achieve its goal.
Croust is a new community interest company focused on supporting the development of the Duchy’s food and drink sector. It recently launched the crowdfunding initiative to generate investment to unlock EU funding to fund its work.
Louise Brooks-Curry, founder of Croust, is hoping more Cornish businesses will support her vision through the crowdfunding appeal that closes on Sunday August 2.
Crousts’ ability to support Cornish food and drink businesses to thrive is now needed more than ever, after events of the last few months have left many facing unforeseen challenges and an uphill battle to adjust to the new normal.
Brooks-Curry said: “This is such a concerning time for Cornish food and drink, many of these businesses are really struggling. Most of the small producers rely on the local markets and events to trade, many do not have websites or online shops. Most are ineligible for any government support and are on the brink.
“For every pound of investment that we can raise we can draw down five pounds of EU funding to help make a real difference in Cornwall. It really is a use it or lose it situation and time is fast running out. It would be a tragedy if this funding ended up going back to Brussels unspent.”
Cecily Mills, founder of the Coconuts Organic ice-cream brand is backing the campaign. She said: “This is a cause really close to my heart. Cornwall has some of the UK’s most amazing produce, ingredients, producers, and brands. The community in Cornwall is strong and the food scene down here is teaming with so much potential.”
“We have had virtually non-existent summer tourism trade, and the future is looking uncertain for many Cornish food and drink producers. In addition, we have Brexit looming on the horizon, and we understand that the real effects of Covid-19 are yet to be seen.”
The pair concur that the secret to success lies in local producers pulling together to grow the industry both locally and nationally, building an even stronger brand for Cornish food and drink.
Brooks-Curry added: “Croust will be the first Cornish food and drinks body providing a collective voice for the entire sector. “We’ll offer practical and strategic support to members, driving growth, increase employment, develop skills and deliver training at all levels to help everyone thrive.
“This is a gilt-edged opportunity for our incredible food and drink industry to fully realise its potential. We are appealing for the backing we need as we just can’t afford to let this key European funding slip through our fingers.”