Croust time for new CIC

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A new initiative to boost Cornwall’s food and drink sector is launching this week with a crowdfunding campaign.

As a new community interest company (CIC), ‘Croust’ is working in partnership with the many talented food and drink producers across Cornwall, with the mission of putting Cornwall’s food and drink sector at the forefront of the market. For every £200 pledged through Crowdfunder, £1k is provided through the EU match funding. A potential £800k could be harnessed.

Founding director Louise Brooks-Curry explained: “Many counties are telling the stories behind their provenance and their producers through a centralised organisation, attracting the eyes of the world.  There is so much scope and benefits that could come from creating a brand new non-for-profit community interest company to harness and unlock all the potential Cornwall’s food and drink sector has to offer.

Following the unexpected closure of Fifteen Cornwall and the Cornwall Food Foundation, Brooks-Curry found herself redundant just before Christmas last year. She has since been on a mission, channelling all of her time, passion and focus into creating a new CIC concept for Cornwall to inject new life into our food and drink sector.

“It was terrible to see all the great work that my colleagues and I were doing on the Experts Grow project to inspire and bring new skills to 60 Cornish food and drink businesses, come to an unexpected end,” she added.

“We were amazed to discover all of the untapped potential that was hiding within our Cornish food and drink sector. We were truly in awe of the incredible young talent that the sector was attracting and the wonderful array of small local businesses within.”

The scheme also has the backing of Mark Duddridge, chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP. He said: “Cornwall and the Isles of Scillies are justifiably proud of our food and drink industry but Covid has hit the industry really hard. Croust aims to help rebuild and reconnect Cornwall food and drink to all markets be they local, national or international. New supply chains, new markets, new products and new ways of doing business will all emerge in the months and years ahead which Croust will support if their funding ask can be delivered in the weeks ahead. I wish the team every success.”

The crowdfunding campaign is now live with a variety of rewards and early-bird membership offers.

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