Funding boost for Cornish butcher

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An independent Cornish wholesale butcher has secured a £143k investment from the Business Catalyst Fund, to support its continued growth and expansion into export markets.

RJ Trevarthen, headquartered in Roskrow, Penryn, has grown from a ‘one man and a van’ operation in the mid 80s to a multi-million pound turnover business with a 24 vehicle fleet and 65 employees.

L-R: LEP board member Roland Tiplady with David Bullen and Robert Trevarthen
L-R: LEP board member Roland Tiplady with David Bullen and Robert Trevarthen

In the last couple of years, the butcher has experienced rapid growth overseas, forging new links in China where some cuts of meat, not popular in Britain and the rest of Europe, are considered nutritious delicacies.

The investment from the Business Catalyst Fund is part of a £357k project to expand RJ Trevarthen’s facility in Penryn. Founder Robert Trevarthen said the 460 sq metre extension will safeguard 36 jobs, create a further six and provide greater storage capacity and operating space.

He said: “Roughly an eighth of our business now comes from abroad – we started selling cattle to Holland and Belgium three years ago and the Chinese market has opened up too.

“We can’t be held back by not having enough space or the right facilities. This grant and the project as a whole is a great thing for us…It will not only create new jobs, but continue to support our existing employees and the network of small farmers who provide us with the best local produce.”

David Bullen from the Truro office of Francis Clark, who handled RJ Trevarthen’s Business Catalyst Fund application, said: “RJ Trevarthen is a fantastic Cornish success story that is supporting local farms and markets and promoting quality Cornish meat both within the UK and further afield.

“The Business Catalyst Fund is designed to support businesses like this that want to step up a gear and move to the next level, and we are delighted to be involved in this latest stage of the business’s development.”

The £5 million available through the Business Catalyst Fund has come from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund following a successful bid from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The fund is managed by Cornwall Development Company on behalf of the LEP and Cornwall Council.