New help for Marches Food and Drink sector

November 17, 2020

Food and drink businesses across the Marches are being provided with specialist support to help smaller, new and novice exporters break into international markets.

David Caine
David Caine

A new cluster group – overseen by a specialist adviser – is being formed to bring together small and large food and drink businesses in a Marches-wide network so that companies can work with each other and with one local on-the-ground contact.
Food and drink businesses who are new to export and those already trading overseas will be supported to target new export markets to help their sales grow.
A new specialist food and drink adviser for the sector has been appointed to cover the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership region, working with Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber along with the Department for International Trade (DIT).
David Caine will work to connect businesses within the Marches Cluster to work together to share their knowledge and experience as well to help businesses enter new overseas markets and develop their export sales.
David, who has more than 15 years’ experience working in the food industry and exporting, says food and drink plays a key part in the economy of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
“My role recognises the importance of this sector to our region and I want to help as many food and drink businesses as possible develop new routes into overseas markets by identifying and investigating international opportunities.
“I will also be working to develop more collaboration between all food and drink businesses so that they can share their knowledge, learn from each other and develop and forge new connections. I want to hear their concerns and challenges so that I can act as a voice for them and address the specific needs of the industry.
“By strengthening the amount of collaboration across the region we can work with companies to develop not only their international markets but also grow in the UK as well.”
David said the new food and drink cluster would be officially launched at a special event on December 2 and that a range of workshops, advice sessions and networking opportunities would follow.
Mandy Thorn, chair of the Marches LEP, welcomed the appointment and said it demonstrated the way the LEP worked with partners such as DIT and the Chamber of Commerce to bring real help and support to businesses.
“The food and drink sector supports more than 9,000 jobs across the Marches in companies of all shapes and sizes, from international brands such as Heineken in Hereford and Muller in Shropshire and Telford, to the vast array of smaller artisan producers for which the region is famous.
“This new post is part of a wider team of specialist DIT ITA advisers working across the Marches to ensure the region is seizing the opportunities for international trade which are opening up.
“By working with our partners, we want to give all our food and drink businesses the best possible chance of success in this fast-changing world.”
David, who will be based with Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, can be contacted on 07593 562050 or at
To register for the launch event on December 2 visit:

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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