News release from 31/08/2022

Successful Papworth Everard cheese business survives the pandemic with Council support

A Papworth Everard-based cheese connoisseur has praised South Cambridgeshire District Council for helping their company survive the pandemic

A Papworth Everard-based cheese connoisseur has praised South Cambridgeshire District Council for helping their company survive the pandemic – and encouraged other local businesses who need support to get in touch.

Rennet & Rind founders were supported by the Council’s Business Support and Development team who helped advise on diversifying and recovering from the pandemic effects.

The Cambridge Food Company, trading as Cheese + and Rennet & Rind, specialise in British farmhouse cheeses, but lost 99% of their turnover overnight when lockdown restrictions hit.

Before COVID-19, Cheese + was a multi-million-pound company, supplying cheese to the hospitality sector, including Cambridge colleges and independent food establishments.

As a wholesale and supply business, however, it was hit hard when the country went into lockdown, and owner Mark Hulme had to think quick to devise a new plan to sustain the business and retain jobs.

Mark said: “After exploring every avenue, the Council’s Business Support and Development team came to our aid. I was introduced to a tremendous team of commercially minded people who cared and understood our perilous predicament. It’s an understatement to say we were very grateful. Without the grant schemes and support we would not have survived.

“It didn’t stop there. The Combined Authority’s Growth Works team became involved. With their help we are working on major projects to bring two new industries to Cambridge. They are Affinage, a French word meaning ‘the art and science of maturing cheese’, and a bespoke cheese cutting and packing facility, to help our aim of being the country’s foremost cheesemonger, bringing employment to the area.

“We’re now in a better position to face the challenges and opportunities of the future, thanks to the amazing ongoing support from the council’s team.”

The council’s Business Support and Development team helped with government-funded COVID-19 financial support schemes. Mark was also supported by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Growth Works team, by match funding for companies with a solid business plan, leading to growth and job creation.

The support meant Mark could concentrate on launching ‘Rennet & Rind’, an e-commerce website for customers to order cheese online. Their cheese is lovingly aged in their own maturing room by resident World Cheese Awards judge, Perry James Wakeman, recently crowned the UK’s first ever Affineur of the Year.

Cllr Peter McDonald, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are committed to supporting local businesses and are delighted at the success story of Rennet & Rind, which we hope can serve as a success story to encourage others to get in touch if they’d like advice on starting a business, diversifying or finding resources to help them launch, sustain and grow. Our service is completely free to use from a team which has years of commercial experience gained from various business sectors.”