A husband and wife team approached Leader for help in establishing a mini mill to process fibre and fleeces, constructing a small building and installing specialist machinery.
Because of its modest size, a 'mini mill' allows smaller quantities of raw fleece (less than 20) to be processed, meaning that customers can be guaranteed that their own processed fleeces will be returned to them if they wish. The mill caters for both large producers and small-scale farmers with specialist flocks and herds, and it is housed in a wooden cabin made from sustainably-sourced timber.
David and Karen Griffiths sell their own carded fleece and fibre, spun yarns and knitted articles via their website, at farmers' markets and on-site. They envisage that in time their customer base will extend beyond those participating in knitting, felt-making and crocheting to other audiences, such as gardeners, since fleece is ideal for hanging baskets. The project will also provide an educational resource, small groups could visit the mini mill to learn about the entire process - from livestock rearing through shearing and processing to finished garments.
The project aims to add value to a rural product - fleece - which is currently sold by farmers for less than the cost of shearing. Initially the mill will generate a new business and help local producers of fleece. It will also create one full-time post, but it is hoped that 2 additional full-time positions would be created in due course.
Total project cost £44,642.
Leader grant £22,321.
David and Karen Griffiths
Tel: 01283 585444.