Lincolnshire is the food capital of the UK producing 1/8th of England's food.

During the Covid-19 crisis Greater Lincolnshire had a key role to play in helping to keep the food supply chains moving and quality food in our shops. The Greater Lincolnshire LEP still continues to work closely with businesses, facilitators and Government to support the food sector with the Covid-19 impact. Some of the highlights of work undertaken and achieved over the last year include:

  • Two widely promoted and established schemes were Feed the Nation and Pick for Britain which were very successful
  • Deliver to the Nation and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport were two additional logistics schemes supporting the sector
  • Dedicated website pages were created and a number of specific newsletters including; Food Security; Lincolnshire Resilience Forum (Economic edition); Covid Newsletters and ramped up communications across all platforms
  • A dedicated helpline was set up within 2 weeks of the pandemic, along with additional support Advisors through the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub which took hundreds of calls from the business community and provided tailored guidance, support, and advice
  • Successfully lobbied Government for inclusion of the horti / orni sector in support packages, extended working hours for the sector and drivers hours restrictions on logistics
  • Successfully accelerated robotics investment programme with UoL to gain £25.8m in total from Government Building Better Fund to include the Holbeach Food Enterprise Zone
  • Worked collaboratively with public sector LRF departments and cells to ensure economic comms and requirements were central to planning

Chairman of Greater Lincolnshire Food Board and director of Greater Lincolnshire LEP Sarah Louise Fairburn said at the start of the crisis:

"the last month has seen unprecedented demand for food in our supermarkets and I have seen this at first hand in our business, Fairburn Eggs.  I am really proud of how Lincolnshire businesses have responded in helping to keep food on the nation’s shelves.

However, we cannot be complacent because many of our food chain businesses need extra staff now to manage the increased demand.  In Lincolnshire we are also the centre of the UK fresh produce sector and as the peak harvest period for salads and vegetables approaches we need even more staff."

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#Student Land Army campaign

We worked with DEFRA to promote the Pick for Britain national scheme and have been included as a partner as endorsement of our #StudentLandArmy campaign. This was developed in response to the imminent labour need to bring in the UK harvest, and was endorsed by both Prince Charles and DEFRA where we were added to the national Pick for Britain scheme as a partner.  Prince Charles added his endorsement to Pick for Britain and the #StudentLandArmy .. click here to read.

Holbeach FEZ wins Funding from Get Building Fund

The South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) at Holbeach, has been awarded a grant to deliver an £8.5m accelerated development project as part of the Government’s Get Building Fund. It is one of 7 projects supported in Greater Lincolnshire which received a total of £25.8m from the fund, and is targeted on Covid recovery. The project is a partnership between Lincolnshire County Council, South Holland District Council and the University of Lincoln. With work expected to start in October 2020 and finish by March 2022, the project will create a new 'Central Hub' building, providing high quality business and collaboration space for small and start-up businesses working in the food supply chain and related sectors. The project also includes further access roads to open up additional plots. The Hub building will complement the purpose-built Food Centre of Excellence on Phase 1 of the FEZ which is due to be completed in February 2021. This will enable most of the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) team to relocate to the FEZ site, supported by a third development as the FEZ is also the site for the new Lincolnshire Institute of Technology.  Read the full story here.

Saga Robotics based at Riseholme Lincoln Campus Secures Investment

Norwegian and UK based Saga Robotics, which has a base at the University of Lincoln Riseholme Campus, has recently raised €9.5 million from international investors to support its comprehensive growth plans.

Saga’s Thorvald robots are already operating on farms across the world, where they deliver UV light treatments to control mildew on strawberries and vines, drastically reducing the need for fungicides. Saga are also working with the University of Lincoln and fruit industry partners to develop autonomous strawberry pickers.

Future growth prospects for innovation of this kind is considered strong, particularly to manage labour availability and pressures to make production more sustainable and is a key focus for Lincoln Agri-Robotics based at Riseholme. Read more here.

UK Food Valley’ branding for Holbeach Food development

The Greater Lincolnshire food corridor could be branded the ‘UK Food Valley’ as part of marketing proposals for Holbeach’s Food Enterprise Zone. Work has been progressing on phase one of the partnership investment for this transformational business park being created for food technology companies with the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing team as anchor tenants.

Last month the FEZ received confirmation of funding from the government’s Getting Building Fund which will fund the construction of a new Hub building to host businesses and events for the industry and an additional site service road to access the remaining eight development plots in phase 1. Read the full story here.

Page updated 7th April 2021.