A FOREST couple’s handmade sausage rolls are set to receive further national recognition next week when they feature on a hit Channel 4 show celebrating farm-made produce.
Viewers will get a behind the scenes look at how local business Cinderhill Farm in St Briavels make their savoury bakes when they tune into Channel 4’s ‘A Cotswold Farm Shop’ on Monday night (August 28).
The TV series follows the story of Gloucester Services, which opened in 2014 as a partnership between the Westmorland Family, the business behind Tebay Services in Cumbria, and neighbourhood development charity the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust.
It shares the stories of the local people and producers who contribute to the success of the unique, family-run motorway service station, and how its owners give back to the local community.
Cinderhill Farm, itself owned and run by married couple Deborah and Neil Flint, is one of the service station’s local suppliers, and a special segment of episode 4 of the show is dedicated to the business.
Their rolls have made “cameo” appearances in the first three episodes and the couple have seen sales soar already this summer as a result.
They expect this to be sustained once Monday’s episode airs and it becomes available on streaming platform All4.
Cinderhill has been producing hand-made sausage rolls for Gloucester Services since it opened 10 years ago and is one of its key suppliers.
Managing Director Deborah commented: “As the services have grown, we have grown.”
Deborah and Neil’s story is straight out of TV’s ‘The Good Life’. It all started when the pair packed in their office jobs and secured a small holding in St Briavels.
Deborah started by selling her sausage rolls at Coleford Country Market, and has had to learn how to manage a successful and growing local eco business ever since.
A “life changing” meeting with buyer Alex Evans saw their sausage rolls stocked at the services.
Today they deliver 2000 sausage rolls to Gloucester every week, becoming one of the services’ best sellers.
Their products include a range of sausage rolls of different recipes, several of which are Forest inspired, and 'Foggys', or Forest 'Oggy' - another term for a pasty, including vegetarian and vegan options.
The business now supports a team of 16 people as well as other local businesses with whom they trade.
Sustainability is a key part of what they do. The farm is home to a host of free-range animals and they only use 100 per cent renewable energy on site, as well as undertaking a range of other eco practices.
They also offer apprenticeship jobs for young people and champion initiatives like Healthy Workplace, Cycling to Work and Living Wage Foundation membership for the benefit of their local employees.
Deborah said: “Growing the business as an eco-business has been really important for us, but just – if not more important – has been our determination to be good employers and to provide sustainable employment for those who come to work for us.”
Gloucester Services is described by its owners as “a pioneering model of social investment”.
It came into being when social change entrepreneur and founder of the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust (GGT), Mark Gale, approached the Dunning family - owners of Westmorland Family - to build a motorway services that had true and lasting links to the local community.
“The motorway presented a problem for locals”, says Mark, “with 28 million cars and 40 million people passing by the areas creating noise, pollution and demands on public services every time there was an accident.
“Together with our communities, we looked at how to create an opportunity out of a problem.”
GGT receives up to three pence in every £1 of non-fuel sales at Gloucester Services to invest in its partners throughout our local communities and create sustainable employment.
One of the many examples is a pre-employment course, Bridging the Gap, which helps people who experience barriers to work to develop their skills, boost confidence and have a guaranteed interview at Gloucester Services.
Sarah Denning of the Westmorland Family said: “Business has an opportunity to have real impact if it runs itself in the right way.
"We set up Gloucester Services in a way where the benefits to the Gloucestershire community are embedded directly in our business plan.
"The more we sell the more income Gloucester Gateway Trust gets, I love that concept because it’s a win, win.”
Episode 4 of ‘A Cotswold Farmshop’ airs at 8pm on Monday (August 28) and will be available on All4 thereafter.