A vision to transform a dis-used water pumping station into an eco-friendly factory for a small Cornish organic food producer will become a reality later this year.

Carley’s of Cornwall Limited has been awarded £447,000 of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence investment for its £1 million relocation from a factory unit in Truro to an old water pumping station at the former Great Wheal Daniel ochre and tin mine near Chacewater.

The move will address efficiency and productivity constraints which have held back the business growth plans of husband and wife team John and Shirley Carley. Having greater storage space and a food production area specifically designed for that activity will enable them to increase output and take on more staff.

The couple currently employs daughter Rachel but they hope to create up to six new jobs as a direct result of their business expansion.

The company was advised on its ERDF funding application by David Bullen, a member of the grants team at Francis Clark chartered accountants.

John Carley said: “We would never have had the confidence, time or specialist knowledge to have worked through the application process for the funding without the first class support of our accountants Francis Clark.

“It was particularly helpful having David handling our case from start to finish. He was mindful of there not being enough hours in the day for us but helped us keep the application on track and meet deadlines. This funding will make a huge difference to growing our business and means we can move forward with confidence.”

The Carley’s expansion project has created significant local economic benefits, for example the conversion of the former water pumping station was designed by a St Agnes-based architect and local firms have been able to bid for the construction contracts through ‘Tenders in Cornwall’.

John added: “It was important to us, as an organic food producer, that we could achieve growth in a sustainable and environmentally sound way. This approach is very much aligned to the aims of the Convergence programme. A dilapidated building with a chequered history since it ceased to be a pumping station will have new life breathed into it with an exceptionally high quality conversion.

“Our business will have a zero carbon footprint because from the outset we have been able to work in a range of factors from hemp fibre insulation and tripled glazed windows to generating electricity equivalent to the amount we use. These high specification features come at a cost and the ERDF gap funding has made this economically viable.”

David Bullen from Francis Clark’s grants team said: “Carley’s supplies retailers and wholesalers across the UK and Europe and this expansion will allow them to realise their exciting growth plans. As befits an organic business, they are aiming to create a zero carbon and zero waste factory and we were delighted to help them secure the funding they needed to realise their ambitions.”

Carley’s of Cornwall started life as a wholefood shop in 1974 and moved to its current premises in 2003. The business is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of organic nut and seed butters and organic chocolate spreads.