‘Our food and drink providers are the unsung heroes’ – ActionCOACH

ActionCOACH Cotswolds and Gloucestershire based organisation Happerley are working together to provide vital business support to farmers, growers and the wider agricultural community as the nation looks to deal with further sudden and potential major pandemic disruption.

Changes in usual markets, demand surges, food security, lack of workers from self-isolating; cash-flow disruption and potential transport challenges, could face the agricultural industry as the government imposes more restrictions and quarantines in an effort to contain the spread and ‘flatten the curve’.

“It is more important than ever to support these businesses to pivot and realign,” says managing director of ActionCOACH Cotswolds Billy Smith.

Our food and drink providers are the unsung heroes, those at the first rung of the supply chain, ensuring we have food on our tables.

“It is time to ask how they have been affected. What are their coping strategies? What business support do they need to thrive, to change their business model or to grow, while improving their livelihoods and market share?”

‘Strategic business support’

Happerley, the organisation driving transparency and honesty through supply chains, ha partnered with ActionCOACH Cotswolds to provide the urgent strategic business support and advice the agricultural industry needs.

It is doing this while seeking to help its own food and drink producer member base tackle areas such as growth strategy and management, margin improvement, grant and funding line opportunities, staffing management, and exit and succession strategies.

Founder of Happerley Matthew Rymer enthused:

“I am delighted to be have joined forces with ActionCOACH Cotswolds and gift these coaching sessions to our members.

Our stellar ‘business as usual’ model reveals its risks and weaknesses in this current landscape. It is now clearer than ever before that the way we produce, trade, organise our supply chains, work, travel, consume and generally operate must change if we want to minimise the short-term impact and prepare a better future.

The pandemic has increased the cost of doing business, but while farmers and growers are taking emergency measures for resilience, at the same time they are preparing long-term strategies to regain competitiveness.

Matthew commented:

“Coaching is key to helping smaller farmers go beyond surviving this crisis to thrive in the long term and create sustainable businesses.

“While, exactly what Happerley campaigns for – a relationship of trust and transparency between buyers, producers and value chain operators – can reduce the irregularities in the distribution of profit for farmers.”

Billy added:

“Coaching is not about telling businesses what they are doing wrong but about identifying areas in which they need support, all of which can help them to become more efficient, scale up productivity and increase their incomes.

Employment is also a big part of the conversation. We are able to support businesses enabling them to employ locally, thus creating new jobs and strengthening the economy.

ActionCOACH Cotswolds alongside Happerley are fully committed to supporting smallholder farmers and small enterprises to ensure resilience and growth through adversity.

“We want all farmers, growers and the wider agricultural sector to be successful and resilient but more importantly sustainable,” said Billy.