Ashbourne-based forestry firm branches out with cash boost

Branching out: Owner of MP Wright Forestry Mick Wright is putting his new equipment to good use thanks to help from the Peak LEADER Grants scheme

7 November 2017

An Ashbourne-based forestry firm is branching out now we've awarded a grant of more than £16,000 to help buy new specialist equipment − and your business could be next.


MP Wright Forestry is one of 19 Derbyshire businesses that has received a share of £530,000 so far from the Government-funded Rural Development Programme for England through the Peak LEADER Grants scheme.

The grants are available for small businesses, farmers or community groups in the Derbyshire Dales and High Peak.

Established in Derbyshire over 25 years ago, the family-run business started life with just a chainsaw and axe.

As technology moved on, business owners Mick Wright and his wife Sacha decided to look into new ways of making their business more productive.

Mick explains:

"It's amazing how the forestry industry has changed over time − there are so many different machines out there now that make our job a lot easier and safer but they're very expensive.

"We saved enough money to purchase a new digger but we needed a little more to put towards buying an attachable harvesting head which cuts the wood and that's when we heard about the Peak LEADER grants."

After doing lots of research online, Sacha contacted us for more information and after submitting a successful application they were awarded £16,800 towards the harvesting head which they're already putting to good use.

Mick said:

"We're delighted with our new machinery − jobs that would have usually taken us two weeks with a chainsaw now take just a day or two and it's a lot safer too. And we're now taking on more jobs and building our client base.

"The application process did take some time but it's really worth it − the county council really helped us throughout and we're very grateful."

The firm sells logs, fencing, trellis and woodchip. They also provide a woodland management service to clients including the National Trust, Natural England, local estates, farmers and the building industry.

He added:

"Supporting local, rural businesses is really important to us. Derbyshire is a great place for businesses − it's so varied and picturesque and there's a real sense of community spirt. People are always there to help you when you need it.

"Our future is looking very bright. We're looking forward to expanding even further and recruiting another member to our team too.

"My advice to other businesses looking to apply is to just go for it − it's a great scheme and it could really change the future of your business."

Businesses with projects aiming to create jobs, business growth or develop community services can now apply for grants from £2,500.

Grants are available to help fund farm productivity and improvement, farm diversification, micro and small business support, developing rural services, small scale culture and heritage developments and improvements, rural tourism (new small tourist attraction) and forestry improvements (woodland management).

Our Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Councillor Tony King said:

"These grants are a great way of giving small rural businesses and community groups the helping hand they need to grow.

"Rural businesses play a key role in supporting the local economy and providing employment opportunities for local people and it's a priority of ours to do what we can to support them.

"If you're a small business, farmer or community group in the Derbyshire Dales or High Peak, we'd really like to hear from you so please get in touch to see how we can help."

We manage the scheme in Derbyshire - working with Derbyshire Economic Partnership, Derbyshire Dales District Council and High Peak Borough Council to help distribute a £1.7m funding pot from the European Union to support rural businesses in parts of Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

Apply for a Peak LEADER Grant (opens in a new window).

Applications will close on Thursday 30 November 2017.

For more information about our Peak LEADER Rural Grants Scheme contact LEADER Manager, Amanda Brown. email: amanda.brown2@derbyshire.gov.uk or tel: 01629 538475 or 07971314619.