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Northumberland businesses come together to donate 1,000 cans of water to key workers

Northumberland businesses come together to donate 1,000 cans of water to key workers

Northumbrian Gifts and The Alnwick Garden have joined forces to support key workers during the Coronavirus crisis.

Family run business Northumbrian Gifts, long term tenants of Advance Northumberland based at Ashwood Business Park in Ashington, was founded to provide a shop window to the produce available in Northumberland and the wider North East region.

The lockdown imposed in March meant that canned water stock held by Northumbrian Gifts for The Alnwick Garden’s Shop would surpass its sell by date.

Together, the companies agreed that an alternative outlet was needed. Following an appeal on Facebook it was decided that the water would be donated to Wansbeck Hospital, the Ashington and Backworth Ambulance Stations and Ashington Food Bank.

Northumbrian Gifts arranged to deliver the water so that it could be used, rather than going to waste in storage, and it was gratefully received.

The company, which was established 16 years ago to promote, distribute and retail local produce, worked with a number of regional hospitality businesses prior to the lockdown, to supply a variety of food and drink that had been produced in the North East.

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, the company made the decision to change from a wholesale business working primarily with the hospitality trade to a business which could sell direct to consumers.

Katrina Wanless, Director at Northumbrian Gifts commented: “We closely followed the effects of the pandemic and quickly realised we would have canned water stock that would need to be repurposed so as to not go out of date.

“It’s great that Alnwick Garden Shop agreed to redistribute the water and we were able to support local services in the process.

“As a tenant of Advance Northumberland, we can benefit from its business support which for me included speaking to a mentor. After receiving advice and guidance from Advance Northumberland I was able to restructure my business to operate with an e-commerce website dedicated to serving individuals looking for local produce, of which we have a great selection.”

Pivoting the business to put an emphasis on 1:1 retail rather than wholesale has enabled Northumbrian Gifts to grow its network of supplier companies: this community of regional companies now includes more than 50 Northumberland-based suppliers and service providers.

The company has been supported in its growth by the fast and reliable broadband connection available at Ashwood Business Park as well as an extensive facility, which enables it to store large quantities of produce. The business park is also very close to the A19 and A1 road links, enabling Northumbrian Gifts to distribute produce rapidly to customers.

More information on Northumbrian Gifts can be found here:

More information on Advance Northumberland and Ashwood Business Park:

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