Since completing the work, Welton has just had its busiest Wednesday of trade to date. The additional preparation area meant staff could cope with the increased trade with ease.

Based to the south of Market Harborough, Welton Deli is a village shop, tea room and post office in Great Bowden.

The local population is approx 1,000 and t is unlikely a post office could survive with such a small community without diversification.

The owner, Nicola Ransome, and her husband have second jobs in order to minimise the exposure the business has to salaries.

The grant application was to expand the kitchen, in order that the tea room and catering could be developed further. The tea room has been growing in popularity steadily over the past 12-18 months with occasional requests to take home freshly prepared meals for consumption at home.

This, alongside commercial catering provision, was seen as a potential area to grow Welton's business whilst at the same time providing a valuable service to older single residents in the area.

In addition, the improved preparation area would allow for the development of more on site baked products utilising predominately locally sourced ingredients.

The combination of grant and retail advice is already starting to yield benefits for the business and local community.

Welton are a great example of a business hungry to learn, keen to try new ways of engaging customers and diversifying as opportunities arise. The result is protection of essential local services and job creation.

The expansion has resulted in job creation of:

1.5x Chefs is now 2x full time chefs.

Nicola Ransome is now full time in the business

2x additional weekend staff have been taken on

1x additional full time cook/chef is also being recruited.

Advice around changes to the layout of the shop have resulted in increased retailing space (to allow for a broader range of fresh produce) and a dedicated grocery area. Relocation of newspapers has also generated more traffic to the far reaches of the store in turn customers locals to access more local fresh produce.