Wyke Farms

A sustainable future

We meet Richard Clothier, Managing Director of independent cheesemaker Wyke Farms, to find out how, with support from Barclays, he is future-proofing his business.

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Richard Clothier – Managing Director, Wyke Farms Ltd

Wyke Farms is a family farmhouse cheese-making business based in Somerset. We've been making cheese for about 300 years to my Grandmother’s family recipe. It does drive a lot of passion and emotion, so if someone criticises my cheese, it's worse than criticising the kids because the kids sometimes deserve it, but the cheese is always perfect.

Steven Beavan – Director, Barclays

I've looked after the business for the last four years and it’s evolved and changed so much during that time. They've got a 21st century world-class manufacturing facility, a fully-automated cheese packing and processing line that sends cheese all over the globe, but wonderfully, they've also diversified their business.

Richard Clothier – Managing Director, Wyke Farms Ltd

The biogas plant is part of our 100% green policy and it's about recycling all of our waste, minimising the use of anything we use externally and producing all of our energy from renewable sources.

Steven Beavan – Director, Barclays

The biogas site also pumps excess green renewable energy into the national grid that benefits everybody in society.

Richard Clothier – Managing Director, Wyke Farms Ltd

It was an expensive project, we've spent about £15million and Barclays really reacted to that challenge and supported us. It was quite new technology at the time and they were quite innovative in their approach to the lending so that we were able to get on and make decisions quickly.

Steven Beavan – Director, Barclays

Barclays supported Wyke Farms, initially with a development loan to enable them to create the site. We've then put in place a long-term loan to enable them to continue to run the plant here for many, many years to come. We're also working with them, around their foreign exchange facilities to enable them to export more around the globe and support British exporting.

Richard Clothier – Managing Director, Wyke Farms Ltd 

Our relationship with Barclays started back in the mid-1970s, they've always been reactive to the changing needs of a growing business and they've helped us to deliver and make the business more sustainable in the long-term. Steve lives and breathes the business like we do and we have a really good honest and open relationship. Steve understands the challenges we have with customers and a dynamic market place. He's excited like we are by the opportunities for the business.

Steven Beavan – Director, Barclays

The future here at Wyke is extremely exciting. I'd love to think that we can be their business partner for the next 150 years as the business moves down through the Clothier generations.

Richard Clothier – Managing Director, Wyke Farms Ltd 

I'm really optimistic about the future, I can see more and more people in more and more countries looking to buy fantastic cheddar from Somerset.

End transcript

With over 150 years’ experience producing award winning cheese at their family farm in Somerset, Wyke Farms is Britain’s largest independent farmhouse cheese maker. It also sells in over 160 countries worldwide.

With an ambition to become 100% self-sufficient in energy production, Wyke Farms decided to build a biogas plant to recycle waste and generate green electricity. 

Barclays understood our long-term commitment to look after the environment. The project has helped us become more efficient, and supports our journey to become a market leader not only in the UK, but in our export countries too.

Richard Clothier

Managing Director, Wyke Farms

With a relationship extending over 35 years, Barclays supported the plan and provided the required funding to build the Plant.

The plant can accommodate all of Wyke’s needs at only 65% capacity. This means that when operating at full capacity, it contributes to The National Grid – providing sustainable, renewable energy.

Thanks to Wykes Farms’ commitment to the environment, Barclays has supported their working capital needs by providing a Green Trade Loan facility. This will enable Wyke to draw funds against their sale of biogas to The National Grid.

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