I feel very confident that my ideas are backed up by some financial support and an experienced mentor.

    Milly Wastie


    Without the foundations guidance we would never have gotten to where we are so quickly.

    Emily Noble

Henry's Graduates

Since 2012 the Henry Plumb Foundation has funded over 47 different projects 

The Graduates have all gone on to great success, and below are just a few examples of how the level of support provided can make a real difference.

Matthew Elliott

Huntingdon, Cambs

Project: Meat cutting & processing - "Bettys Meats"

The banks let me down, but the Henry Plumb Foundation understood what I wanted to do and helped me when others wouldn’t.

I’d been a hog roaster for 5 years and wanted to rear my own herd of pigs and to set up a cutting and processing room, so I could make my own sausages to take to Farmers Markets and create my own brand.

I had just taken on a tenant farm from Cambridgeshire County Council and they tweeted about the Henry Plumb Foundation.  Despite having decent looking books and a reasonable business plan, the banks said I was too small to lend money to, so I applied for support from Henry Plumb.

They understood what I was trying to do immediately and the financial backing they gave me and the mentoring from David Wheatley was invaluable.  The support and advice I was given by the Foundation is what started my business up, I couldn’t have done it without them and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.

My sausages are sold at Ely Farmers Market and I process around 100 pigs, mostly Saddlebacks but also a few Old Spot/Duroc crosses.  I’m hoping to expand the herd by 25% and hopefully will be employing someone soon.

Chris McWhirter


Project: Purchase flock of breeding Ewes

I'm living the dream! I have had the opportunity to take on a Devon county council farm and be able to farm for myself. The Henry Plumb Foundation has been very helpful in achieving this goal. 

I'm not from a farming family but ever since I was a boy all I've wanted to do is farm. Now I'm running 250 ewes and rearing Friesian steers to sell as stores. 

The money I have had from the Foundation is most welcome because it's a solid amount I don't need to borrow, but the really great thing is the link up with a business/farming mentor. My mentor was incredibly useful to me in asking questions to challenge my ideas and encouraging me to take on the farm. 

In the future I hope to expand, a prospect that seemed unlikely before the Foundation helped me get this far.

Sarah Stobart


Project: Developing exclusive Gift Shop Brand

I grew up on a farm in Cumbria and wanted to help expand my parents’ business by building on the diversification they’d already started.

They had set up a campsite on the farm and hosted bus tours where people could explore the farm and enjoy a three-course lunch.  I wanted to enhance the visitor experience and set up a gift shop on site.

I researched grant-awarding bodies on the internet and came across the Henry Plumb Foundation.  I contacted them and from start to finish the whole experience was fantastic.  It was really well organised, the application form was easy to use and though the interview in London was nerve wracking everyone involved was amazing.

The Mentoring aspect has been brilliant.  Richard Price has been very good, always checking on me and even though my project is complete, he is still in contact.

My advice to anyone thinking of applying is, go for it.  If people have got an idea, but need the money it’s well worth it.  My business, the gift shop and the information boards that Henry Plumb funded, wouldn’t be here without their help and advice.

Simon Haley

Preston, Lancashire

Project: The value of social media for the rural industry


I asked for support from someone in an agri PR role to help me pitch and develop different ideas I have, mainly around agriculture and social media. I also asked for funding to help with the cost of my attendance on the Challenge of Rural Leadership course in January 2015.


Sarah Palmer was appointed as my mentor and I was given a cheque for £1000 following my successful interview; with another cheque for the same amount due later in the year following a report of my progress and discussions with my mentor.


I have accepted my place on the Challenge of Rural Leadership course in January 2015, for which the HPF funding will contribute to half of the attendance cost. I have had a meeting with Sarah where she listened to my ideas and questions, and gave constructive feedback providing me with contact details of others in the industry who she advised would be good for me to talk to also. Sarah and I plan to meet up again soon and I plan to put into action some of the ideas that Sarah and I have discussed.

Milly Wastie

Yelverton, Northamptonshire

Project: Small-scale pig rearing, butchery and marketing

Milly was one of the first to be awarded funding by the Henry Plumb Foundation.

As a regional manager for RABI and a former Chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, Milly is passionate about the future of agriculture – and cookery.

"I wanted to put my energy into developing a small business rearing pigs, initially for a small local market and then expand to a wider market when I have learnt more.

My award has given me the opportunity to enrol on butchery, curing and smoking and digital marketing courses, purchase a sausage making machine and buy IT equipment to help start my business. I’ve also been allocated a mentor, renowned farmer and entrepreneur John Geldard with whom to discuss ideas and future plans.

Preparing my submission and the interview itself with industry experts was tremendously useful. My plans were interrogated and I feel very confident that I have good ideas now backed up by some financial support and an experienced mentor."

Stephen Jones


Project: Production of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) tubers

I’m a Crop Science PhD student from the University of Nottingham. One of my passions has always been to explore the potential of producing alternative food crops under our British climate.

This spring, I was provided both a grant and a mentor from the Henry Plumb Foundation to help me develop the production of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) tubers on my family’s farm in Shropshire.

More commonly grown in New Zealand, Oca tubers come in an array of colours, taste sweet with a lemony undertone and unlike potatoes, they are completely blight resistant.

The purpose of growing Oca is to provide our family farm with a crop that we are able to market directly to the consumer as a tasty alternative to the potato.

The benefits of growing Oca are that, unlike the potato, it is completely blight resistant and avoids the need for repeated fungicide applications.

I hope to develop the project further by creating a sustainable business to supply British grown Oca tubers to the UK market.

Tom Rawson

West Yorkshire

Project: Write a report on young people and business ownership

I am a director of Evolution Farming, a dairy farming and farm consultancy business based in West Yorkshire. We milk around 1000 crossbred cows on a pasture based system but also give advice to farmers involved in a number of systems.

For my Henry Plumb Foundation award I have been given financial help to travel to New Zealand to look at how young people can get into business ownership and build up equity and how applicable this would be to the UK dairy industry.

My plan is to write a report that would not only help myself and people in my business but would also get out in to the wider dairy community to benefit others.

Emily Noble


Project: Expand a small flock of sheep into a viable commercial enterprise

My project was to expand my small flock of sheep into a viable commercial enterprise. The funding given from the Henry Plumb Foundation enabled me to do this much quicker, than I could on my own. My partner and I are not from an agricultural background and all our grass is rented, so we’re total newcomers! We rent about 120 acres, and aim to establish a quality flock of about 100 ewes as our first major milestone.

Initially we were breeding pedigree Southdowns, we had moved into Dorset sheep, and wanted to expand our Dorset numbers to accelerate our selective breeding. We put 75 ewes to a ram in 2014, which were a combination of Southdowns, Dorsets and rare breed sheep.

We also used a Romney ram on half the Dorsets and a New Zealand style Suffolk on the other; our Southdowns are bred pure.

After a pretty rough start to lambing, we made the decision to no longer breed pedigree Southdowns, but instead use the ram as a crossing sure to produce native bred lambs for direct sales.

We hope to put our Romney cross Dorset shearlings in 2015, to a New Zealand Suffolk for a viable commercial operation.

The foundation has taught me to evolve my business and breeding practise, and to ask for help and listen to the advice provided.  Without their guidance we would never have gotten to where we are so quickly. We would have been learning these lessons in five years whereas with the help of the foundation we are learning them now.