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Brewing up a village enterprise

27 May 2011

By Mick McGrath, Head of East Midlands region

As Head of Region for the East Midlands I jump at the occasional chance to visit groups in the region who are benefitting from BIG funding. I was delighted to join Peter Wanless and Jessica Taplin and also thought a beer brewing course at Village SOS funded Taste Tideswell, was too good to turn down!

Chief Executive Peter Wanless also joined me and together we learnt about the science of making beer as well as mashing and worting. To those not versed in this witchcraft it is stirring, boiling, draining, adding beer yeast and other stuff made from seaweed and sturgeon stomachs – I want to say that’s made up but I can’t!

Mick McGrath (left) and Peter Wanless at Tideswell School of Food

Mick McGrath (left) and Peter Wanless at Tideswell School of Food

But we didn’t just have fun we also provided lots of advice, contacts, thoughts whilst gaining some really useful insights into the world of a social enterprise which aims to make the village a tourist destination, support and nurture local food businesses and recycle any profits for wider community benefits. The community were also rather pleased to see that BIG was taking an interest in them and recognising all their efforts.

Taste Tideswell is a Village SOS project in the Peak District in Derbyshire which runs a project aiming to bring great food to life. They used £430,000 of Lottery funding to build Tideswell School of Food which provides cooking courses as well as a nano brewery with ‘Brew It’ courses. They are involving the whole community with activities around ‘Grow It, Cook It, Sell It, Make It and Share It’.

So if you ever are short for a present idea you could do a lot worse than get someone a cooking or brewing course voucher. Once you’ve done that go for a walk in the Peak Park and work up another appetite or make up a Sarah Beeny trail if that’s your thing and recall all the people and places you saw on the BBC programme.

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