AN MP has paid tribute to the growing success of a family-run dairy that was saved from the brink of closure.
The 106-year-old Rock Farm Dairy in Wheatley Hill has seen its fortunes transform since the business was purchased from administrators by UK Dairy Sales in May last year.
Turnover has almost doubled to just under £12m with the site is now producing over 400,000 litres of locally produced milk every week.
Sedgefield’s Labour MP Phil Wilson visited the site and said: “We are all aware that the diary industry is facing perhaps some of the toughest trading conditions in living memory.
“So it is very pleasing to be able to see such a success story here in the North-East and especially within my constituency.
“Not only has Rock Farm been able to secure employment for 55 existing staff, but it has also managed to create 12 new jobs for local people and with ambitious plans for future growth this is good news for the Wheatley Hill community.”
UKDS has already invested almost £2m into the dairy and John Gregory, the great grandson of the site’s original farmer Ruth Mary who, together with his brother Keith still manages the dairy, added: “We are fully focused on driving the business forward and we have ambitious plans for growth.
“Over the next five years we are planning to more than double our turnover.”
Rock Farm is the largest supplier of milk in 189ml bottles to schools in the region and also supplies a prestigious and diverse range of customers across the North of England, including hospitals, care homes, universities, local stores, hotels and restaurants.