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Needham Market: Charcoal entrepreneur Amy Hardingham of Alder Carr Farm strikes gold

11:15 03 July 2014

Amy Hardingham with Employment Minister Esther McVey, receiving the Enterprise of the Year and Gold for Innovation title at the Ixion Enterprise Awards 2014 for her Barbecube product

Amy Hardingham with Employment Minister Esther McVey, receiving the Enterprise of the Year and Gold for Innovation title at the Ixion Enterprise Awards 2014 for her Barbecube product

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A farm diversification entrepreneur has scooped an award for enterprise.

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Amy Hardingham, of Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market, the creator and owner of charcoal product Barbecube, took the Enterprise of the Year and Gold for Innovation title at the Ixion Enterprise Awards 2014.

“It’s fantastic news and great to see people really getting behind the idea of using British charcoal. It was inspiring to meet so many other new entrepreneurs,” said Amy.

The awards, celebrating the entrepreneurial success and achievements of more than 5,000 businesses across East Anglia, Essex and South London, took place at Central Hall Westminster, yesterday and were presented by Employment Minister Esther McVey.

Amy established the business in September last year, developing the product, a British-grown instant-lighting charcoal and taking it to market. It is made at Alder Carr Farm.

In just 10 months it’s been made available in over 140 stores across the UK.

“Up until now, if you wanted to have a barbecue without huffing and puffing over a fire and getting covered in charcoal and ash your only option was to buy imported charcoal soaked in lighter-fuel. These commonly contain material from rainforests and have been transported half way round the world,” said Amy. “I wanted to change this.”

Barbecube’s innovative cardboard packaging serves as the fuel for lighting the charcoal. Unlike existing instant lighting charcoal it contains no chemical additives and no material from rainforests. There is no waste packaging to throw away, and it avoids getting messy handling the charcoal. Fifteen minutes after lighting the box, the charcoal is ready to cook on.

Amy added: “People are used to thinking about where there food comes from, but they don’t extend this to the fuel they use for their barbecue. Charcoal production is a major global driver of deforestation. Charcoal produced in the UK, on the other hand, comes from sustainably managed woodlands. Buying British charcoal not only protects forests overseas, but helps to support Britain’s woodland economy and wildlife.”

Barbecube is available to buy at Alder Carr Farm and in East of England Co-op throughout Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex as part of its Sourced Locally range.

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