From the age of six, Carol Gerrard-Hughes used to spend weekends and school holidays, with her parents and two siblings, in a caravan at Forest View in Oakmere, Northwich, overlooking the Delamere Forest.
At the age of 13 she started washing up in the pub on the site and, when she was old enough, she worked behind the bar.
From that early age she dreamt of one day owning the site and, through her tenacity and ambition, she achieved it.
But it wasn’t easy. Just a couple of years after she had bought the tenancy for the pub and the site in 2007, she was advised by the owner, Scottish and Newcastle, that they were planning to sell the whole lot to a housing developer.
To prevent this from happening she had to move quickly, raising the finance to buy the site from them, which included the pub and pitches for 45 static caravans and 26 tourers.
Carol recognised the huge potential for Forest View and, more recently, was keen to make a significant investment in the site. Her plans were to extend and refurbish the pub, build a new toilet block, create 20 more touring pitches, provide electrical points for the caravans, as well as landscaping and tidying up the site to further enhance its appeal.
Despite having built up a significant equity in Forest View, none of the banks would lend her the money to carry out her plans.
Fortunately, Matthews Sutton & Co Accountants in Liverpool introduced Carol to Reward. Having met with her and toured the site, we quickly provided her with a £300,000 Business Finance loan, having been impressed with her enthusiasm and determination, as well as her plans for the site and the additional revenue this would create.
With the works now complete, Carol and her new business partner – her eldest daughter Sophie – are already reaping the rewards with all the static caravans occupied and the touring pitches fully booked for this year. Planning permission has also just been granted for 27 tent pitches.
“When the banks would not support me, I was close to putting everything on the market and selling up,” said Carol. “However, the Reward team saw the passion I had for the site and worked tirelessly to provide me with the funds to turn my childhood dreams into reality.”
Reward’s Business Development Director for the North West, Russell Holt, added,
“By being flexible we were able to provide Carol with the £300k quickly to ensure the pub and the site fulfilled their true potential, especially with the rise in ‘staycations’, resulting in an extremely successful business with a very bright future.”