Express and Star story from a Howle Communications News Release:
A landmark hotel – popular for weddings in South Staffordshire – has been handed a vital lifeline of grants worth almost £90,000, which will allow bosses to expand and create more than 20 jobs.
The number of bedrooms at Dunsley Hall Hotel, in Kinver, will triple from 11 to 33 with the cash.
It comes after bosses at the hotel told how they would have faced closure without the grants – as previous expansion plans stalled through financing problems.
Terrie Beardsmore, who owns Dunsley Hall with her husband Wilf and son Simon, said banks had failed to help by lending money for the expansion to boost turnover.
But now they are forging ahead with the scheme, thanks to the £89,000 grant from the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Jobs and Growth Fund.
They will start the first phase of a £500,000 expansion plan using the money to fund to start building work.
They will also increase car parking at the site, off Dunsley Road.
Phase one of the work includes a function room, disabled access and toilet, a lift, larger kitchen, conservatory and opening a Victorian walled garden. Mrs Beardsmore today welcomed the grant award, saying they had had been relying on family fundraising to help the business so far.
“We tried to get funding from more than 12 lenders only to be turned away,” she said.
“This is a great boost for us and will be for the local area employment wise.” She added: “The grant has been an enormous help.
“Without it I think I would have shut it down because it was becoming too much work.
“This has helped the business a huge amount and we and the staff are absolutely elated. It’s given us the chance to generate more business.”
Dunsley Hall expects to cater for 48 weddings this year, but Mrs Beardsmore explained that hosting a wedding forces the hotel to close sections off to other guests. We have been stuck on the same turnover for the last four or five years and we couldn’t expand the business. The grant will change that.
“We are a true family-run business and we have very dedicated staff – some of them have been with me for many years.
“But we had reached the point where we were turning away weddings and dinner guests. We’d become too successful for our own good.”
The fund, which targets job creation within Staffordshire companies, has so far invested £2.5 million in projects which are forecast to create more than 870 jobs.
The programme is funded through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The hall dates back to the 1200s and became a hotel in 2007, a year after it was taken over by Mr and Mrs Beardsmore.
They gave up their own careers as an estate agent and production director for a security company after falling for the hall and its surroundings. It was previously owned by the Marsh family who lived at the hall for almost 100 years.
They owned the Marsh and Baxter firm, in Brierley Hill, which was once the biggest meat processing plant in Europe and a major employer in the town.