Over 100 businesses and key partners gathered at The Alnwick Garden for the launch of a support service for Northumberland's rural businesses.

The Northumberland Small Business Service (NSBS), delivered by Advance Northumberland for Northumberland County Council, aims to help existing businesses to thrive and diversify, while helping new businesses to start.

The project offering includes a Rural Business Adviser, a workshop and event programme, and a team of specialists to work directly with companies on particular challenges.

The Northern Farmer: There was a great turnout for the launch of NSBS

The Service also offers a £2m rural capital Grant Investment Fund for eligible businesses with clear plans for expansion and diversification.

Delegates praised the programme, particularly the Farming Advisory Service which fills a support gap for farms wishing to diversify.

The morning saw programme manager, Lucy Evermore, give a detailed insight into the new support service. Lucy said: “I am excited to finally be able to launch the service properly.

"After some months of planning, it's really great to see all of the teams hard work come together and showcase the breadth of support we have on offer. There really is something for everyone, regardless of what stage of business you are at!”

The service's website will be launched soon, and those with questions about NSBS can contact the team at business@advancenorthumberland.co.uk