Business support

Major investment planned at Knockando Woolmill

Knockando Woolmill in rural Moray, Europe’s oldest district woolmill, is set to increase its productivity, competitiveness and turnover, creating a new post and retaining existing staff.

The mill has been manufacturing continuously for more than 200 years. For the past five years it has been operated as a social enterprise by Knockando Woolmill Company Limited (KWC).

A range of woven and spun goods are produced at Knockando for both retail and wholesale.  As well as being recognised as a unique part of Scotland’s manufacturing heritage, the business has thrived as a retail and tourism destination with visitor numbers reaching 28,000 in 2016. Seven full time staff are employed at the mill along with six to eight seasonal posts.

The company has secured up to £100,000 in grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and, through the generous support and funding of Historic Environment Scotland, a loan facility of up to £250,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The money will be used to invest in new equipment and production software, as well as supporting the growth and operational requirements of the business. An additional weaver post will also be created to enable shift work and double production capacity as the company expands its customer base.

Nicola Irwin, chair of the Knockando Woolmill Trustees said: “All involved at Knockando Woolmill are very pleased that the Architectural Heritage Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have recognised the achievements of Knockando Woolmill over the past five years and that both have continued their long association with the Woolmill by investing in its future thereby helping it to maintain and expand employment and manufacturing in the Spey Valley.”

Fiona Robb, head of strengthening communities with HIE in Moray, added: “We recognise the potential for Knockando Woolmill’s products to reach global markets. This mill is also a valuable employer in one of our more rural areas and has an important role to play in the cultural attraction of Moray as a region to visit.

“We’re delighted to be able to support the Knockando team’s efforts to grow their business, improve production and their customer experience and look forward to continuing to work with them as they implement the plans.”

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