Lancashire Community Finance
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Start Up Loan

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Robert D’Orville received a Start Up Loan of £25,000 in March 2015, enabling him to take ownership of Berry’s Bakery in Preston.

When Robert took over the established bakery the pressure was certainly on to provide the best possible service. It’s clear now that Robert, who was 25 at the time was up to the task


Business is thriving. Robert exceeded his sales forecasts by 50% in the first year and he has gone from strength to strength since then. Not only is Berry’s popular in the community, but also with visitors in the area. A quick look at the Facebook page for Berry’s Bakery shows a growing number of satisfied customers.

Robert was an experienced baker when he took over Berry’s and he offers a range of goods, from traditional pies and sandwiches, to freshly baked bread. Beyond providing ready-to-eat snacks and meals, he also offers unbaked goods to be taken home and cooked. He has also branched out into catering and offers his bakery range for delivery to weddings and parties.

The two part-time staff that worked in the bakery were retained when Robert took on the business, and he has since been able to add two full time members of staff, providing further employment in the area.

Robert’s story was recently featured on the BBC programme ‘A Matter of Life and Debt’



Joanne Boulton worked for five years as a photographer for a training company, before deciding to go it alone and start her own photography business.

She took the decision when her son moved out to go to university, giving her more spare time. With the help of a Start Up Loan of £2,500 in October 2015, she was able to lay the foundations for Jo Boulton Photography, investing the funds largely in executing a marketing campaign.

The campaign was a success. Joanne now specialises in wedding, family and newborn photography. She enjoys the creativity that is central to wedding photography, which she describes as an industry that has undergone a lot of change in recent years. She also regards wedding photography as a sound foundation on which to build a business, as people will continue to get married and will invariably want professional photographs taken on the day.

Photographing newborns is another aspect of the job that she greatly enjoys and she says it is becoming an increasingly popular option among new parents

Evidently the business is going well and Joanne hopes to take on a member of administration staff. After trading for two years, she has moved the operation to a new two room studio in Preston. Clearly Joanne’s business has built the solid base she planned and it looks set to thrive


Brett’s Pets is a family run pet shop, based in Chorley. It provides customers with a range of pet foods and products along with information and husbandry advice on most animals and exotic reptiles.

The shop is owned and run by 27 year old Brett Weller who received a Start Up Loan of £9,500 in April 2013. Brett offers a wide range of pets, from the relatively conventional options of fish, rabbits and guinea pigs, to slightly more unusual pets such as water dragons, geckos and tarantulas.

Since Brett’s Pets got up and running it has built a large and enthusiastic customer base. This is evidenced by the glowing reviews for the shop online as well as the Facebook follower count.

The business has evolved over time and now houses Chorley Vets on the premises. This is a fully equipped veterinary surgery with a team of three vets one nurse and two trainees, who can provide treatment and care for all types of pets in the area.

The success of Brett’s Pets has clearly not gone unnoticed as in March 2017 he was awarded the Best Young Micro entrepreneur at the Responsible Finance Citi Awards. Brett is passionate about working with animals, which has clearly led to a successful business.



Latest news

In light of the latest Government advice on COVID-19, our Preston and Skelmersdale offices will be closed to visitors from Wednesday 18 March. Our staff continue to work from other locations and all remain available during our usual hours Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. You'll still be able to reach us on our main number 01772 556877 and email For Start Up Loan queries, call 01772 205031 or email