Flood-hit factory restarts production line

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

Prince Charles discusses clean-up efforts with factory workers in Carlisle
Prince Charles discusses clean-up efforts with factory workers in Carlisle

Related tags: United biscuits, Flood

United Biscuits has restarted production of McVitie’s Gold biscuit bars at its Carlisle factory after the site was devastated by floods.

More than 400 employees, contractors and suppliers continue to work on site in a bid to finish the clean-up and restart other production lines as soon as possible. 

Factory general manager Mike Heaney said the company had been overwhelmed by the positive attitude of its employees and the community in the wake of Storm Desmond. 

“Resuming factory production is a priority for us and our teams are well on track with this as our Gold bar production has started,” ​Heaney said. 

‘Importance of community’ 

Flood response from UB and employees

  • Volunteered 225 hours to help flood victims
  • Given out 1,200 boxes of biscuits door-to-door
  • Donated 31 pallets of biscuits to employees’ friends and family, plus flood rescue centres

“However, we also recognise the importance of community at a time like this. 

“Many of our employees have taken the time to support those most affected by the floods and keep spirits high, providing local rescue centres with supplies and carrying out local door-to-door biscuit drops.” 

The biscuit factory was forced to close​ and the site lost power as floods affected thousands of homes and businesses across Cumbria in December. 

But in a sign of resilience, the factory managed to switch its Christmas lights back on​ in time for a visit by Prince Charles on December 21. 

‘Thoughts remain’ with victims 

“United Biscuits greatly appreciates the support that has been offered, and our thoughts remain with the thousands of people in Cumbria who have been impacted by the floods,” ​Heaney said. 

“Whilst the impact of the floods has been significant in the area and on the people who live here, we have been overwhelmed by the positive attitude and enthusiasm of the community and our employees over the past few weeks.”   

The former Carr’s biscuit factory in Church Street is one of Carlisle’s biggest employers. 

Meanwhile, Heineken’s Tadcaster brewery – the home of John Smith’s ale – has pledged £50,000 to support flood victims in North Yorkshire. 

View from factory

“Whilst the impact of the floods has been significant in the area and on the people who live here, we have been overwhelmed by the positive attitude and enthusiasm of the community and our employees over the past few weeks.”   

  • Mike Heaney, factory general manager, United Biscuits 

Brewery manager David Ginley said: “There’s a great sense of community as people pull together to support their neighbours. 

“The collapse of the bridge in Tadcaster has left the town divided, so transport infrastructure is an obvious priority. As a local employer we want to play our part in helping reconnect the town.” 

Heineken has committed £25,000 to transport projects and £25,000 to a community fund, which will provide grants to flood-hit communities and projects. 

The bridge at Tadcaster collapsed on December 29 while the town’s shops and businesses were badly flooded after river levels rose.  

Meanwhile, Cumbrian food and agriculture group Carr’s Group managed to weather the flooding​ after its flour activities were disrupted. 

See photos of United Biscuits employees helping with flood relief efforts below. 

UB photo
UB 2
UB 3
UB photo 4

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