Isle of Wight
£29,141 Bridging the Gap Growth Fund Recipient - April 2016
West Wight Alpacas was set up by husband and wife duo, Neil and Michelle Payne in 2010. What started out as a hobby quickly morphed into an active family business and a high quality tourist attraction as they decided to focus on a niche market. Impressed by the rarity of Suri alpacas and their friendly inquisitive nature, they developed the idea for alpaca and llama trekking and breeding on the Isle of Wight.
Originally, they purchased eleven alpacas (five of which were pregnant) and decided to specialise in the more niche natural coloured Suris to add extra interest for customers. They also bought and developed the existing farm site in the village of Wellow, in West Wight, which is now home to around 60 alpacas, 13 llamas and many other animals. Bio Security and high animal welfare standards are a major part of the company ethos along with sustainable methods such as breeding alpacas for fibre and using their fleece, which is known to be some of the most luxurious in the world.
The company requested funding to support the farm's cafe extension to provide space for a further 24 covers together with a Pompeii style pizza oven.