£35,000 Development Bank of Wales loan to power Smugglers Livery and Equestrian Centre

Michelle Noble
Investment Executive
Business planning and strategy
Growing a business
Smugglers Livery

Blackwood-based Smugglers Livery and Equestrian Centre is being powered by green energy following a £35,000 green loan from the Development Bank of Wales. 

Established in 2013 by Melissa Burles, who previously ran Gelligoediog Riding School, Smugglers is a BHS and Pony Club approved Centre. It has a riding school, indoor arena, two outdoor floodlit menages, cafe and tack shop. 16 staff are employed to take care of the 35 horses and deliver livery services, riding lessons, pony parties, shows and clinics. 

With support from accountancy firm Barford Owen Davies, Melissa Burles was able to secure funding to instal a 50kWp roof-mounted solar system. This includes 120 420w solar panels and three batteries that will generate 42,500Kwh of renewable energy a year and help futureproof the business against rising electricity costs. The investment has been funded by a £35,0000 loan from the Development Bank and a £25,000 grant from Caerphilly County Borough Council. 

Melissa Burles said: “I am passionate about horses and continuing to build Smugglers as a leading equestrian centre which means on-going investment in our facilities and our people. With the help of Barford Owen Davies, Caerphilly County Borough Council and the Development Bank, we’ve now got the funding needed to take positive steps to reduce our impact on the environment and save money in the long-term.”

Carrie Barford of Barford Owen Davies said: “Melissa is an ambitious business owner who is focussed on delivering top quality equestrian facilities and memorable riding experiences. As a long-standing client, we are pleased to have been able to work with her to secure a financial package that will cut costs and enable her to make real progress on the road to net zero.”

Michelle Noble is an Investment Executive with the Development Bank. She said: “Our green business loans can be used by all types of different businesses to invest in renewable technology and make enhancements to become more sustainable. By combining our loan with a grant from the local authority, Melissa has been able to access a package of support that will reduce carbon emissions and cut costs. It’s a win-win and we’re pleased to see another business benefiting from our Green Business Loan Scheme.”

The Green Business Loan Scheme is funded by the Welsh Government and offers funding from £1,000 up to £1.5 million with discounted interest rates and patient capital to support businesses undertaking energy efficiency and decarbonisation projects. The Scheme also provides access to fully and part-funded consultancy support to carry out business specific energy audits. Limited companies, sole traders and partnerships can apply for funding through the Scheme subject to being based in Wales and trading for at least two years with at least one set of filed, annual accounts.