Newry-based Around Noon has secured a £750,000 loan from the Growth Loan Fund to help the company become a leading manufacturer for food to go in the UK.

Finance for the £50m Growth Loan Fund – which provides loans to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance – has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and private investors, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).

In 1989, Sheila Chambers started the business in her kitchen. At the time, food to go was a little-known concept but is today one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry.  Around Noon currently employs over 300 staff and recently announced the takeover of London business, Chef in a Box.

Gareth Chambers, CEO of Around Noon with Jenna Mairs, Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners.
Gareth Chambers, CEO of Around Noon with Jenna Mairs, Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners.

Gareth Chambers, CEO of Around Noon, said: “The business started from humble beginnings with a focus on producing high quality packed sandwiches. We have grown rapidly in the last three years and our product offering now includes sandwiches, wraps, salads and fruit pots under the ‘Scribbles’ brand as well as cold pressed juices and bakery courtesy of our new bakery, ‘Sweet Things’.”

Having completed a management buyout of Around Noon in 2016, Gareth has partnered with experienced Food to Go Entrepreneur, and now Around Noon Chairman Howard Farquhar. The funding seeks to further support their ambitious vision.

Mr Chambers added: “This loan will help us invest in developing our IT systems and infrastructure and will help us to further develop our newly acquired London operation.  In the next five years we want to grow our turnover significantly and the backing of the Growth Loan Fund will help make this a reality.”

Jenna Mairs, Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners, commented: “Around Noon has experienced a high level of growth in a very short timeframe.  The acquisition of Chef in the Box shows the ambition of the owners to strengthen the brand and gain a major foothold in the food sector.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for healthier on-the-go alternatives and Gareth has identified a very lucrative market to diversify the company’s product offering. There are exciting times ahead for the business as it continues to build towards its five year strategy.”

WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the FCA, was established in 2012 to manage the Fund and is owned by a consortium of three partners – WhiteRock Finance Limited, NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers.

Companies seeking funding from the Growth Loan Fund must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors.  Loans will be typically unsecured and personal guarantees will not be sought.

The loans provided are expected to be complementary to existing sources of finance, including banks, trade finance sources and equity investors.  Loans are provided on a fully commercial basis, with monthly loan repayments required over typically a five-year term.

For more information about the Growth Loan Fund’s criteria please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to www.growthloanfund.com.