Audrey Steeley, Creative Projects Manager, Heron Corn Mill

I first contacted Robert Ashton in late 2014. Heron Corn Mill was then part way through their Heritage Lottery funding for the industrial heritage site improvements. I had previously read Robert’s books and been very impressed by the simple nature and structure of his writing, and his positivity towards social enterprise and charity business. As Creative Projects Manager of Heron Corn Mill, I was reaching a stage of embracing personal growth myself, as well as looking at the future of the mill with fresh eyes. I turned to Robert for a mentor and he agreed!

The process we went through took over 3 months, with a meeting in 2015 between myself, Robert and the trustees of the Heron Corn Mill. We openly discussed the future of the mill from all angles, probably for the first time since installing renewable energy on site – this was to determine what the next steps might be for the mill – and for me.

Currently, the mill is enjoying its completion of building works and other improvements, bringing in a much steadier flow of earned income – from flour sales. We make stoneground flour, and one of Robert’s suggestion’s was to make this our USP and look at the packaging and distribution. We have updated our design and are currently supplying a bakery and a café locally with fresh stoneground flour, as well as increasing our flour sales.

As for me, I am setting goals for the next five years, and exploring ways to create offshoot projects from the mill that benefit the community. I am also using my talents as a writer and currently preparing a 30-minute drama for Radio 4 submission, and getting totally excited about writing a screenplay based on an historical novel that was written just a mile from the mill and published in 1918. The success of this could really put the Arnside and Silverdale area on the tourism map - there’s positive!