J24 our Event Partner for The Somerset Life Food & Drink Awards 2013
By Rachel Haime on April 11th 2013
Five years ago only fields and trees occupied the triangle of land formed by the junction of the M5 and A38 at junction 24 near North Petherton.
Today, thanks to an initial £10 million investment it is home one of the biggest livestock markets, rural business hubs, and a purpose built events and conferencing centre, with it’s own indoor arena. Combined, the entity creates Junction24.
With its ease of access – just a minute off the M5 – and its streamlined handling facilities Sedgemoor Auction Centre@J24, has rapidly attracted a regular clientele of buyers and sellers from the south of England and beyond, a following which now sees it set benchmark prices for the whole of the national livestock sector.
As well as delivering long-overdue price benefits to producers in the South West, the heartland of the British livestock industry, the centre, has developed rapidly into a regional business centre and a one-stop shop for the farming community.
Farmers travelling to trade there can visit veterinary suppliers, solicitors, land agents, insurers or accountants, buy outdoor clothing and even get their hair cut, while a restaurant specialising in locally-sourced foods will set them up for the journey home.
But the centre is already beginning to fulfil the wide role its creator, dairy farmer and entrepreneur Derek Mead, foresaw. His initial mission, drawn up while serving as a national council member on the National Farmers’ Union, was to create a stronger platform for local livestock farmers and win them better returns from a market dominated by buyers from major supermarkets.
But Derek also realised that the strategic location of the livestock centre made it an ideal venue for a range of other events and activities.
His daughter, Katherine, now managing director of Junction24 Ltd, said: “Dad always believed that a lot of other people apart from farmers would use the centre if we provided the right facilities – including plenty of parking, and he was right.
“We are brilliantly placed to attract audiences of all kinds: we have Taunton and Bridgwater on our doorsteps and Yeovil, Exeter and Bristol are all less than an hour away. You really couldn’t find a more convenient spot and in 2013 we are hoping to increase all of our activities including hosting more live events, conferences & exhibitions.”
Over the last five years Junction24 has hosted everything from car boot sales and farmers’ markets to conferences, exhibitions, careers fairs, business networking events, annual dinners and live music concerts – including Olly Murrs, Feeder, and the Wurzels. More recently “The Venue@J24” also rescued the Taunton Scout and Guide Gang Show after it was made homeless from the ailing Brewhouse Inn Taunton. Over five nights and six shows Junction24 saw over 1500 people through the doors to enjoy the local show.
The space also accommodates a selection of conference suites, capable of accommodating up to 200 delegates whilst also offering executive boardrooms and break out areas.
Katherine said: “We have really put ourselves on the map in the three and a half years since we opened and a huge number of organisations are now turning to us as their first choice for staging events of all kinds.
“It’s quite remarkable what has developed from the initial idea of securing a better deal for Somerset farmers.”
For more information please call 01278 662200 or go to www.junction24ltd.co.uk
There are no comments for this article.
Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment.