Cramlington chocolate-making company receives huge lump of cash to support growth and job creation

A Cramlington-based chocolate and confectionery company has received a £92,000 cash injection.

By Joshua Wright
Friday, 8th July 2022, 12:06 pm

Established in 1998, Sweet Dreams is run by husband-and-wife team Matt and Cath Stephenson and the company is well known for its Choc Nibbles treats.

The funding has come from the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) and the European Regional Development Fund’s ‘North of Tyne Growth Fund’ which supports small and medium-sized enterprises across the North East.

The grant will help the firm – which is based in Admiral Business Park – create jobs, buy new machinery and increase its product range.

Sweet Dreams owners Matt and Cath Stephenson with Mayor Jamie Driscoll.

Mr Stephenson said: "Our chocolate bar line wouldn’t have happened without NTCA’s investment. We’ve got an exciting thing here, and the new funding took the pressure off.

“Adding to our ability to offer chocolate-coated confectionery, we now have a state-of-the-art depositing line that can produce plain bars, bars with inclusions and even plant-based vegan options.”

During a recent visit, North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll saw the chocolate production process in full effect.

He also met workers in the company offices and on the factory floor, including some of the new staff funded by the NTCA award.

One of the employees was Darren Andrews, who joined the company in a brand new role.

Being a former car mechanic, Mr Andrews is now being trained in the production and maintenance of high-speed, high-quality production lines.

At the end of his training, it is hoped that he will be an expert chocolatier, with Sweet Dreams paying for his training and exams in full.

He said: “This opportunity allows me to apply my existing skill set to the engineering department, while also giving me an insight into an exciting and quite rare skill of being a chocolatier.

"Sweet Dreams have big plans, and it’s great that I am part of this, right at the start.”

As well as new workers, the funding will also help Sweet Dreams to expand their manufacturing space into a new factory next door, install power outlets for machines, create four new production lines that will increase depositing capacity, allow ‘one shot’ moulding and utilise hollow mould technology.