He says Barclays has been “instrumental” in the growth of his business, helping him turn “four empty fields” into a fully functioning smallholding that he is now hoping to sell.
Two years ago, the bank financed the building of a four-bedroom farmhouse for Oliver and his then-fiancé, Helen. “We started building literally a week before we got married, which was quite good fun!” he says.
There are now five buildings, a feed silo, fencing, a concrete yard, drainage, a new drive and obviously the farmhouse. “We’ve done a huge amount here. We’ve increased the value of the land from about £200,000 to over £1m.”
Describing Mel as “very supportive and very positive”, Oliver says building up Wodehill with the help of Barclays has given him and Helen the opportunity to climb what he calls the “farming ladder”.
“What we have here is wonderful but I’m not going to be able to fulfil my personal ambition to be a serious farmer on this farm, because it’s too small,” he says. “We now have the opportunity to move onto something more serious – and probably start all over again! It’s been a really important stepping stone for me.”