A dairy farm in Worcestershire that also hosts learning visits for youngsters has built a new outdoor classroom after getting a £23,000 business grant.
Married couple Rob and Emma Harrison work in the farm partnership of JE Harrison. The core business is dairy farming which Mr Harrison runs.
Mrs Harrison has been running outdoor learning visits on Sandfield Farm near Evesham since 2009. The visits are made by pre-booked groups including pre-schools, holiday clubs and youth clubs, as well as children who have special educational needs. During visits, the children learn about the countryside, farming and the environment.
JE Harrison is the latest recipient of a grant from the Worcestershire LEADER Programme. LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is delivered locally by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire Local Action Group on behalf of Defra.
Mr Harrison said: "The visitor room will increase the opportunities for the visitors to come throughout the year and to host larger groups. More visitors on the farm will increase employment levels and turnover.
"We applied for a LEADER grant without any help from a consultant. It was a huge amount of work but the LEADER team were very supportive and guided us in the right direction. The application form helped firm up our ideas and create a detailed business plan. Without the LEADER grant, our business would have created an asset on a much smaller scale, which would not have bought the benefits of such increased turnover."
The focus of the LEADER programme is on growing the economies of rural communities by enabling local people to identify and implement solutions to local problems.
The project has received funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development under the Rural Development Programme for England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the Managing Authority for the Rural Development Programme for England.
Anyone interested in applying for a LEADER grant should visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/LEADER or call Programme Manager Katie Ainsworth on 01905 843992.