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29.07.03
'Green' training gives Cornish business new life

Daniel Collins, from Pensilva, near Liskeard, has used an Objective One training bursary provided by the South West Agricultural and Rural Development (SWARD) Project to widen the services offered by his landscape management business.

Until now, his trade in helping clients to manage their woodland habitats sustainably has been restricted to the winter months when the leaves are off the trees. To strengthen his business base he had to find a compatible service that could be offered throughout the year.

Daniel undertook training in biological surveying with the Field Studies Council in conjunction with Otley College in Suffolk. The total cost of more than £600 (including residential and travel costs) was covered by the bursary that he accessed as a member of a woodsmen's discussion group which is also supported by the project.

SWARD, which invests in collaboration and training for small businesses in the land-based sector, is managed by the Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall. The project in Cornwall is financed by Objective One (via the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the Learning and Skills Council and Cornwall County Council.

Said Daniel: "My new skills enable me to monitor flora and fauna found in parcels of land, and to develop management strategies to promote the needs of these species.

"This additional expertise also enables me to undertake biological surveys for riverbanks and hay meadows as well as woods."

Business Link director of operations Fred Elliott commented: "This is an excellent example of how training can improve the prospects for a local business by extending skills and so providing new services. It shows that businesses are seizing the opportunities offered through Objective One to make a real difference.

"Daniel is combining sustainability with new business opportunities in what is a growth area."

Biological surveying is key to the environmental priorities of English Nature and the Environment Agency. Daniel is now qualified to provide surveys for these organisations as well as for landowners throughout the South West - while his clients gain a better understanding of the wildlife and habitats on their holdings.

For further press information please contact Rebecca Bye on 0845 600 9966 or Ian Gent on 0845 600 9966 or 07771 631518.

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Editor's notes:

The Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall is a government-funded service designed to provide the best possible help to people starting, running or growing a business. At its core is an information and enquiry centre, supported by a network of local and national specialists and support organisations. Business Link receives European investment to enable it to deliver its services in Devon and Cornwall. For more information contact 0845 600 9966.

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)

EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314m available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land.
Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas.
Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas.
Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.
Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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