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20.10.03
Clinics reveal massive interest in farm diversification

Cornish farmers are literally queuing up for advice about farm diversification according to Objective One project Cartwheel Rural Tourism, which last week ran a 'sell-out' series of free marketing clinics at Lanhydrock Golf Club near Bodmin.

With more than 20 farmers and landowners at last week's clinic session, a second day already fully booked in November and names down for third date in December, this massive level of interest dispels any impression of apathy among farmers towards rural progress and diversification in Cornwall.

Cartwheel runs the marketing clinics as part of the Objective One Rural Tourism Marketing Grant scheme, which it administers. At the sessions, farmers and landowners are able to pre-book a half hour consultation with members of Cartwheel's marketing team, with a view to applying for Objective One investment to fund up to 50% of a variety of marketing activities. These can range from brand development, websites and public relations to direct mail, exhibition support and new signage.

According to Cartwheel chief executive Gina Woodcraft, the success of the clinics is itself down to the innovative marketing techniques they're designed to encourage. "We're practicing what we preach, and it's working," says Gina Woodcraft. "We send out regular flyers about the marketing grants that are creative, colourful and innovative. No two look the same, but the message is always consistent: that successful diversification into farm-based tourism is largely dependent on how you present and market yourself. The results speak for themselves."

Rural tourism is an area of major growth and opportunity for Cornish farmers and landowners, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a unique countryside experience

Cartwheel has a fund of £2 million to allocate for rural marketing activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly over the next two years. It has already helped more than 300 farm businesses with grants of between £300 and £50,000, and welcomes enquiries from existing rural tourism businesses looking to expand and develop, as well as new 'start-ups'. Examples of eligible businesses range from farm shops, cafes and restaurants to farm accommodation and entertainment activities, and can include joint-promotion collaborations between two or more rural enterprises.

The main criteria for eligibility are that your project is based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly; you manage at least five acres of land; have an annual agricultural turnover of £1,500 or more, and are a member of Cartwheel or Cornish Farm Holidays.

"So many land-based businesses are having to diversify to survive," continues Gina Woodcraft. "Rural tourism is a major growth area and presents a fantastic opportunity for farmers here in Cornwall, if it's done well. By part-funding professional support services like PR and design, the marketing grants scheme will help give enterprises the polish and pizzazz to compete and succeed."

With the November marketing clinics already fully booked up, Cornish farmers and landowners are being invited to pre-book a marketing consultation with Cartwheel at its following session on Tuesday, 2 December at Lanhydrock Golf Club near Bodmin by calling Sue McCormick on 01392 877842.

For more general information about the Rural Tourism Marketing Grants scheme visit www.farmtourism.co.uk, email grants@cartwheel.org.uk or call 01392 877842.

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Editor's notes:

For more press information please contact Gina Woodcraft or Sue McCormick at the Cartwheel office on 01392 877842, or mobile 07885 951931.

Cartwheel administers the Objective One funded Rural Tourism Marketing Grants scheme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The scheme can invest up to 50% to fund projects with a total value of up to £100,000.

Projects with a total value of less than £3,000 can be dealt with through the 'fast track' process, providing a response within two weeks. Larger grant applications take between four and six weeks to process.

Cartwheel is the South West of England's leading farm and rural holiday company, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a unique countryside experience. It is a private sector limited company run by farmers and part funded by the European Union, EAGGF and DEFRA.

All Cartwheel members are independently inspected according to the company's quality criteria which encompasses accommodation, local food, green tourism and sustainable land management

Veronica Newport
npr
Tel: 01363 866927
Fax: 01363 866093
Mob: 07808 06305

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Jason Clark
Communications Adviser
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
objectiveone@cornwall.gov.uk

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