Pampered pets provide farm with
A new five star kennelling facility for dogs and cats across
the region is preparing to open its doors thanks to enterprising
sheep farmers Richard and Barbara Bennett. Lower Norton Farm
Kennels & Cattery is a farm diversification scheme, near
Stoke Climsland, which has been given a lead by Business Link
Devon and Cornwall and received investment via two Objective
One delegated investment schemes.
The new purpose built luxury kennels and cattery, which boards
up to 25 dogs and 20 cats, are the result of four years of
business planning following the foot and mouth outbreak back
in 2001. Barbara Bennett comments: "We lost 700 sheep
in the foot and mouth outbreak, through welfare, which wiped
out our seasons lamb sales and ultimately our farm income.
It was at that point we decided to diversify to ensure our
livelihood on the farm was more sustainable.”
Barbara has previous kennelling experience and thought an
opportunity existed that could complement the sheep farming
year. She started by researching a wide range of kennels in
Bristol to find out what worked and what type of facilities
were available in East Cornwall. Although she now believes
market provision in the district is probably reaching saturation
she identified that no one was catering for the luxury end
of the pooch and puss boarding market. "Once we decided
we wanted to provide the very best in pet care and facilities
we refused to compromise on the quality, specification and
size of kennels,” says Barbara.
The results are evident. The kennels are all over 54 square
feet providing an exercise run and separate sleeping accommodation
with under floor heating. Whilst each cat has its own 'cat
nap' box, complete with under bed heating and cat flap leading
out to a two level run. Additionally there are larger and
interconnecting units to enable family pets to stay together.
The Bennett's received advice from Business Link Devon and
Cornwall and 50% investment from the Rural Business Support
Initiative towards their planning process whilst the Rural
Diversification Capital Grant Initiative assisted them with
business planning and 25% of their capital development costs.
The schemes are designed to enable farmers to review their
on farm business activities and resources to identify new
income sources to ensure the farm is sustainable. This theme
is reflected by planning authorities as the planning consent
has a 106 obligation, which ensures the kennels are totally
integrated within the farm operations.
Marilyn Pryor, Business Link's contract manager for the Rural
Diversification Capital Grant Initiative said: "The
Bennett’s reviewed their skills, resources on the farm and
their passion for dogs and cats to develop a complementary
new income source for the farm and once underway the project
should be supporting both a full time and two part time positions.
This is an excellent example of farm diversification where
the new business complements the farming business.”
Barbara says: "Business Link have supported us throughout
the project and when we submitted our claims we received their
contribution in less than ten days, which has not only helped
us proceed with the project but has ensured we have had no
cash flow concerns.”
The Bennett's planning and hard work is already well on track
with occupancy for their first month of trading in June already
at 20%. They are planning on a busy summer caring for other
people's beloved pets.
For further information contact Carolyn Daw of The Marketing-PR
Company Ltd on 01566 771863 or email: email@example.com.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall
and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Diversification
Capital Grant Initiative and the Rural Business Support Initiative
through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439
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