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27.02.06
Farm diversification project is cool for cats

Investment, advice and support from Business Link Devon and Cornwall has enabled a Cornish small holder to set up a successful diversification project. Andrea Foster has opened the doors of a five star boarding cattery at her home in Launceston.

She has created a purpose built luxury cattery which provides feline pets with a bit of home comfort while their owners are away. The PVC cat chalets are a cut above the usual boarding accommodation, containing penthouse sleeping units complete with radiators, duvets, fleeces and cat toys.

Andrea, who is also a qualified veterinary nurse, explained that she'd been considering the idea for a while: "I first thought about starting the cattery years ago as I wanted to find a way I could make a living from home and there was a real need to diversify because the small holding wasn't bringing in the level of income I needed. Then a friend of mine mentioned the diversification grant initiative and I got in touch with Business Link.

"They've really supported me throughout the whole process, there was always someone to talk to, and they provided help with even the basic things like form filling. Starting a new business can be a bit of a maze and when I realised I had to submit a business plan I didn't know where to start but Business Link even helped me find a brilliant financial consultant – who drew the whole thing up for me!"

The cattery opened for business last month and has a license to house up to 25 cats at a time. Because Andrea is a qualified veterinary nurse she is also well equipped to deal with older cats, animals that are taking medication or have a medical condition.

Marilyn Pryor, Business Link's Rural Diversification Capital Grant contract manager said: "Lovaton Cattery is a great example of a diversification project which runs happily side by side with the already existing business. The cattery has provided a specialist extension of the work Andrea was already carrying out looking after the animals on the smallholding.

"Many people, just like Andrea, have a very good business idea fully formed in their heads but just don't know how to get it off the ground. Giving Business Link Devon and Cornwall a call is a great start – we can give you the initial advice you need to put your ideas in motion and put you in touch with possible sources of investment or other organisations that can help take your enterprise onto the next level."

More information about Lovaton Cattery can be found at www.lovatoncattery.co.uk or by calling 01566 779181.

For further information please contact press officer Maxine McAdams on 01566 771862 or email: mmcadams@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Maria Ford, at Government Office South West - 01752 635015 - before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

The Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative helps farms and other rural related businesses to diversify their commercial activities through a combination of grants and advice.

It is one of the support schemes aimed at helping rural and land based businesses across Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and administered by the Business Link Agricultural Team. Others include:

• Cornwall Food and Drink Partnership scheme
• Rural Business Support Initiative
• Rural Enterprise Gateway (South West)
• Rural Enterprise Facilitation Scheme
• Rural Directory

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA.

Business Link has received Objective One investment (European Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and grow.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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