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An organic, family-run farm in Rutland has received £52,000 towards building a campsite thanks to the LEADER funding programme facilitated by Opportunity Peterborough with support from Rutland County Council.
Cuckoo Farm near Ketton is run and owned by the Taylor family who rear organic Christmas turkeys, pigs, sheep and deer on over 100 acres of farmland.
It is hoped the campsite will open to visitors at the beginning of April 2019 for seasonal use between Easter and the end of September. The site will have up to 50 pitches available for tents and campervans.
The idea for a campsite came from the owners’ son, Roland Taylor, and his wife, Rebecca, who are both camping enthusiasts. Roland said, “We want to give a really unique and engaging experience for visitors, so on top of the fantastic views across Rutland, we want to incorporate the farm into their stay and make it really social.
“Our children get so excited when they’re interacting with the animals and we’d love to give others that experience; to see where their food comes from, better understand the food chain, and what life is like on an organic farm.
“Thanks to the LEADER grant we can put the infrastructure in place for the campsite much sooner. We need to put in sufficient electricity supply for campervans and are constructing an outdoor facility for showers and toilets which uses rainwater harvesting for grey water and air source heat pumps for heating the water. Plus, we’re creating a new road to make it easier for visitors to access the farm, national footpaths and cycle routes.”
LEADER grants aim to boost the rural economy, from supporting tourism and small business growth to aiding the development of agriculture, farm diversification and forestry. Across rural Peterborough and Rutland, the £1.3 million funding programme is being delivered by Opportunity Peterborough with support from Rutland County Council.
Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough said, “Supporting farm diversification is one of the core aims of the LEADER funding programme and we’re proud to be giving support to Cuckoo Farm. At a time when farms are facing a huge number of challenges, diversification offers opportunities to better fund their core operations, and in Cuckoo Farm’s case, also enrich local tourism.”
This work is supported by a Local Action Group (LAG) made up of 14 local volunteers from a variety of sectors and professions. The LAG approves funding for projects with the aim of improving the overall prosperity of the area.
Dennis Stanley, Chair of the LAG said, “Projects like this are really important in shaping public perceptions and understanding of farming – it’s a hive of activity that often goes unseen. We’re delighted to support Cuckoo Farm in bringing the ‘farm to fork’ journey to life and giving visitors more opportunities to enjoy the scenic countryside.”
Cllr Oliver Hemsley, Leader of Rutland County Council added, “As a rural county, farming plays a crucial role in Rutland’s economy so we’re extremely pleased to see funding awarded to a project that supports sustainability through diversification. The new campsite will also be a positive addition to Rutland’s tourism industry – encouraging more people to visit the county, stay longer and appreciate everything we have to offer.”