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Estates, Farms & Land

Adventure Valley – securing support for diversification

Many farming businesses are turning to diversification to provide additional income, we secured grant funding to help one client develop and expand their leisure business in surprising new ways.

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Consultant Ali Gray successfully secured grant funding to help them launch the attraction, and when the family decided to expand their business they asked Ali to work with them again.

Challenge

Successful first steps

The Calzini family launched their first farm diversification enterprise in 2010, opening Adventure Valley, a new visitor attraction. Consultant Ali Gray successfully secured grant funding to help them launch the attraction, and when the family decided to expand their business they asked Ali to work with them again.

Adventure Valley drew in around 75,000 visitors in its first year, and the numbers steadily increased, to reach around 150,000 visitors to the park in 2018. Ever increasing visitor numbers meant that the business was running at capacity during peak season – in the school holidays numbers could reach up to 30,000 during August alone. This put strain on the infrastructure and the staff and the visitor experience was affected by queuing.

Solution

Enabling growth

The owners had decided that to develop the business further and accommodate more visitors they would have to overcome the seasonality trend by providing more under-cover visitor attraction options to fill the quieter months of the year. They decided to extend the existing restaurant area and create a new indoor area with an inflatable assault course and other activities.

Through a separate arm of the business, they also wanted to establish a new specially built children’s nursery facility. This was driven by research that identified a lack of facilities to provide childcare in the Durham area. Given the specialist nature of designing, building and running such a facility, the client has formed a joint venture partnership with an existing provider of children’s care facilities.

GSC Grays were tasked with producing 2 grant applications, to support the development of Adventure Valley and a separate application for funding to create a purpose built 100-place children’s nursery.

Outcome

Funding to future-proof the business

Both applications were successful. For Adventure Valley, GSC Grays secured 40% funding on total costs of £305,000, equating to £122,000 worth of grant. This grant will enable the business to create 6 further full-time jobs and accommodate up to 165,000 visitors, which will significantly increase the revenue in the quieter shoulder months.

We also succeeded in gaining £174,000 of funding for the construction and establishment of the new nursery, equating to 39% of total costs for the project. This new venture created 25 new full-time job opportunities, and the nursery acheived 100% occupancy by year 3.

The development of the original diversification enterprise and the establishment of a second new business on the holding broadened and strengthened the income that the family received from what began as a small family farm.

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