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Six figure investment for diversifying farming business

29th January 2014

One of the Ribble Valley’s most successful and diverse agricultural businesses is looking ahead to growth in 2014, having made a significant six figure investment in its corporate training and events businesses with support from Yorkshire Bank.

Clough Bottom Farm near Clitheroe has invested more than £400,000 in the redevelopment and expansion of its ‘Out Barn’ to create a new state-of-the-art, 3,350 square feet venue for its corporate training business, Focus Experiential Training.

The deal was arranged by Tim Milne-Redhead, Agribusiness Relationship Manager at Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Preston.

Constructed to the highest possible sustainability standards, the 17th century barn which sits on the 360 acre working farm and boasts uninterrupted views of Lancashire’s iconic Pendle Hill, can also be hired for weddings, private functions and business conferences.

Established by husband and wife Harry and Jane Backhouse in 1991, Focus Experiential Training specialises in the delivery of bespoke management development, organisational change, leadership and team building training for a range of organisations, from SMEs to FTSE 250 companies.

David Hannon, Head of Agribusiness for Yorkshire Bank, said:

“The success of Clough Bottom Farm is a testament to the experience, drive and expertise of Harry and Jane, and represents all that is good about the entrepreneurial spirit of Lancashire’s agricultural businesses.
“As we begin to see signs of economic recovery, Yorkshire Bank remains focused on investing in the growth ambitions of the region’s farmers.”

Originally a traditional livestock farm, during the past thirty years the couple have transformed Clough Bottom into a diverse operation which now includes a tree nursery and property letting business.

The business has also championed sustainability with investments in a biomass boiler and water bore hole to supply heat and water to the site’s eight properties, and the planting of new woodland and hedgerows to create wildlife corridors. 

Harry Backhouse, Owner of Clough Bottom Farm, said:

“I am no stranger to diversification projects as our farm has diversified many times over the last 30 years. I have strong beliefs regarding renewable energies, recycling and sustainability coupled with business growth.

“I would like to think the farm and all its businesses are now in an economically much stronger, more attractive, less polluting and more environmentally friendly position than they were when I bought it.

“I am constantly looking to improve the efficiencies of the overall business without compromising our green credentials, after all, the farm has to strive for excellence and to continue for future generations, It doesn’t stop with us!”

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