Shining a light on rural and agricultural businesses that are the 'backbone of this borough' / Rachel Bayley, Burnley Place Brand Manager (Economy and Growth)

Do we take our rural economy for granted?

Last year, launched a series of videos to showcase some of the thriving sectors in Burnley. The first three were:* Digital and Creative* Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering* Logistics

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If you haven’t already seen them, please head to our YouTube channel – people have told us how they often didn’t have a clue about some of the amazing businesses in our borough, which is one of the reasons why the team do what we do.

Rachel Bayley, who is the Burnley Place Brand Manager (Economy and Growth) speaks about rural and agricultural businesses within the borough that many people are not even aware exist.

Twelve months later and we’re ready with our next batch – and the first one in our 2022 series is rural and agricultural.

We’re the first to admit that this isn’t a sector we have explored as much as our other ones. Why?

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Perhaps it’s because we love the fact we’re 80 per cent rural, but can sometimes focus on the incredible parks, historic halls, cycling routes and trails and forget that our land is home to an incredible array of businesses. Maybe we are so spoilt with driving through our countryside every day that we do indeed take it for granted?

Rural and agricultural businesses have been, in the words of our current mayor Cosima Towneley, the ‘backbone’ of our borough for centuries.

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Farms have kept people fed and resulted in livelihoods such as vets, drystone wall builders and abattoirs. Over the decades, as challenges arise, many rural and agricultural businesses have diversified to ensure their survival.

And here are some interesting facts you may not be aware of:*Equestrian businesses deliver £8 million to the local economy.*There are over 50 agricultural businesses in Burnley.*Thousands of jobs depend on this sector - including vets, butchers and more.*The South Pennines Park was formed in 2021.*We have some incredible diversification case studies, right here on our doorstep.

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One great example of diversification is HAPPA at Shores Hey Farm, a charity that provides a second chance to neglected, abused and unwanted equines. Many people may think that the charity is a rescue organisation only and, of course, that is an essential part of what it does.

But in order to grow and to reach out to as many people as possible with their education about equine care to try and prevent neglect further down the line, it’s had to diversify.

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Its café, for example, is in a beautiful modern glass building and serves delicious, very reasonably priced dishes that members of the public can enjoy even if not visiting the horses.

Children can take part in the 'Pony Club', giving them the educational and practical tools they need to become responsible equine owners. They also host children’s parties for horse and pony-mad children. All of these provide much-needed income streams to allow HAPPA to keep going.

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HAPPA is just one example of how Burnley’s rural and agricultural businesses have stepped up to the plate time and time again and we are proud to have them in our borough.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next video – education and training.