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Demonstrating how 'real life' solutions are making a real difference to the quality of life in rural areas can be very powerful. The case studies below have been compiled to offer you a greater insight into what works in engaging rural communities through sport and recreation. The case studies demonstrate some generic success factors, including; a commitment to sharing resources, a multi-activity approach, a commitment to investing in people as well as places and innovative in approach.

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west lodge rural centre

Location & Issues

Desborough Northants

The owner of the land was trying to discover a more effective way of using the land and gaining more business.

Main Partners

  • Edward Dee – Family member of the land ownership
  • DEFRA– RES Scheme

Project Description

A 40% Rural Enterprise Scheme grant of over £190,000 was awarded to Mr Edward Dee of West Lodge Rural Centre, to help provide a children’s day nursery and restaurant to compliment the existing open farm enterprise.

The Dee family farms a 525-acre arable enterprise and have been running a successful open farm centre since 1996. The open farm provides a recreational and educational facility for 45,000 tourists, day visitors and schools per year with facilities on offer including:

  • Working farm with rare breeds and small animal section
  • Nature trails through 60 acres of woodland and redundant quarries
  • Children’s play areas, family picnic facilities and demonstration of rural activities
  • Tea room and souvenir shop
  • Thriving cricket club with 3 teams and growing junior section

The impetus for the project came from a new development of 1000 homes within walking distance of the centre increasing the need for local childcare facilities.

Project Outcomes

The nursery opened in January 2003 and now caters for 67 registered children and infants from the local community, who will also use the existing facilities at West Lodge. The 100 seat capacity restaurant will enlarge the current tea room space and the building works should be completed by October 2003.

The entire centre provides income for over 20 employees with this project creating 11 new jobs (the majority created in the nursery).

The farm is involved in many social and environmental projects including the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, East Midlands Bio Diversity Scheme, Rural Transport Partnership and Farms for Schools.

Further Details

Project Officer: Edward Dee
Telephone: 01536 760552
Email: eddee@westlodgeruralfarmpark.co.uk