The government has given £60,000 to a farming family to help them set up a new riding centre.

The money is a DEFRA grant and forms part of the Rural Enterprise Scheme. It is hoped that the award will allow Brooklands Farm to secure existing jobs, as well as creating new employment opportunities.

The scheme includes building livery stables, including some for competition livery, a cross-country course, and an outdoor schooling arena, with plans eventually to provide other services from dog grooming to physiotherapy.

John Towson, recipient of the grant and owner of Brookhouse Farm, says: “The facilities will be attractive to all animal owners, and will give us opportunities to pass on our years of knowledge and experience, at the same time diversifying the family farm business.”

Lord Whitty, Minster for Food and Farming at DEFRA, said: “DEFRA is keen to help enterprising farmers and landowners. Brookhouse Farm is a great example of successful diversification, which helps to bring jobs and money into the rural economy.”

A total of £152 million of EU and Government money is being made available under these schemes in England until 2006. The scheme is available throughout England, except in designated Objective Areas such as Cornwall where separate funding schemes apply.