A multi-award-winning working farm park in Lincolnshire is expanding into new areas and has plans for further growth, with support from Clydesdale Bank.
Rand Farm Park, in the village of Rand between Lincoln and Wragby, was established in 1996 by husband and wife team Richard and Kay Waring. As well as being a popular visitor attraction for families, it also provides hands-on educational experiences for school pupils both on day visits and longer residential courses.
The business is a new customer to Clydesdale Bank, which has provided a funding arrangement of £950k. This finance package has enabled the business to create a purpose-built facility which allows it to offer an expanded range of certified animal care courses for students attending nearby Lincoln College. It has also assisted the business in the purchase of new play equipment. The deal was managed by Michael Pickles, relationship manager at Clydesdale Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Lincoln.
News of its most recent expansion comes as the working farm park looks towards its 20th year in business and saw more than 100,000 visitors come through its gates last year. The business, which employs 15 full time and 25 part time staff, is open 362 days a year.
As well as offering a wide variety of animals that children can hold and feed, Rand Farm Park also has a large outdoor adventure playground with tractor and trailer rides available, indoor heated play areas, a spacious tearoom seating up to 150 and a coffee ‘baa’ with space for up to 80 visitors. Children’s birthday parties are popular all year round.
Richard Waring, director at Rand Farm Park, said: "Our farm gives children the chance to get outside and play; broadening their horizons. Everyone learns much more using their hands and eyes, and as a working farm we provide high quality premises, access to a range of animals and expert knowledge on how best to care for them. Our visitors have a fun experience where they’ve learned something often without even realising it."
In the last four years Rand Farm Park has worked closely with Lincoln College to develop small animal care courses. This was initially offered just once a week but has since been extended to five days a week. The new facility which opened recently provides modern classroom facilities and opportunities to expand this offering further.
"We’re in a period of growth. Visitor numbers have gone up in the last year and we are expecting to increase the number of courses offered by the college at our new premises. We will undoubtedly look to add to our staffing levels in the coming months. As well as taking on full time teachers, we will definitely be looking to boost the number of part-time staff we have during the summer.
"The transition to Clydesdale Bank has been an amazingly smooth process. We see our bank as a partnership rather than a service. It’s a voice of experience when we’re looking at new ideas."
Michael Pickles, relationship manager at Clydesdale Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Lincoln, said:
"The decision to work with Richard and Kay Waring at Rand Farm Park was an easy one for Clydesdale Bank. They are really enthusiastic and not only have they proven a capability to continually innovate in their field but they have also become more and more successful each year."
Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks has strengthened its support for UK SMEs by becoming the first to partner with the British Business Bank under its ENABLE Guarantees scheme. Up to £125m of new lending by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, guaranteed by the British Business Bank, will help more small businesses achieve their growth ambitions.