• HM Gov
  • BIG
  • CDC
  • EURF
Funding for business development projects in Cornwall
  • HM Gov
  • BIG
  • CDC
  • EURF
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Funding for busines development projects in Cornwall

Social enterprise Via Ferrata Cornwall benefits from BIG funding

The family adventure centre, part of charity BF Adventure, has received a £36k grant from the BIG Productivity fund.

Cornish charity BF Adventure has launched a new commercial venture that will not only bring in additional income but offer a new adventure for thrill-seekers in Cornwall, thanks to a £36,358 grant from the BIG Productivity fund.

Via Ferrata Cornwall, the trading subsidiary of BF Adventure, offers a truly unique experience for visitors to Cornwall. The family adventure centre sees participants climbing, traversing cliff faces, crossing high-wire bridges, zip lining and taking on challenges. The centre opened to the public for the first time in July.

 Situated on the same 60-acre site, near Penryn, as BF Adventure, Via Ferrata Cornwall, Italian for ‘iron path’, has received excellent feedback and great footfall with more than 1,500 people tackling the course since its launch.

BF Adventure has been operating for more than 30 years. Through its outdoor education centre complete with four water-filled quarries, the charity uses the outdoors to support disadvantaged young people. It aims to engage young people, helping to motivate and improve their lives through building confidence, teaching life skills, problem solving and achieving a range of qualifications.

Adrian Richards, Chief Executive of BF Adventure, said: “Via Ferrata Cornwall is new to us and we wanted to create a unique, strong offering for the tourism adventure market in order to make a profit, which we can plough back into our charitable endeavours. We are tuned into the regional business networking organisations and learned about BIG Productivity through that.”

BIG Productivity is a £3.1m fund that offers grants from £2,500 up to £150,000 to qualifying small and medium-sized businesses in Cornwall to boost their productivity.

BIG Productivity is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme, and is delivered by Cornwall Development Company. It aims to help 175 local businesses become more productive and create 175 new jobs in the Cornish economy.

Via Ferrata Cornwall was supported in their application by Access to Finance, another ERDF-funded project, which is delivered by Oxford Innovation. It also received initial funding from Resonance, a Bristol-based social investment tax relief fund.

“Via Ferrata Cornwall was a unique investment for BIG Productivity and the funding has allowed us to push ahead with the purpose-built course, supported the creation of two full-time roles for the team and help us to promote our offering through marketing channels,” added Adrian. “Without the investment we would have had to dial back the project or even put it on hold.

“Although opening during a pandemic has brought its challenges, it has proven to be a huge success so far. We can offer a shared experience for families that is outdoors and Covid-19 safe.

“Via Ferrata Cornwall, and the funding we have received, will allow us to support the sustainability of our charity and the 4,000 young people who benefit from it each year. This funding has been a game changer for us, it has made a real difference and we are so grateful.”

Anna Staevska, BIG Productivity’s programme manager, said: “BF Adventure is a long-standing Cornish charity, with a true commitment to educating and improving the lives of young people. Through our funding, it has been able to get its exciting new venture, Via Ferrata Cornwall, off the ground, which will provide income for the charity for years to come as well as offering a thrilling new destination in Cornwall for would-be adventurers.”

Find out more and apply for BIG2 funding by clicking here: APPLY HERE