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News article  2004-05-01 - Sheffield news reports in local press.

Original articles appeared in the Sheffield Star and Sheffield Telgraph in May 2004

Leaders of the pacs

Not everyone is lucky enough to turn their hobby into a viable business, but for Mayfield Alpacas at Ringinglow, Sheffield, the dream has become a reality with the help of Business Link South Yorkshire's Rural Business Growth Programme, funded by the EU and Defra.

Husband and wife team, Elaine and Nigel Sharp brought alpacas to their home in the Mayfield Valley as a hobby. When the prospect arose to purchase nearby farmland they recognised the opportunity to create a viable farming business.

"We love living in the countryside," said Nigel. "And our Alpacas began catching the eye of passers-by, keen to know more. Our own interest in the animals developed and we saw the opportunity to produce high quality breeding stock to help build the Alpaca as an animal capable of producing fleece on a commercial scale in the UK.

"Business Link South Yorkshire provided invaluable help and support in developing the rural tourism potential through the Rural Business Growth Programme. With around 25,000 of funding we were able to get the business off the ground as well as creating a website to give us an online presence. "Unsurprisingly the alpacas, now based in an authentic farm setting have started to attract even more attention from the general public and we are coping with a steady stream of visitors to the farm.

Sales of alpacas are growing and Nigel and Elaine are very happy to see people who might be interested in breeding alpacas, owning alpacas or those curious to learn more about these immigrants from South America.

"The business was well suited to the Rural Business Growth Programme, which is designed to support diversification in farming and tourism in rural areas," said Wayne Page, Farm Business Adviser with Business Link South Yorkshire.

Rural Business Growth programme details : 0800-0737474 email:

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