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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 02:56 GMT 03:56 UK
Beauty spas 'can aid countryside'
Woman receiving beauty treatment
There has been a boom in beauty spas
Analysts say Britain's rural economy could receive a significant boost from the boom in beauty salons and spas.

Rural businesses could exploit gaps in the market, catering for people who can't afford a luxury health spa, said a BBC Radio 4 Farming Today report.

The sector is growing by 11% a year and the amount spent on pampering is expected to top 1bn in 2005.

The findings came as a new beauty spa opened for business on a working organic dairy farm in County Durham.

The spa in the North East is the latest in a series of government-funded beauty industry projects.

Services being set up by enterprising farmers and their families range from homeopathy to hairdressing.

'Key goals'

Broom Hill Farm's scheme was helped along by a 58,000 grant from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said owner Jill Cheesmond.

The family put together their business proposal after their brother was forced to leave the beleaguered business and set up a farm in Canada.

An old swimming pool that had not been used since the foot-and-mouth outbreak was refurbished, as well as other farm buildings.

"My dad is an engineer by trade, and my partner is a builder. We used a farm services company for all the electrics and plumbing.

"We tried to keep all the work as local and within the farming industry as possible," she said.

A Defra spokesman said the department supports any enterprise that contributes to a sustainable rural economy.

"That's one of our key goals," he said.

Industry experts have said health and beauty is a natural extension of the tourist and leisure industries that now drive the rural economy in many parts of the UK.

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12 Feb 04  |  Scotland



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