THE success of a farmer's 'Goats on Zoom' initiative could the the blueprint for a borough's recovery from coronavirus.

The innovative response to the Covid-19 crisis of Dot McCarthy, the owner of Cronkshaw Fold Farm in Rossendale, is highlighted in a council document.

The scheme where has people can join virtual conference calls with the goats at the Alden Valley business has netted the owners more than £50,000 and worldwide fame.

Rossendale Council’s 'Covid-19 Economic Recovery Action Plan 2020 – 2022' says this type of creativity could be the key to a post-pandemic future.

The document says: "Businesses have used the pandemic to create opportunities like changing their service and offering online activity, entering new markets and varying their business model, introducing new technology and diversifying to support recovery.

"Entrepreneurs have emerged in Rossendale, such as the “Goats on Zoom” phenomenon that has gained international coverage and we recognise it will be creativity like this and entrepreneurship that takes a forward role as the markets adjust to the new environment post Covid-19."

The report reveals that: "For 82 per cent of Rossendale businesses Covid-19 has had a significant effect. Two thirds have seen at least a 25 per cent reduction in their annual turnover this year.

"Businesses employing less than five staff have been notably affected."

It says continued investment in Rawtenstall, Bacup and Haslingden town centre is vital to any future recovery.

The report also highlights the need for a new Rossendale to Manchester rail link and improvements to the M66/A56 road corridor.

It says: "Our three distinct town centres form the backbone of our borough.

"Rawtenstall has benefitted from a surge in popularity and growth in recent years and we want to hold this up as a template for the rest of the borough.

"Rawtenstall didn’t grow overnight, it took investment in the town, its regeneration project and work to build up its reputation to attract unique businesses to get there.

"Infrastructure planning remains a top priority

"This includes developing a Strategic Outline Business Case for a commuter rail link from Rawtenstall to Manchester as well as continuing to lobby for improvements to the A56/M66.

"Rossendale also benefits from a spectacular natural landscape and we will look to realise the untapped potential of our surroundings."

Cllr Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council said: "We are setting out measures we intend to take over the next 12 months and beyond to ensure we have a strong springboard to our return to pre-pandemic levels of success."