HUNDRED of businesses from across Lancashire have taken part in a government backed programme aimed at sharing knowledge and skills.

The Peer Networks programme aims to bring together owners and managers in a series of structured virtual sessions to help them learn from each other.

One such business owner, of the 320 to take part so far, has been Dot McCarthy, from Cronkshaw Fold Farm in Rossendale who is currently offering goats from her farm for hire on video calls for a fee.

She said: “We had an idea that we could film or show the animals with a note, for things like a gender reveal.

"It probably would have stayed on the backburner but through Peer Networks I met somebody with a background in animal nutrition.

“I shared the concept about the goats eating edible vegan paper with a message.

"With her knowledge and experience we have now launched this and we’re receiving a lot of enquiries.”

Ms McCarthy has made more than £50,000 through offering the service for business or personal calls during the Covid-19 pandemic and has received support through Peer Networks to expand the virtual service.

She is now using animals on her farm to deliver video messages using edible paper.

Peer Networks was funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and led locally by Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub running between October 2020 and March this year.

Ms McCarthy's group was facilitated by Northern Power Women and brought together female business leaders from a range of industries in Lancashire.

It was one of 34 Peer Networks cohorts funded through the initiative with each cohort made up of 8-11 Lancashire business leaders.

The government has also now announced funding for a further 26 Peer Networks cohorts to run from July 2021 to March 2022.

Lancashire companies can register their interest by calling 0800 488 0057.

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