FAMILY illness is the inspiration behind a new business venture based on a farm.

Katy Tate has swapped her career in marketing to launch a new massage therapy business and hopes to create a new retreat space at Littlemoor Farm, her family's farm in Toft Hill, near Bishop Auckland.

After seeing her dad reap the benefits of massage following a stroke, and having already lost her grandad to a stroke, Mrs Tate changed her career to become a massage therapist in hopes of helping others.

The 32-year-old said: “In 2013, my dad sadly suffered a life-changing stroke, losing his sight and stability.

“Having been a farmer all his life, he found this really hard to deal with as he was no longer able to do the job he loved or drive.

“During his time in hospital a volunteer offered him an Indian head massage, and he swore it helped him and relieved his symptoms, so I decided to go back to college.

The Northern Echo: Katy Tate at Littlemoor Farm in Toft Hill, near Bishop AucklandKaty Tate at Littlemoor Farm in Toft Hill, near Bishop Auckland

“Over the past six years it’s been a bit of a hobby, but after my dad started to suffer further ill health last year, I wanted to be able to support him and my mum, who is his full time carer, and the idea for The Little Farm Retreat was born.

“I’m currently operating on a mobile basis but hoping to diversify a part of our family farm to create a retreat space designed for people who have suffered from brain injuries or strokes.

“This has been a complete change for me, from marketing to massages, but it’s something deep down I’ve always been really interested in and passionate about since my dad’s stroke.

“It’s given me the opportunity to be at the farm more, be with my family and is helping other people feel good too.”

After setting up her mobile business in January, Mrs Tate entered the Natwest competition Back Her Business – Bring it 2020.

She said: “I was successful in the first stage and invited to launch my project on CrowdFunderUK where if I could raise £450, Natwest would give me £500 to help fund The Little Retreat on the Farm.

“I sort of imagined hitting that target in week three or four, but I managed it on day two and have now been awarded the £500!

“I’m now trying to reach my next target of £3500 and am in the running for the competition of which one of the prizes is £10,000!”

Mrs Tate aims to create an accessible, eco-friendly spa experience at the farm which is suitable for all, but designed specifically with disabled people in mind.

The mum of two said: “I have in the past visited spas with my mum and wondered if it was her who was in my dad’s shoes, how would she be able to enjoy the facilities?

“I’d love to be able to turn something which has been quite a bad experience into something positive and utilise the farm which I grew up on.”

To support Mrs Tate’s venture or find out more about the campaign, visit

Those who donate will be rewarded with treatments, vouchers, prizes and freebies.

To book an appointment, visit