A RIDING stables has been given a boost after receiving one of the region's first foot-and-mouth recovery grants.

Eleanor Anderson, of Norwood Stables, in Ramshaw, near Etherley, County Durham, has been given a £6,000 grant from the Business Recovery fund after her stables was dealt a heavy blow by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

As County Durham farms fell victim to the epidemic, Eleanor saw the successful livery and training yard that she had built up shattered by Government restrictions.

But then she heard of the recovery grants for non-agricultural businesses, from Wear Valley Development Agency, which helped her apply for the money.

The agency, based at South Church Enterprise Park, near Bishop Auckland, helped Eleanor realise her ambition to set up the livery four years ago, when she was made redundant from the Ministry of Defence.

Business Link County Durham submitted her grant application to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which administers the money.

With the grant, Eleanor is expanding the training yard and plans to build an all- weather school and horse walker.

Geraldine Pinder, chief executive of the development agency urged businesses hit badly by the outbreak to apply for the grants.

She said: "This latest round of assistance is of great importance in the district. It enables businesses to, perhaps, re-think expansion plans, consider some form of diversification, new products, new ways of doing things and in many cases simply re-establishing the business."