Monday, 31 August 2015 19:18

£8m fund available for rural tourism

Written by  Ruralcity Media
£8m fund available for rural tourism

The government has made a further £8m in funding available for rural tourism businesses.

Defra minister George Eustice said the funding would help businesses unlock the huge potential for growth in the countryside.

The money is being made available under the Growth Programme: grants for the rural economy programme.

Mr Eustice said he wanted to encourage funding applications from rural businesses looking to expand and promote tourism.

The money would provide a real boost for the rural economy in communities across the country, he said.

"From regional festivals to visitor farms, this new funding is set to give rural businesses a real boost by supporting projects that promote tourism, bring high-quality jobs to rural areas, and grow the local economy.

"With a further £8m available, existing or new rural entrepreneurs have the chance to unleash their full potential and I strongly encourage businesses from across the country to apply for the new funding."

Farms were the fastest growing tourist attraction in 2014, according to the government.

The new funding was an important opportunity for farmers looking to diversify their business and encourage tourism to farms across the country.

Mr Eustice said the new grants would build on the government's first ever Rural Productivity Plan which Defra says will "unleash rural productivity".

In doing so, the funding would ensure the countryside was an even more attractive place for people to live, work, start a business and bring up a family.

Grants also available under the scheme can help people expand and develop new food processing facilities.

Individual grants are worth upwards of £35,000 depending on the individual project and will now be offered in another 11 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas.

The programme is a competitive process and funding will be directly targeted at initiatives that will bring the biggest benefit for those local areas.

A further round of funding is expected in September when rural businesses in additional LEP areas will be able to apply for grants to help them support their local rural communities.

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