Tuesday, 01 November 2016 10:13

Funding for rural projects in Norfolk

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Funding for rural projects in Norfolk

RURAL businesses will continue to benefit from a £9m European funding initiative managed by Norfolk County Council.

The funding is from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) delivered via the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In the UK, this fund is managed by the Rural Payments Agency and distributed via the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

Local Action Groups (LAGs) deliver the funding under the 'Leader' approach, allowing the partnership to support the rural economy at a local level.

Stuart Clancy, chairman of Norfolk County Council's economic sub-committee, said: "The Leader programme is very important in helping to stimulate the region's rural economy."

Councillor Clancy added: "All approved projects will be fully funded, even if they continue beyond the UK's departure from the EU."

The LAG is made up of representatives from businesses, community organisations and public authorities, to create and sustain employment within the respective LAG area.

The Rural Payments Agency will still have responsibility for the allocation of RDPE funds and has applied two conditions to future funding.

These conditions state that projects must continue to provide good value for money, and must be in line with domestic policies.

Further confirmation is expected of specific arrangements for the Leader programme in due course, but it is not expected that changes in conditions will disrupt committed projects.

It is expected that all projects currently working through the application process will be guaranteed payment if they receive approval.

Andy Thorpe, Norfolk County Council's Local Action Group Manager, said: "We have had a good first year despite disruptions to delivery of the programme since June's Brexit vote.

"We have the green light to carry on, and want to see more projects coming forward so that we allocate 100% of our grant funding."

Some £692,463 has been awarded to 18 rural businesses in Norfolk and north Suffolk since the Leader programme started in November 2015

There is more funding available for projects as the total funding available is £9m.

Rural businesses, including those involved in agriculture and forestry as well as rural community organisations, can find out more at www.norfolklags.co.uk.

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