Wednesday, 02 December 2015 19:46

Rural funding boost for Staffordshire

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural funding boost for Staffordshire

MILLIONS of pounds in grants are available to boost businesses and create jobs in rural Staffordshire.

Some £2.25m is available over the next five years to develop projects which will deliver jobs and growth in Staffordshire's rural economy.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council's cabinet support member for Rural Issues, said: "Staffordshire is a predominantly rural county and it is home to a wide diversity of business and commerce.

"This grant scheme is aimed at supporting a wide range of businesses or new entrepreneurs who can see an opportunity to expand and create jobs and need a little help in getting their idea off the ground."

The Staffordshire LEADER programme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Delivered by the county council, grants can be for sums between £2,500 and £40,000 and can fund up to 40 per cent of the total project costs, though more can be awarded in exceptional circumstances.

Ms Heath added: "This is one of the largest LEADER programmes in England and it reflects both the importance of rural business and industry to Staffordshire's balanced economy."

The county council had a track record of ensuring that the millions of pounds of European funding we successfully bid for were wisely and effectively spent.

Priority will be given to job creation schemes and bids are expected in the following areas:

* Providing rural services
* Micro and small business support
* Rural tourism
* Increasing farm productivity
* Culture and heritage activities
* Forestry

Ms Heath said: "These grants are designed to reach the parts that others don't to create rural employment and I would urge businesses, or entrepreneurs with an idea, to get in touch.

"Support will be provided to anyone wishing to apply to the LEADER programme."

More information can be found at www.staffsleader.org.uk.

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