Rural funding still available

Rural businesses and communities are reminded that there is still time to apply for funding under the Rural Development Plan for England.

Two new grant funds have been launched under the Countryside Productivity Scheme.

The Improving Farm Productivity grant has an application deadline of 3 December 2018. It seeks to fund projects that can be completed by 31 December 2020.

This grant covers funding for that help improve farm productivity – including the use of robotic equipment and systems

The Adding Value to Agri-Food grant has an application deadline of 29 June 2018 for expressions of interest. It seeks to fund projects that can be completed by December 2020.

These grants aim to improve the processing of primary agricultural products to shorten supply chains and deliver benefits to primary producers.

Grant funding can help pay for equipment and machinery or constructing or improving buildings associated with all aspects of processing.

Some rural local authorities also have funding available under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) delivered via Defra.

Almost £3m of funding has been allocated to rural businesses in Norfolk and north Suffolk through an initiative managed by Norfolk County Council.

The Local Action Groups (LAGs) deliver the funding under the ‘LEADER’ approach, which decentralises the decision to support the rural economy at a local level.

The LAGs comprise representatives from businesses, community organisations and public authorities, and aim to help micro and small businesses and community organisations.

Cllr Keith Kiddie, Chair of Norfolk County Council’s Business and Property Committee, said: “It is imperative that we take advantage of the opportunity this LEADER funding presents.

“A wide variety of projects have been funded so far and it’s always worth an initial discussion with your Local Action Group to see if your project idea may be eligible.

Eligible projects need to deliver against the priorities set out for each respective LAG area

They must broadly support one farm productivity, small businesses, rural tourism, rural services; cultural and heritage activity or forestry.

Funding has been guaranteed by the government for projects contracted by 29 March 2019.


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.