Time to act on grants to boost rural growth
DEFRA has opened a new round of the Rural Development Growth Programme for England.
Initial expression of interest applications opened on Monday and will run until February 16.
At present, the Government has confirmed that £35 million of funding has been allocated which could be increased to £50 million, if there are enough high quality applications.
The three grant types available are:
• The Business Development Grant, open to all small rural businesses including farmers who are looking to diversify, on costs such as construction or improving buildings, buying new equipment and machinery.
• Food Processing Grant, open to food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products. Grants are available that help businesses grow and create more jobs together with grants that can help with the construction and improvement of businesses and the buying of new equipment and machinery to improve efficiency and create jobs in the food processing sector.
• The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Grants, available to help fund the cost of capital expenditure on improving infrastructure for tourism facilities, supporting projects which encourage more tourists to come, stay longer and spend more time in the rural areas.
The minimum grant available under these schemes is £20,000 with a grant covering up to 40 per cent of eligible project costs, with a maximum grant being £175,000.
Examples of previous successful applications include potato stores, timber drying stores, log processing machinery and equipment, conversion of barns for holiday accommodation and new glamping enterprises to include expansion of facilities on site for tourists.
As demand is likely to be high, we advise that the sooner expressions of interest are submitted, the more likely you will be able to achieve a successful application.
If you are considering diversifying into a new enterprise, or expanding your existing enterprise, now is the time to act.
Paul Madeley, Madeleys Chartered Surveyors director and founder.
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