DEFRA have recently announced £110 million funding, as part of the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). The fund aims to support rural businesses with capital investment to improve productivity and to strengthen the rural economy and communities. It could be used to support either existing or new businesses to develop new products or facilities in areas with a population of less than 10,000.
The fund opens in April 2023 and projects will run until March 2025. It is advisable to start considering projects and putting together proposals now. The best projects will meet the objectives, be a good value for money and additionally and will engage with the rural community.
Case Studies include:
- Supporting Rural Businesses – Farm Diversification for a glamping site
A former LEADER farm diversification project received £15,500 for glamping facilities. This capitalised on the growing demand for tourism in natural locations. It led to extra business for local pubs, restaurants, and rural tourist attractions. It also had positive environmental impacts, showing visitors the local wildlife. The accommodation was low impact, using renewable energy and tents made from natural materials. The new stream of income meant the farm employed seasonal workers, supporting the local economy.
- Supporting Rural Communities – Modernising cricket club
A former LEADER project provided £11,500 funding to modernise a cricket club’s facilities. It funded new facilities for sporting and social events. The grant also helped to furnish and equip the new hall and buy staging and a bar area for events. This led to more event bookings and employment of a manager and part-time bar and catering staff.
- Expanding Businesses
A former Growth Programme project received funding of £40,000. This funded new machinery to meet increasing demand. The furniture making business increased in-house manufacturing and gained new contracts. This led to the creation of 2-3 full-time equivalent jobs.
It is important to note that funding under this grant will not be available if you have received previous support from the Farming in Protect Landscapes Programme, Farming Investment Fund or the Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Improvement.
If the above sounds of interest or you would like to discuss any farm diversification and business expansion opportunities, please contact one of our team members.