6 November 2015

L1.47 million of EU Grants Available To Local Businesses

The latest LEADER support programme, announced by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, will provide grants to small businesses, farmers, foresters and communities for projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy.

It reactivates the Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership, which through the previous four year LEADER Programme, supported 80 rural projects, created or protected over 90 full-time equivalent jobs, and led to just over £4 million being invested in small businesses and communities (including matched private sector funding).

Hamish Monro, Chairman of the WARR Partnership said, “Our Local Development Strategy recognises the diversity and potential of the rural businesses in Rother and Wealden. The latest LEADER programme builds on our previous success and adds value to our growth-orientated enterprises, while at the same time promoting the positive management of rural landscapes in this part of Sussex. LEADER is a proven example of how an area can help itself with sustainable business growth and we welcome the new Programme.”

Among the rural projects WARR supported through the previous LEADER programme were a mastectomy lingerie company, a microbrewery, a community radio station, a film company and a bed and breakfast  business offering holiday accommodation for horses and their riders.

Many involved  farm shops, holiday accommodation, forestry management and the  economic re-use of rural buildings.  “WARR has helped redirect money from the EU Common Agricultural Policy into countryside enterprises,  working with innovative businesses to counter the difficulties posed by a rural location,” said Councillor Roy Galley, Wealden District Council’s representative on the WARR Partnership. “Its funds have also supported village life through helping to pay for improvements to local facilities.”

The Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership is made up of local people and organisations with a knowledge of rural issues and their communities. It acts as the Local Action Group for the programme. Through a competitive process, the Partnership determines which projects will be funded.

Plumpton College is managing the delivery of the WARR Partnership LEADER programme, supported by Rother and Wealden District Councils, and East Sussex County Council.

Funding under LEADER is available to rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers, landowners, environmental organisations, cultural, heritage and community providers, as well as voluntary and charitable organisations. The Partnership will be encouraging projects that will assist, strengthen and develop the local economy and deliver jobs, growth and community benefits in rural East Sussex.

The LEADER Handbook which gives guidance on project eligibility will shortly be available on the WARR Partnership website, which can be found here.   

Applicants will then complete and submit an Outline Application electronically (no paper-based applications) and then from the information on the Outline Application, the project will be assessed for eligibility and a decision made as to whether or not to invite a Full Application.

Courtesy of Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden.  www.nusghani.org.uk/news