“Defra recently launched a £120 million package of grant funding under the RDPE Growth Programme for projects that create jobs and growth in the rural economy. The grant is open to farmers and rural businesses, and offers support for a wide range of projects including farm diversification into non-agricultural activities”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“The three priority areas for funding are business development, which covers farm diversification projects; rural tourism projects that will encourage more tourists to visit and spend money in rural areas; and food processing projects that will create jobs and growth in food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products. Eligible costs include constructing or improving buildings, and buying new equipment and machinery. The level of funding will normally cover up to 40% of qualifying costs. The minimum grant normally starts at £35,000, up to a maximum of £170,000 for business development and rural tourism projects, and a maximum of £1 million in some circumstances for food processing grants”, explains Dinnis.
The application process is in two parts. The first stage involves submitting an expression of interest. If an expression of interest is successful, the second stage involves submitting a full application, which must include any relevant planning permissions, consents and other supporting documents. The application window for expressions of interest is open until 31 January 2018. Projects that are awarded funding need to be completed by 31 March 2019 and the final date to submit grant claims is 31 December 2019.
“The programme is competitive so it is important that applications are well thought out to maximise the chance of success. Given the time it can take to obtain planning permissions and the work involved with preparing a full application for grant funding, would be applicants who have a project in mind should start planning them now and aim to submit an expression of interest as soon as possible”, advises Dinnis.
For further information on applying for funding and maximising the chance of success of an application please contact Brian Dinnis on 01884 214052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.