The RDPE Growth Programme is currently open for applications for grant funding for projects which create jobs and growth in the rural economy. These grants are available to both new and existing farmers and rural businesses offering support for a range of projects including farm diversification into non-agricultural activities.
There are three themes for grant applications including business development, covering construction or improvements to buildings and buying of new equipment or machinery; rural tourism to support projects to encourage more tourists to come, stay longer and spend more money in rural areas; and food processing projects that will allow for more jobs and growth in the agricultural and horticultural product market.
Grants typically cover up to 40% of eligible costs with a minimum grant of £20,000 and a maximum of up to £175,000 for business development and rural tourism projects and up to £750,000 for some food processing projects. Eligible costs include the construction and improvement of buildings and buying new machinery and equipment. Based on the above figures the minimum project cost is therefore £50,000.
The first stage in the application process is to submit an expression of interest to The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) by the deadline of midnight on 16 February 2020. If the expression of interest is successful the RPA will ask for a full application including relevant plans, documents, consents and planning permissions, as well as explaining why funding is required and how the project meets the stated local priorities for funding. All projects must be completed with grant claims submitted by 30 September 2021.
The programme is competitive, and all expressions of interest will be assessed against the RDPE criteria. It is therefore very important for applicants to do the initial work to satisfy themselves and the RPA that their proposals are realistic and deliverable.
For further information or assistance in preparing an expression of interest, please contact Isabella Pyne or Richard Sanders on 01884 212380 or via our website www.acornrpc.co.uk