Rural businesses can now apply for funding for expansion or new projects to support and grow the rural economy.
An information event held in Bourne in September attracted a full house of interested parties, and organisers are now inviting outline applications.
£1.53m of grant funding has been allocated to the Local Action Zone (LAZ) around Grantham (the Kestevens LEADER fund) and £1.42m is available in the LEADER Wash and Fens LAZ area, including Stamford, Bourne and The Deepings.
The EU-funded Leader programme is scheduled to run for five years to create jobs, develop a new or existing business, improve productivity and efficiency, increase tourism visitors or improve rural services and communities.
Businesses, community groups and parish councils are amongst those who can apply for projects ranging from increasing farm productivity, supporting micro and small businesses and farm diversification, boosting rural tourism, providing rural services, providing cultural and heritage activities where this promotes growth in the tourism economy, and increasing forestry productivity.
It is the first time that a LEADER programme funding aimed at supporting growth, jobs and services within the rural economy has included South Kesteven.
For commercial projects the grant available is 40 per cent, with private funds needed to cover the remaining 60 per cent. For non-profit-making projects the available grant is 80 per cent, with private funds needed to cover the other 20 per cent.
The minimum grant is £2,500 and the maximum that can be applied for is £141,302. Organisers expect that the average grant will be between £2,500 and £40,000.
Steve Ingram, South Kesteven District Council’s strategic director development and growth, said: “We are committed to helping small businesses start up and develop and the availability of this new grant funding is a major step forward for our rural areas.
“This is the first time since the days of the rural development agencies that South Kesteven businesses have had access to rural funding. We have pushed hard for this funding and recognition of the need for it and we want to encourage as many businesses as possible to apply.”
LEADER is a European fund aimed at economic growth in rural communities. The fund is managed through the Rural Payments Agency on behalf of DEFRA in England, as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
Click here for details of how to apply for a grant and for further information or email LincsLEADER@lincolnshire.gov.uk
Alternatively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org (01522 550642) or email@example.com (01507 354561).