Rutland businesses receive grant funding from the European Union to boost rural economies
Rutland businesses are reaping the rewards of a grant scheme which has handed out thousands of pounds.
The Leader programme is funded by the European Union and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to boost rural economies.
Rutland's share of the cash has gone towards buying boats, converting barns and extending buildings to help a number of businesses continue to grow and thrive.
Parker Farms at Ridlington received £49,750 towards a direct drill.
Farm director Simon Thompson said: “The funding is hugely significant for us because it will improve what we do in terms of soil management, allowing us to expand and potentially employ more people. This is good news for us and good news for Rutland because supporting local business benefits the whole local supply chain.”
Rutland Sailability received £23,400 towards a new boat and a launch and recovery vehicle.
Volunteer fundraiser Sarah Forsyth said: “This has been a huge boost. It doesn’t matter what disability someone has, we will always find a way to get them onto the water."
Simmons Optometrist in Oakham received £40,000 for an extension, building improvements and new digital systems.
Director James Alexander said: “Thanks to the funding we’ve extended our premises so we can see more patients, but still give them the time, space and care they’ve come to expect from us.
"We can already see the difference it will make to us going forward."
Katherine Staples, of Whissendine, received £12,645 to launch a ceramics business.
The money paid for the studio and kilns.
She said: "Without this funding I would have really struggled to get my business off the ground so quickly.
“I want to see other people benefitting from ceramics as an art form so I’m hoping to set up workshops and classes for all abilities in the near future."
Other beneficiaries include Quercus Woodcraft in Oakham which received money for a sawmill, Langham Village Hall for roof repairs, Ashwell Village Hall for improved disabled access and Clipsham's Yew Tree Avenue for car park resurfacing.
Leader of Rutland County Council, Oliver Hemsley, (Con) said: “We are delighted to have seen more than half a million pounds go to help a wide range of business projects here in Rutland.
"Leader has shown us just how innovative and entrepreneurial our local business community can be. It’s been truly amazing to see and share details of the many various projects and people that have been supported by Leader– from pottery artists and optometrists to farmers, camp sites and village halls.”
More by this authorAndrea Scholes