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Two Rutland companies benefited from Leader grants scheme

Two Rutland businesses have modernised and expanded their operations after they received £52,700 of grants from the Leader programme.

Simmons Optometrists in Burley road, Oakham, received £40,100 towards a building extension that created more private consultation areas for customers and more modern displays units for the store.

Practice director James Alexander says the improvements funded by the grant has allowed the business to extend it premises and improve customer care.

Simmons Optometrists received more than £40,000
Simmons Optometrists received more than £40,000

He said: “Already we have received a fantastic reaction from our patients, who really seem to appreciate the hard work we’ve put in.”

Ceramic artist Katherine Staples of Whissendine has finished a studio with industrial kilns thanks to a £12,600 grant.

With her children starting school, she is getting back to producing large scale commissions.

She said: “Without this grant I would have really struggled to get my business off the ground so quickly.”

Katherine Staples (15421301)
Katherine Staples (15421301)

The Leader scheme aims to boost the rural economy, from supporting tourism and small business growth to aiding the development of agriculture, farm diversification and forestry. Across rural Peterborough and Rutland, some £1.3 million is being delivered by Opportunity Peterborough with support from Rutland County Council.

Rutland County Council leader Coun Oliver Hemsley called it encouraging many independent businesses were using the Leader programme to enhance their services.

He added: “Success builds success and, often, entrepreneurs just need access to the right injection of funding at the right time to in order to take their business to the next level.”

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