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New rural grant funding now available

New rural grant funding now available

Two new capital grant schemes for farmers and rural landowners are now open under the Rural Development Programme for England. The new LEADER and Growth Programme schemes offer capital grant funding for rural businesses to provide education and training, renewable energy projects, tourism facilities and business startup and expansion.

£177m of funding is available under the Growth Programme with grants normally between £35,000 and £145,000 each. The Programme is administered regionally and each area has different criteria. The scheme is aimed at supporting the rural economy, and projects which can demonstrate business growth and job creation will be favoured. 

Examples of the projects funded under previous rounds of this scheme in the south west include an expanding micro-brewery, a new start up woollen yarn producer and a vanilla pod processing business.

LEADER funding is also available for small businesses to support rural tourism, farm and forestry productivity, cultural and heritage projects and the provision of other rural services. This scheme typically offers smaller grants from £2,500 upwards.

Each grant will fund 40% of the eligible costs of a project, which can include new buildings, equipment and infrastructure. It is important to have any necessary planning consent in place before making an application. The application process is detailed, and a business plan and budgets will be required. Applicants must also have upfront means of funding their proposal as grants will not be paid until the project is completed.

Grants are potentially lucrative and those considering any capital investment in their farm business, or diversification, in the near future are strongly encouraged to find out whether if grant funding is available for their specific project.

For more information and an informal chat about the new RDPE schemes please contact Jenny Towill at Stags on 01823 653429 or email