Rural businesses in the south of Nottinghamshire (Rushcliffe, Gedling and a small part of Ashfield) are being urged to register their interest in receiving funding from a major new grant programme, following its launch this week.
The South Nottinghamshire LEADER Programme is a new allocation of EU funding to help support the development of the rural economy and create new jobs – with up to £1.3m available in grants over the next four years.
LEADER funding will be available to support a wide range of projects, including:
- Rural tourism
- Supporting new and expanding small and micro businesses
- Increasing farm productivity
- Providing services to rural communities
- Improving forestry productivity
Applications for funding will open in January 2016, but businesses can check if they are eligible and register for updates now.
Nottinghamshire County Council is the accountable body for the funding, which will be managed by the South Nottinghamshire Local Action Group (LAG).
Linda Fitzgerald, Chair of the South Nottinghamshire LAG said: “This launch has been a long time coming – and now we are ready and raring to go to get the money out there to the businesses. We aim to launch calls for activity from January 2016 and to work with and support applicants to access LEADER funding – this is an exciting opportunity for South Nottinghamshire's rural areas.”
County Councillor Diana Meale, Chair of Economic Development at Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “LEADER is primarily about business and economic growth, which links directly with the County Council’s strategic priorities.
“In a changing and challenging environment for local authorities, the County Council aims to work with partners - big and small - to create an environment for growth and economic prosperity. LEADER is a perfect example of where we hope to add value and support activity – so that the county and its rural businesses and communities get their fair share of European funding support”
The launch of the South Nottinghamshire LEADER programme was attended by a wide range of business organisations, local authority partners and LAG members.
Event speakers included David Rose of FarmEco at Screveton, who shared some of his experiences of funding for farm diversification.
He said: “Grant funding really can help you to do great things – but you will need to know exactly where you are at the start of the process and have a clear plan of where you want your business to be if funding is awarded.
“The grant funding that we received had a hugely positive impact on the local economy – on suppliers, partners and on local people through apprenticeships and training. But closest to my heart has been the ability to increase educational access to a working farm and for children, communities, schools and colleges to have a better understanding of farming and food.”
To discuss a project idea, or to find out how to become more involved in the local LEADER partnership, contact Craig Edson, South Nottinghamshire LEADER Programme Officer on 0115 977 2686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A separate LEADER programme covering the north of the county will run alongside the programme in the south of the county. Further information about North Nottinghamshire LEADER is available at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/leadernorth