Micro and small businesses from parts of Nottinghamshire are being urged to bid for their share of £1.3m in grant funding available to support the rural economy and new jobs, ahead of the 31 January 2019 deadline.
Funding through the South Nottinghamshire LEADER programme is available for schemes in the boroughs of Rushcliffe and Gedling and the Selston area of Ashfield.
It can be used 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
Councillor Kay Cutts, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "The aim of the LEADER programme is to encourage growth and create new jobs in our rural economy which capitalises on Nottinghamshire's industry, heritage, culture and use of land.
"From investing in new machinery for farm production or building a premises for a new business, to boosting tourism opportunities or improving village services, the LEADER programme can support a wide range of projects for businesses in areas which sometimes feel over-looked in favour of urban areas when it comes to grant funding."
One of the businesses to benefit from LEADER funding so far is S Clark Farms of Screveton, which successfully applied for funding to expand its eco-farm project.
The Farmeco Community Care Farm works with schools and the local community to manage and protect land around the eco centre. The eco-farm provides opportunities for local schools to get involved through an outdoor classroom and provides training and volunteering opportunities in farm work including food production and healthy eating for young people and people with a learning disability.
S Clark Farms, who have an established partnership with the Farmeco Community Care Farm, secured £12,676 to build an extension to the existing community kitchen at the site.
David Rose, Director of S Clark Farms said: "The LEADER grant has been fundamental to the growth of the business helping us to exceed our target numbers. The funding has been a fantastic boost for the business and we couldn't have done it without support from the Leader South programme."
The kitchen extension has helped to improve access for people with learning difficulties to the farm site. The improvements have also created a larger community kitchen space, helping the project to welcome larger groups, increasing the number of children the business can accommodate to around 1,200 a year – a 20% increase on previous figures.
The grant was provided by the South Nottinghamshire Leader programme under Leader priority 2 – support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification.
LEADER, which stands for 'Liaison Entre Actions pour le Development de L’Economie Rurale', is EU funding sourced through the Rural Development Programme for England.
For further information about the South Nottinghamshire LEADER programme contact Craig Edson, South Nottinghamshire LEADER Programme Officer, on 0115 977 2686.