Local farmers urged to apply for share of £157 million regional fund
PUBLISHED: 14:20 28 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:09 20 February 2013
Hundreds of local farmers and other rural businesses are being encouraged to put forward applications for funding from a £157million programme designed to improve the sustainability of the farming, forestry and food sectors.
Hundreds of local farmers and other rural businesses are being encouraged to put forward applications for funding from a 157million programme designed to improve the sustainability of the farming, forestry and food sectors.
Business Link has launched a specialist advisory service to ensure that local rural businesses fully access advice and financial support from this programme which is paid for by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and runs until 2013.
Roger Smith, Business Links Rural Advice Manager, said: We are now seeing hundreds of rural businesses across the Dorset, Gloucestershire, West of England and Wiltshire taking advantage of this crucial funding resource.
The range of support thats available covers everything from training and skills development to the provision of dedicated consultancy services and capital grants. There are also specific initiatives to help with effective soil, energy, and livestock management, as well as special support to help improve the quality of life for people living in rural communities.
The widest breadth of local funding submissions have been made, ranging from the creation and development of farm shops, investment in food processing equipment, the conversion of disused farm buildings and purchase of forestry equipment.
In addition to a large number of conventional investment initiatives, there have been some more exotic applications for example, the creation of a green burial sites and glamping (glamorous camping) facilities.
Farmers, growers and foresters are all eligible for RDPE funds. Other rural businesses and rural communities can also apply, provided they have a clearly defined link to land-based enterprises for example, a butchery business that has contracts with local farmers to supply meat.
In the South West, the RDPE is essentially a DEFRA programme delivered by the South West Regional Development Agency, which holds the funds and awards the grants.
Business Link is the main contact point for any farm or land-based business looking for support under RDPE. As well as providing information about this programme, Business Links Rural Team of Advisers can also help improve business performance and support the development of funding proposals.
Roger Smith said: Various schemes are available through Business Links Rural Service to help farmers and land-based businesses establish and develop their business ideas with the aid of business advice and capital grants. Our one-to-one advice service is comprehensive. We will be promoting these through a wide range of support events in the coming months.
Contact the Business Link Rural team in Dorset, Gloucestershire, West of England and Wiltshire by contacting 0845 600 9966 (calls will be charged at local call charge rate).