The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme has opened a new call under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) worth £35 million.
Rural businesses across the country are set to benefit from a further guaranteed £35 million worth of funding to create new jobs, boost tourism, and unlock growth in rural areas. This figure could be increased to £50 million if there are enough high-quality applications.
The new call will provide grants of up to £750,000 for rural start-ups and businesses to purchase state-of-art equipment and machinery to grow their business or open up opportunities for tourism.
Applications opened on Monday 4th November. The expressions of interest window will close on 16th February 2020.
For this funding round of the Growth Programme, the threshold for minimum grants has come down from £35,000 to £20,000, meaning an increase in the number of small or micro-businesses eligible for a grant funding.
EAFRD supports rural businesses to grow and increase their competitiveness and sustainability. It aims to protect the countryside, improve the quality of life, increase the diversification of the rural economy and support locally-based approaches to rural development.
The RDPE Scheme has already created over 3,700 jobs in local communities via £99 million of grants to 546 businesses across England.
EAFRD is part of the European Structural & Investment Funds which are allocated to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. As part of its role in growing the local economy, D2N2 recommends projects for European Funding via the ESIF Committee.
Following informal consultation with stakeholders, including LEPs, Ministers have now agreed to create a National Reserve Fund (NRF), which will maximise the value of funds committed to rural businesses by funding projects in LEP areas which had already fully utilised their notional allocations and enabling us to open a national call for further applications to the EAFRD Growth Programme.
Paul Caldwell, Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency said: “The Growth programme provides funding to the 98% of the rural economy in England that isn’t directly engaged in farming. From heritage railways to creameries and vineyards, small and micro-businesses have benefitted from the investment available under the Growth programme in recent years.
“We are looking to support applications from businesses with ambitious plans to grow their business and provide wider benefits to their local community.
“I would urge all interested applicants to submit their expressions of interest as soon as possible to ensure they have plenty of time to complete a full application if their project is assessed to be eligible.”
How to Apply
The RDPE Growth Programme handbook contains information on which projects are deemed eligible for a grant and how to apply.
Interested parties need to send an Expression of Interest form to the Rural Payments Agency, outlining how they meet the criteria for the scheme – from creating new jobs, increasing business turnover, and improving productivity.
If the Rural Payments Agency considers the project to be eligible, the applicant will then be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for all Expressions of Interest is Sunday 16 February 2020.
For more information, please contact ESIF Coordinator Richard Kirkland.