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£5m in funding available for rural businesses

Steve Ratcliffe of the LDNPA.
Steve Ratcliffe of the LDNPA.
Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 5:02PM

Applications for £5m worth of grants from rural businesses are being invited.

The LEADER grants are open to farmers, foresters, growers, landowners, tourism providers as well as voluntary and charitable organisations.

Funding is available to support activities such as developing new farm technologies, small scale tourism projects as well as forestry investments in new machinery and equipment.

Priority will be given to projects that create jobs, help develop business and that benefit the wider rural economy.

The programme is being funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Union through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The funding will be administered by the Cumbria Fells & Dales, and Solway, Border and Eden Local Action Groups with Cumbria County Council.

Fells and Dales Local Action Group joint chairs, John Turner of Lonsdale Estates and Steve Ratcliffe of the Lake District National Park Authority, said: “The LEADER programmes continue to support the county’s rural areas in ways which respect both its distinctiveness and diversity, and they help build stronger, more resilient rural communities.”

Solway, Border and Eden Local Action Group joint chairs Brian Armstrong and Rob Randell, said: “We are looking for innovative ideas and projects which will be a springboard for job creation and economic growth.”

Mr Armstrong is a local farmer who also represents The Farmer Network, while Mr Randellis the chairman of Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership.

During the previous EU programming round from 2007 to 2013, Solway, Border and Eden and Cumbria Fells and Dales Local Action Groups delivered RDPE funding in Cumbria with a total grant budget of £15 million.

Grants were awarded to farms, foresters, small businesses and rural communities across the LAG areas.

The investment supported over 350 projects, created 321 jobs and safeguarded 112 jobs. It also delivered 15,000 training days to 12,627 beneficiaries.

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