DEFRA launch Rural England Prosperity Fund
In September 2022 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced the launch of the Rural England Prosperity Fund. This new grant funding will provide support for projects that will boost the rural economy, raise productivity and create jobs.
It will be delivered by eligible local authorities and is in addition to the £2.6 billion allocated via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to support levelling up across the UK.
Funding is not restricted to those businesses within the ‘traditional’ agricultural sector but all projects must be in a rural area which is defined as:
- towns, villages and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside
- market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services.
Recipients could include farming businesses that are looking to diversify, for example opening their own shops, or converting building to other business use such as wedding and event venues or other tourism facilities.
However, the fund is also likely to provide the opportunity for broader projects such as:
- the upgrade of pubs, village halls and other local hubs for community use
- the creation or upgrading of new footpaths and cycle paths, particularly in areas of health need
- capital grants to enable people to develop volunteering and social action projects
- grants to develop, restore or refurbish local natural, cultural and heritage assets
- investment and support for digital infrastructure for local community facilities.
The funding, will be available from April 2023 to March 2025.
If you need help with any rural grant schemes or other funding opportunities, please do get in touch.