There’s still funding available for small rural businesses and community groups to apply for with the LEADER grants scheme.
Farmers, foresters and communities based in rural areas of West Sussex, Lewes district and Hayling Island can benefit from LEADER grant funding totalling around £2.6 million until September 2018, and possibly beyond. Grants are available for capital investments for projects that will create jobs and grow the rural economy.
West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “The LEADER fund is an important source of grants available to our many rural communities. It’s there to benefit and boost businesses and community groups.
“We know from the previous LEADER programme that this funding has been so very helpful for people developing their businesses and has been much appreciated.
“If you think you’d benefit from a grant, maybe you want to recruit new staff or grow your business, then I would encourage you to apply. Who knows where that extra bit of funding could take you and your business.”
Under the current scheme, a total of £380,000 has so far been awarded to 13 projects in this region, creating 25 full time jobs over the next three years.
One such project is local wine producer Tinwood Wine Estate, near Chichester, who invested their grant in the construction of three vineyard lodges – giving visitors the choice of an overnight stay and a five star view of the vines.
Estate owner Art Tukker said: “We first saw the concept in Australia and New Zealand and thought it would be wonderful to bring back here.”
“Without the funding our business plan would never have been able to get off the ground.”
The owners of Holmbush Farm, near Crawley, were another successful applicant who used their grant to purchase a forestry harvester head with an on-board computer plus hard-standing at their wood-yard. The project has increased the volume of woodchip and green waste able to be processed and created an additional full-time job.
For more information and for details on how to apply, visit the Business West Sussex website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.
Notes to Editor:
The current LEADER scheme was launched in 2015 and is part of the Rural Development Programme for England and is funded jointly by central government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Funding under LEADER is available to small rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers, landowners, environmental organisations, cultural, heritage and community providers, as well as voluntary and charitable organisations. The scheme can support projects that will assist, strengthen and develop the local economy and deliver jobs, growth and community benefits.
West Sussex County Council is the official accountable body for two local Action Groups (LAGs) who are responsible for allocating project funding applications within their designated areas:
- Sussex Downs and Coastal Plain LAG, which covers rural areas of Chichester and Arun districts and Hayling Island
- Central Sussex LAG, which covers rural areas of Horsham, Mid Sussex and Lewes districts.