Sunday, 04 October 2015 20:59

£7m available for rural tourism

Written by  Ruralcity Media
£7m available for rural tourism

RURAL businesses in 12 areas across the country are set to benefit from almost £7m, says the government.

Funding is available to get their businesses off the ground and promote tourism, said Defra minister George Eustice.

"This funding plays an important role in supporting our plans to grow the rural economy and bring high-quality jobs to rural areas.

"I strongly encourage businesses from across the country looking to expand to apply.

"This way we can ensure our rural towns and villages remain thriving and are attractive places to work and raise a family."

It is the latest funding round after £15m was made available at the end of July and August through Defra's Growth Programme.

Hundreds of rural businesses had benefited from programme funding, said Mr Eustice.

More details about European Structural and Investment Funds are available here.

Entrepreneurs are using the money to expand and promote local tourism - ranging from cookery schools, garden centres, tea rooms and farm shops.

At the same time, cutting edge food producers were taking the gastronomic scene by storm with their local ciders and new charcuterie and cheese products.

Individual grants in this round are worth upwards of £35,000, depending on the individual project, and will now be offered in 12 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas.

In total, the Growth Programme is worth £177m.

Over the summer, three rounds of the Growth Programme have taken place with nearly £24m made available out of the £177m.

The latest funding builds on £6.3m and £8m of Growth Programme funding available in 20 LEP areas at the end of July and August.

The Growth Programme is just one part within the wider Rural Development Programme set to benefit many different aspects of rural life and worth £3.5bn over the next six years.

The Growth Programme is competitive to ensure funding available is targeted where it can bring the biggest benefit.

Applications will be scored against a range of criteria, including local priorities - with those who address these priorities more likely to receive funding.

The grants are managed by the Rural Payments Agency working with the 12 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) between local authorities and businesses.

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