Monday, 30 March 2015 09:30

Rural grants 'becoming harder to get'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural grants 'becoming harder to get'

RURAL businesses are being urged to be alert regarding application deadline for grants.

It follows the government's decision to start opening schemes under the new Rural Development Programme for England.

Four schemes are designed to make England's rural businesses more competitive and environmentally friendly. They are Countryside Stewardship, the Countryside Productivity Scheme, the Growth Programme and LEADER.

Simon Blandford, head of farm management at Smiths Gore, said: "The window to make applications is shorter than before so businesses should make sure they know when grants are open and that they have done as much preparation as possible in advance.

"This will give them the best chance of getting funding and the full amount that they need, as many of the schemes are competitive.

"We see far too many businesses miss grants or make poor quality applications – and so have to delay projects or needlessly pay for them themselves."

Grants were becoming harder to get, said Mr Blandford.

Funding was reduced and applications must be made online, so applicants needed to be registered.

Grants were also much more targeted to specific locations, which could cause confusion on what was available."

"There is also funding available for new things – like developing skills and protecting wildlife over a whole landscape by farmers working together," said Mr Blandford.

"We recommend that businesses are pro-active and ask about what is available as waiting for official forms and guidance will be too late."

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