Sunday, 18 May 2014 20:51

Scheme creates jobs for rural Norfolk

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Scheme creates jobs for rural Norfolk

A six-year programme managed by Norfolk County Council has created over 200 rural jobs and injected £16m into the county.

The 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) jointly funded 136 rural projects in Norfolk.

It included expanding 45 micro enterprises, helped 19 farms to diversify and assisted 20 projects in their attempts to be water efficient.

Support was delivered through three Local Action Groups (LAGs) that covered the Brecks, Norfolk Coast and Broads, and the Waveney Valley.

Each LAG operates using the LEADER approach – community led local development involving local people from the public and private sectors.

The final impact of the RDPE programme 2007-13, which ended in December, has now been calculated.

It created a total of 225 jobs, safeguarded a further 92 jobs, and invested £16m into the county, with £6.1m made up from RDPE and an additional £9.9m from matched funding.

Funding for the project was targeted to support agricultural development, innovation and water efficiency, farm diversification, micro enterprises, tourism and basic services.

Each action group having a slightly different emphasis to meet their unique priorities.

The amount of funding per project varied from just less than £5,000 up to £317,000, with an average grant of £45,000.

The programme brought a total of around 18,500 additional visitors to the respective areas.

David Holliday set up Norfolk Brewhouse, a brewery created from redundant farm buildings in Hindringham in North Norfolk that he co-owns with his wife Rachel, in 2012 with support from the RDPE programme.

He said: "Without the programme we quite simply wouldn't be here today and two years after starting up we're established as a known brewer in Norfolk.

"Not only has it provided us with the financial support to set up the business in the first instance, the necessity of registering a detailed business plan in order to receive the funding has meant that we're now going from strength to strength.

"The grant we received has taken some of the pressure off and we're confident for the future – each month is better than the last and a lot of that is down to the fact that we have the facility to grow without needing to reinvest."

Eliska Cheeseman, Norfolk County Council's Rural Development Programme England Manager, said: "This programme ended in December 2013, but we are turning our attention to the next five years.

As well as gearing up to bid for further funding for the existing three areas, we have an ambition to fund more action group areas in the future."

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