The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) has announced that the new £35 million grant programme has opened. Applicants have until 16th February 2020 to register their ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI). The scheme aims to provide funding for business development, food processing and rural tourism.
The application process is a competitive process and covers a wide range of businesses, therefore applications must be well structured and accompanied by a business plan demonstrating long term profitability for the business.
The minimum grant has been lowered to £20,000 with a maximum of £175,000, with 40% of the total spend being grant funded for commercial projects that are intended to make a profit.
In respect of the grants for rural tourism, the grants are designed to support projects that will encourage more tourists to come, stay longer and spend more money in rural areas. An example could be providing high quality holiday accommodation close to an existing tourist attraction that will encourage visitors to stay locally for longer.
The grants for business development and food processing are aimed at helping rural business grow and creating more jobs, this can include helping to pay for constructing or improving buildings and buying new equipment or machinery.
In the first instance, we would advise that the RDPE handbook is consulted which outlines all of the requirements for a successful application along with what elements of the project are eligible.