DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have announced £1.55m to help rural businesses grow in the Rushcliffe area. The money will also go to Gedling and a small part of Ashfield.
Councillor Simon Robinson, Rushcliffe’s portfolio holder for finance and economy, said: “We are committed to boosting borough business wherever we can and this money to help the rural economy is particularly welcome. We are always keen to work with other partners, as together we can bounce ideas off each other and maximise our joint resources.”
The LEADER (European) funding will help create jobs in the countryside, either by expanding existing business or by helping entrepreneurs set up new ventures.
Money can be used for such projects as farm diversification, promoting tourism and developing commercial opportunities for woodlands. The government funding will be matched by funds from the businesses which apply for finances.
Work on the bid to DEFRA started in February 2014 with a huge amount of input from a variety of councils, the NFU (National Farmers Union), businesses and voluntary organisations such as the Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire (RCAN).
Rob Crowder, chief executive of RCAN, said: “People are keen to live in the countryside and our research has found that many people then commute to work in a city. This funding will help to increase rural employment opportunities and make local communities vibrant.”
Linda Fitzgerald, chair of the South Nottinghamshire LEADER Local Action Group, said: “This is where the hard work really starts. The needs and opportunities of the area were mapped out over the summer with events, consultations and surveys.
“The results then formed the nucleus of our bid and how we planned to support growth in the rural economy over the next five years. Now we need to make this aim a reality and invite applications for grants from businesses and groups to actually do just that.”
Businesses with an idea or project that requires grant support, should get in touch with Craig Taylor, community development manager, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out whether their ideas could be eligible for support.