Earlier this month the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) launched three new grants available to farmers under the RDPE Growth Programme. The grants are designed to provide funding for projects in rural areas which create jobs and growth in the rural economy.

What grants are available?

The RDPE Growth Programme provides grant funding for three types of projects, these are:

  • For business development – grants to invest in new equipment for example high-precision techniques and for farm diversification projects.
  • For food processing – meat or milk processing facilities and soft fruit processing.
  • For rural tourism infrastructure – providing rural accommodation, tourist attractions and food, drink and retail outlets.

What grant funding is available?

Grant funding is available at a minimum of £20,000 to a maximum of approximately £175,000. The grant funding is based on a rate of 40% of the projects eligible costs so the project spend must be a minimum of £50,000.

You will need to be able to demonstrate that there is sufficient funding in place for the remainder of the project costs from your private resources (bank loans or savings).

Who can apply?

This grant is specifically aimed at farmers and small rural businesses. Applicants must be registered on the Rural Payments Service.

Is my application guaranteed to be successful?

The grant funding is not guaranteed as the application process is competitive due to the level of funding that is available. It is therefore essential to put forward a well thought out, strong application to maximise the chances of your grant application being successful.

Applications are assessed against how well they meet national and local priorities.

The national priorities include:

  • Creating jobs
  • Growing your business
  • Improving productivity through innovation
  • Opening new products markets including export markets

The local priorities will vary depending on where you are and the type of project you are proposing.

If I am successful when must I have completed my project and claimed the grant by?

All successful applicants that are offered an agreement for grant funding which they accept must have completed the project and have submitted their grant claim by the 30th September 2021.

How do I apply and when?

The application process is in two stages; anyone interested must submit an Expression of Interest before midnight on the 16th February 2020. Once submitted, a decision will be made on the Expression of Interest within 30 days. If successful you will be invited to make a full application for grant funding.

The Expression of Interest therefore needs to persuade the RPA and your Local Enterprise Partnership that your project is one that meets the local priorities and is worthy of the grant funding.

If you are considering a project and would like to know whether your project is eligible for funding under the RDPE Growth Programme then please do not hesitate to contact either Ellen Cottrell or Mike Cluley at Carver Knowles on 01684 853400 or by email ellencottrell@carverknowles.co.uk / mikecluley@carverknowles.co.uk .