Farmers in Lincolnshire have an opportunity to secure part of what looks to be the last remaining pot of Leader funding – but they must act quickly.
Leader funding falls under the Rural Development Programme and over recent years has proved to be a useful source of funding for diversification projects, providing grants for projects that create jobs and growth in the rural economy.
Lincolnshire County Council, which administers funding for four Leader groups – the Coastal Action Zone, Lindsey Action Zone, Kestevens and Wash Fens – has announced that £400,000 is available for businesses to purchase capital equipment.
A call for expressions of interest is open until midnight on Sunday, 9 August.
Grants will typically be limited to 40% of the project’s total eligible costs, however, some types of projects can secure higher rates.
The construction of buildings, development of marketing materials and landscaping are excluded from eligibility.
Anyone interested in applying is being advised to talk to the Lincolnshire Leader team before filling in the expression of interest form.
Farmers can email LincsLEADER@lincolnshire.gov.uk with a phone number and a member of the team will call them back to discuss a potential project.
According to Defra, Lincolnshire is the only accountable body that is still open to new expressions of interest, although other areas may still be processing applications in order to award new grants.
New rural funds in NI
Northern Ireland has announced £1.7m in funds to help rural and micro businesses expand and innovate.
Applications can be to the £1m Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme or the £700,000 Rural Business Development Grant Scheme – both of which offer grants covering 50% of eligible costs.
The Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme is a pilot offering grants of between £5,000 and £40,000 to invest in innovation and new technologies which will improve efficiency, create growth in the rural economy and make a positive climate-related contribution.
Meanwhile, the Rural Business Development Grant Scheme provides capital grants of up to £5,000 for the purchase of equipment/machinery to support new business practices or ways of working.