“Rural businesses to benefit from £35m government fund” - PKF Francis Clark
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“Rural businesses to benefit from £35m government fund”

In my blog post earlier this week, I advised that I had heard that news was forthcoming on another round of the RDPE Growth Programme.

Well today saw the official announcement of this new round (headed up as per the title of this post), but I expect I will blogging again on Monday when the scheme opens (see further below) and I will touch on eligibility in that blog (as there is likely to be some size restrictions on applicants – depending on location and which of the three schemes you are applying for).

Announcement today

The following was announced today;

  • The scheme “opens for expressions of interest on Monday 4 November, providing grants for rural start-ups and businesses to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and machinery to grow their business or open up opportunities for tourism.”
  • That there is a “guaranteed £35 million in government funding to create new jobs, boost tourism, and unlock growth in rural areas. This figure could be increased to £50 million if there are enough high-quality applications.”
  • “The threshold for minimum grants has come down from £35,000 to £20,000, meaning that more small or micro-businesses can be eligible for a grant for their project”
  • “The deadline for all Expressions of Interest is Sunday 16 February 2020.”

But when I look for more background detail/ source material, I am signposted to the handbooks – but these are marked as “closed” and I presume these will need to be updated for minimum grants etc.  And in the past I have seen references to how the fund will be allocated across the three areas (see below) and geographic/ Local Enterprise Partnership priorities.

RDPE Growth Programme – a quick reminder

 “You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.  There are three types of grant:

  • Business development
  • Food processing
  • Rural tourism infrastructure”

“The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will assess all expressions of interest. RPA will look for projects that meet the national and local priorities for funding, and will decide which meet the criteria the best. This means grants are not awarded automatically to an applicant.  There is a rigorous two part application process (starting with submitting an ‘expression of interest’) to tell RPA about the work you’re doing and how the grant could help you with it.  If RPA assesses that your expression of interest is suitable, they will invite you to submit a full application.”

Watch this space (and/ or www.gov.uk) – for more news on Monday

I am anticipating more detail being released on Monday either through a specific announcement or more likely through the updates of the handbooks which can be found here.

But in the interim…

I will be exploring the potential of us being involved in event(s) disseminating information of the scheme as to quote David Rodda MBE, Rural Delivery Manager at the Cornwall Development Company: “Like never before we need to get the message out across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in order to make the most of this opportunity.

By Andrew James






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