A new pilot project aiming to grow the rural economy is now open for applications. The scheme, announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, will invest £15m in creating Rural Growth Networks, with the aim of improving infrastructure, providing suitable business premises in rural areas and helping rural enterprises gain access to finance and business support. In addition, businesses in Rural Growth Networks will enjoy preferential status when applying for grants from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) anticipates that the Networks will be run in cooperation with councils or Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Local Authorities and/or Local Enterprise Partnerships interested in applying to become a pilot Rural Growth Network can do so by 31 January. Click here for scheme information and instructions on how to fill in the application form.
See the DEFRA website for more information