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EAFRD

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EAFRD

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EAFRD

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EAFRD

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EAFRD

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EAFRD

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

The Rural Growth Programme provides funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) delivers the grants, working with ESIF sub-committees in Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) areas. RPA’s role is to assess applications for grants, with advice from the ESIF sub-committees. SEMLEP's role is to decide local priorities for the grants. 

RDPE Growth Programme: Rural Funding Information Workshops

To help local businesses to access the funding, SEMLEP is holding four information workshops. During the workshops, businesses will get an in-depth overview of the funding strands and learn how to submit a strong expression of interest. To register, or to find out more, click below:

  • 9.30 – 12.30, 6 January 2020, Central Bedfordshire Council – Book here
  • 9.30 – 12.30, 7  January 2020, Stagsden – Book here
  • 9.30 – 12.30, 9 January 2020, East Northamptonshire Council – Book here

Under the RDPE Growth Programme, there are grants for:

Business Development: Helping small rural businesses grow and create more jobs. SEMLEP's local priorities are: 

  • enabling farming businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities
  • creating new services or manufacture of new products
  • creating one full-time equivalent job for every £25,000 or less of grant investment
  • creating apprenticeship jobs, lasting for a minimum of one year

For more information on the business development grants, view the handbook.

Food Processing: Helping businesses to grow and creating more jobs. SEMLEP priorities are:

  • introducing new technologies, techniques or processes, increasing the productivity of the business
  • creating new higher-skilled jobs above the current average skill level of jobs in the applicant business
  • creating at least 1 full-time equivalent job for each £20,000 of grant investment
  • bringing locally distinctive foods to the market, that contribute to the unique food and drink offering of the SEMLEP area
  • opening new product markets to the business, potentially reducing the need for imports

For more information on the business development grants, view the handbook.

Rural Tourism Infrastructure: encouraging more tourists to come, to stay longer and to spend more money in rural areas.

  • creating new visitor attractions and/or leisure activities, to increase the range and quality of the rural tourism offer
  • including the use of local suppliers, particularly for local food and drink
  • creating economic benefits to a number of business, not just the applicant business 
  • increasing the dwell-time of visitors
  • extend the visitor season between the months of October to March
  • developing infrastructure to connect rural tourism businesses, including - cycleways, footpaths and local tourism signage
  • creating long term sustainable jobs in the applicant business
  • creating quality serviced tourist accommodation, where there is clear evidence of need and will achieve formal accreditation through industry bodies
  • upgrading existing tourism accommodation to increase the current accreditation rating of the accommodation

For more information on the business development grants, view the handbook.

Business Development Grants

The Business Development Grants aim to help rural businesses grow and create more jobs. 

Who can apply?
Small rural businesses – new or existing. That includes farmers who want to diversify into nonagricultural activity. View the full accessibility criteria here.

How much money can I apply for?
Minimum grant: £20,000 | Maximum grant: approx. £175,000

Deadline: Applications must be received before midnight on 16 February 2020

For more information, view the Business Development Handbook.

Food Processing Grants

These grants are to help businesses to grow and to create more jobs. Grant funding can help pay for: 

  • constructing or improving buildings
  • buying new equipment and machinery 

Who can apply?
Food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural projects. View the full accessibility criteria here.

How much money can I apply for?
Minimum grant: £20,000 | Maximum grant: £750,000

Deadline: Applications must be received before midnight on 16 February 2020

For more information, view the Food Processing Handbook.

Rural Tourism Infrastructure 

Grants aim to support projects that will encourage more tourists to come, to stay longer and to spend more money in rural areas.

Who can apply?
If the project is commercial and intended to make a profit, only small businesses and farmers who want to diversify can apply.

If the project is not expected to make a profit, a wide range of organisations can apply. View the full accessibility criteria here.

How much money can I apply for?
Minimum grant: £20,000 | Maximum grant: approx. £175,000

Deadline: Applications must be received before midnight on 16 February 2020

For more information, view the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Handbook.

The application is in two stages. First, you must submit an ‘expression of interest’ (EOI) form. If your EOI is endorsed, you will be invited to submit a full application.

RPA will assess your application at both stages. At EOI stage, applications will be assessed as they are received. At full application stage, projects will be assessed in batches. Only the highest-scoring applications will be successful.

The expression of interest (EOI) form

You can find the EOI form on GOV.UK, or by clicking here. You’ll need to provide some information about your business, including:

  • whether it’s linked to any other businesses
  • turnover and balance sheet total from the most recent financial accounts
  • details of any previous public funding your business has had

You'll also need to provide information about your project, including:

  • what the objectives are and what the outputs will be
  • an overview of the costs
  • important dates for the project
  • how it fits with the local and national priorities for funding
  • the market demand for your project and its impact on similar businesses

How to submit your form

Email your form to growthapps@rpa.gov.uk.

RPA can only accept forms that are:

  • sent by email
  • Microsoft Excel documents saved in the 1997-2003 XLS format

RPA cannot accept any other formats – including PDF documents, scanned documents, hard copy printed applications or hand-written applications.

You'll need to email your EOI from the email address you specify at question 5 of the EOI form. If an agent sends the form on your behalf, that address must be copied into the email.

What happens after you submit your EOI

After you submit the form, you’ll receive an automatic email to say it has been received. RPA will then assess your EOI and let you know whether or not you will be invited to submit a full application. 

Full application

If you’re invited to submit a full application, we’ll send you the relevant form and advice about how to fill this in. The form asks for full details about you, your business and your project, including:

  • final project costs
  • supplier details
  • key dates
  • proposed project outputs

You’ll also need to send: 

  • supporting documents appropriate to the project (such as market research, customer surveys, or industry reports)
  • business accounts for last 3 financial years (unless you are a new business)
  • relevant permissions and consents
  • 3 quotes for each item to be purchased
  • evidence that you can cover the project costs before claiming the grant in stages

There is potentially a lot of information, evidence and paperwork to collect. It can take 2 - 3 months for you to prepare your full application, possibly longer if you need planning permission.

You’ll be given a named contact at RPA to support you and answer questions. You’ll also be invited to attend a workshop, where RPA will explain the application process in more detail and answer any initial questions you have.

For more information, click here.

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