£3m of rural grants available to create jobs and business growth

Over £3m of rural grants has been made available for businesses, farmers, foresters and community groups in the Somerset Levels and Moors area and West Somerset for projects that will create jobs and benefit the local rural economy.

The Somerset Levels and Moors Local Action Group and The Western Somerset Local Action Group (LAG), of which Somerset County Council is a partner, are pleased to announce the availability of over £3m of grants through the new LEADER Programme which runs between 2015 and 2020.

The LEADER programme is part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD): ‘Europe investing in Rural Areas’, with Somerset County Council acting as the accountable body on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

The overall aim of the funding is to improve the local rural economy through the creation of jobs and business growth.

Cllr David Hall, cabinet member with a responsibility for business, investment and policy said; “We are really pleased to be working with a number of partner agencies to offer these grants to members of the rural community which will support business growth and the creation of jobs.”

“Somerset is a county built on our rural economy and as such we want to be able to support it to thrive and continue to grow for many years to come.”

The LAG, made up of community, public and private sector representatives, will guide the programme and award funding to projects which they feel address the national and local priorities of their Local Development Strategies.

Grant requests can be between £2,500 and £100,000 and will typically be limited to 40% of the overall project cost. They will be assessed against their contribution to the wider rural economy.

If you have a business idea that would contribute to the growth of either the Somerset Levels and Moors or Western Somerset’s rural economy please contact Anne-Marie Spalding at Somerset County Council on 01823 359242 or email AMSpalding@somerset.gov.uk.

For more information about LEADER and how to apply please visit somersetleader.org.uk and click on the appropriate area.