Monday, February 6, 2017

News: European funds for rural economy

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Grant funding is still available for projects in the Sheffield city region (SCR) which create jobs and growth in the rural economy.

A new round of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Growth Programme has now opened and ventures can submit applications throughout 2017.

The EU's rural development policy helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. Frequently called "the second pillar" of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it complements the system of direct payments to farmers and measures to manage agricultural markets (the so-called "first pillar").

Rural Development policy shares a number of objectives with other European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and the growth programme supports tourism, food processing and rural business development projects.

£745,000 is available for enhancing rural tourism infrastructure. The awards of between £35,000 and £170,000 are for capital activities, for example, visitor attractions, signage and plans to enhance visitor connectivity. This fund will not be available for visitor accommodation schemes, which can be financed through the business development call.

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£835,000 of funding is available to bolster food processing businesses. Amounts from £50,000 up to £500,000 will be accessible to food processing companies of all sizes in country and urban territories for projects which create new jobs.

£464,000 is accessible for rural business development. This is for non-agricultural action in Defra-designated areas. Awards of between £35,000 and £170,000 will be accessible for capital use on ventures which will create new jobs.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), stated: "European funding remains an important source of investment in the region and helps to support local businesses to grow and thrive. Sheffield City Region's rural economy has a diverse economic structure with manufacturing, retail and hospitality being the largest sectors.

"At SCR we grab each opportunity and make the most of it, whatever the size of the company, whatever its sector and whatever its ambition so that we can support vibrant economies and create new jobs across the region. Rural businesses play an important part in the economic growth of the region and I encourage rural businesses to apply during 2017."

SCR LEP website
Growth Programme website

Images: Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estate


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