01 May 2019

Grant funding opportunity for community food and farming businesses

A £1.34 million programme has been announced offering community food and farming businesses a mix of affordable loans and grants, with the intention of helping such businesses get investment ready.

The Real Farming Trust has set up the new Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme (LEAP) with help from Power to Change, the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Robert Fraser from the Real Farming Trust commented, “We understand the challenges that food and farming enterprises face in raising finance, whether that is waiting for a grant to come through or having the funds to grow and develop when you have no assets to secure against.

“LEAP will provide a critical next step for community-based agroecological enterprises that have relied on grant funding to date and who have had nowhere to go to finance their onward development.”

Interested communities can apply for 5-year unsecured loans between £25,000 and £100,000, and a grant worth 18% of the loan amount. Mentoring support will also be provided to help successful groups develop their business plans.

Jenny Sansom, Programme Manager at Power to Change said, “We’re looking to work with community businesses who understand the needs of local people and have already built up their local community of support, but are not yet investment ready.

“Getting a loan can seem daunting but can really help your organisation develop to the next stage. Therefore, Power to Change has helped fund the Real Farming Trust to run a mentoring programme, to specifically help support you through this stage.”

The programme is currently open for applications. You can find out more and apply here.