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The fund is specifically aimed at supporting farm businesses, farm diversifications, rural businesses and rural communities, through boosting productivity and creating rural job opportunities. £110 million worth of funding will be made available in April 2023, with Local Authorities distributing the funds. The Business Barn will keep you updated on when and how to apply.
The fund is set to support a range of rural businesses, by helping with:
• Converting agricultural buildings to assist the creation and expansion of rural leisure and tourism businesses such as wedding venues, pet health and equine venues, and leisure facilities. • Developing, restoring or refurbishing local refurbish local natural, cultural and heritage assets and sites including visitor boards and visitor centres.
• Creating and upgrading new footpaths and cycle paths, particularly in areas of health need.
• Funding for resilience infrastructure and nature-based solutions that protect local businesses and community areas from natural hazards including flooding and coastal erosion.
• Creation of multifunctional rural business hubs providing shared workspace and networking opportunities for rural businesses
• Capital grants for provision of gigabit capable digital infrastructure at rural hubs for community use, for example: village halls, pubs and post offices.
• Capital grants to enable people to develop volunteering and social action projects locally.
With an emphasis on job safeguarding, job creation, and improving local facilities, the fund is set to help a wide range of rural communities and businesses.
The announcement of the fund coincides with the release of the government’s ‘Delivering for Rural England’ report which sets out how “rural interests will be at the heart of the government’s approach to levelling up”.
Levelling up secretary Greg Clark said: “This major investment in rural businesses will help us boost the countryside economy and close the rural productivity gap. “It’s our mission to spread opportunity across the whole of the UK and this funding will help us do just that.”
Lord Benyon, the minister for rural affairs said: “We are addressing the rural productivity gap, levelling up opportunities and outcomes, and looking after the rural areas and countryside that so many of us are proud to call home”.
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