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Deadline for rural grants extended

A funding scheme to help rural business in Shropshire grow and create new jobs has extended its deadline for applications.

Grants worth up to £170,000 are available for new initiatives that will lead to economic growth or that will help farmers diversify into non-agricultural activities through DEFRA’s latest round of funding in its Growth Programme. Funding could be used to construct or improve business premises or to buy new equipment and machinery.

Businesses now have until May 31 to register an expression of interest for a grant – an extension of the original January 2018 deadline.

Up to £1 million is on offer through the Business Development Grant, which is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). This is in addition to the RDPE funding already available for tourism and food and drink businesses.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, which delivers the programme, is keen to hear from farming business looking to diversify into non-agricultural activities and environmental and land based rural businesses and retailers that want to expand.

Grants start at a minimum of £35,000 (£20,000 in north Shropshire) and go up to a maximum of £170,000. Applicants can apply for up to 40 per cent of eligible costs. 

Roger Phillips, chairman of the Marches ESIF committee, said: “It is important to recognise the important role that farmers and small rural businesses play in our local economy.

“Our participation in this DEFRA grant scheme will help those rural businesses deliver their growth aspirations, which in turn will support their rural communities.” 

Expressions of Interest for funding bids must be submitted by May 31, 2018 although they will be considered as and when they are made.

For more information and advice on how to apply, contact the Marches Growth Hub on 0345 6000 727 or email enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk

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