North Devon+ launches Government's Rural England Prosperity Fund support schemes
A new round of business and community support grants has been announced by North Devon+, the region's economic delivery partner for both North Devon and Torridge District Councils.
Grants ranging from £2,000 to £25,000 to support rural jobs and improve local facilities are now available. The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) grants will be funded by both local authorities through central government's wider UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKPSF) as part of the levelling up agenda.
The Rural Fund is integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which supports activities that specifically address the particular challenges rural areas face. The business schemes are aimed at small and micro businesses, with up to 50 employees with a turnover of less than £10m. The principal objective of the REPF scheme is to provide funding to assist with the purchase of capital items such as equipment or software that will help businesses to create jobs or introduce new technologies or processes with a focus on net zero. There will be a requirement for match funding of 20-30% depending on the size of the grant and adherence to other terms and conditions.
Eligible local business and social enterprises will be able to apply under three key Investment Priorities, which include:
- Small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas focussed on funding for net zero infrastructure, and diversification of farm businesses outside of agriculture.
- Growing the local social economy and supporting innovation. This call is only for community businesses and social enterprises.
- Developing and promoting the visitor economy.
The grant programme will be run in small rounds for each investment theme over this year and next year. Businesses will only be able to apply for that investment theme grant during the open window for applications. Grant eligibility will be determined by the address where the business is registered, which is the address on business bank statements and which local authority the business pays rates to.
Lead Member for Economy and Estates at Torridge District Councillor Bob Hicks said:
"This is a broad range of support packages for our business community to benefit from, offering assistance in helping them diversify or grow their businesses or to help them to adopt new technology and processes. With this in mind I would recommend that firms study the packages on offer carefully or seek the advice of the expert advisors at North Devon+ in working out which option would best suit their needs and aspirations.
"There's also support for community businesses and social enterprises run either entirely or substantially for the benefit of the communities they serve. So, as well as promoting business growth there will be benefits for local residents though the support aimed at growing the social economy, which is being launched at the same time."
More information on the programme including eligibility criteria, guidance, application details and timetables are available via the following link https://northdevonplus.co.uk/our-services/rural-england-prosperity-fund-repf-grant-programme/