What are Rural England Prosperity Fund grants? And can you get one?

House in rural area

As EU funding becomes a distant memory, the UK government has introduced new methods of supporting projects. The UKSPF offers grants worth a whopping £2.6bn across the UK, but a smaller fund has been launched to help rural areas. It’s called the Rural England Prosperity Fund and it gives out capital grants to help in the levelling-up process. It has a smaller pot of £110 million but the funding is available now through your local authority, with funding running for 2 years from April 2023 to March 2025.

In our area, £701,000 has been ear-marked for Craven and £400,000 allocated for the Bradford region.

The process aims to be simple: smaller grants can be applied for online. Larger grants are applied for in a 2-stage process: the applicant first puts forward an ‘Expression of Interest’ followed by (if successful) an application. And good news for our area – the West Yorkshire portal has been acclaimed as a very good one – simple, easy to use, informative.

Rural areas are classified as hamlets, villages or rural areas with less than 10,000 people or rural hubs with less than 30,000 people.

The government’s snappily named Magic Mapping Tool helpfully guides you as to whether your area is eligible:

  • Riddlesden is not included but West Morton is
  • Oakworth is not included but Haworth is
  • and the whole of Skipton and Craven is included and therefore eligible for REPF grants.

Large parts of West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire are included apart from industrial and urban areas.

Details of the North Yorkshire offer, at this time, are unavailable pending a meeting on July 4 2023. But West Yorkshire have moved forwards faster:

  • They will support small businesses with up to 50 employees
  • Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available
  • There are 3 key themes:
    • Business Development
    • Food Processing
    • Tourism / Visitor Economy
  • The Fund will run until 31 March 2025, or until funding is fully allocated (whichever is sooner).

Projects that the funding could cover include:

  • Barn converted for staff accommodation
  • Creation of farm shop or restaurant
  • EV chargers
  • Renewable energy installations
  • Conversion of unused agricultural buildings into holiday lets
  • Improved rural internet (as long as it doesn’t conflict with the government’s flagship programme, Project Gigabit).

So, if you have an idea to develop or diversify your rural businesses, create or safeguard jobs, introduce new technology, launch new products or work in new markets, it might be worth a look. Good luck!

Further reading: North Yorkshire

https://edemocracy.northyorks.gov.uk/documents/s15385/Rural%20England%20Prosperity%20Fund%20Report.pdf

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/community-and-volunteering/grants-and-funding/uk-shared-prosperity-fund

Further reading: West Yorkshire

https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/growing-the-economy/uk-shared-prosperity-fund/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-rural-england-prosperity-fund/

We found the link at the very bottom of this page – the powerpoint presentation very helpful.

Further reading: government:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rural-england-prosperity-fund-prospectus

For more information and a chat about what AWB Charlesworth can do for your business, contact Janine Eaglesfield on 01756 692861 or email janine.eaglesfield@awbclaw.co.uk

 5 July 2023

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