£2million rural funding going where it is needed
Christmas is a time for celebration, and the Fieldfare Local Action Group has been doing just that as it reports on its activities in support of rural businesses in 2009. This week, the group has reported good progress in its remit to award grants from its £2m ‘pot’ of LEADER funding for the Winchester and East Hampshire areas.
Andrew Gordon, Chair of the Local Action Group (LAG), announces, “The LAG has been ‘in business’ for just nine months, but so far we have offered over £330,000 of grant funding to support 20 projects across the two districts. We are already receiving positive feedback about the difference that this funding has made to people’s quality of life and the long term viability of their rural business”
The Programme Manager, Ken Brown, has been helping local farmers, foresters, rural businesses and tourism providers to explore how the Fieldfare LEADER funding opportunity might be able to help them get their project ideas off the ground. Ken is encouraged by the number of enquiries that he receives on a daily basis, “The diversity of projects that people want to develop is exciting. LEADER funding has supported rural childcare projects, added value to farm products, improved community buildings, encouraged energy efficiency and helped young people start their own businesses.”
LEADER is funding secured from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) through the South East Development Agency on behalf of Defra and the European Union.
Note to Editors: The LEADER "Fieldfare" programme is lead by a Local Action Group with the support of Winchester City and East Hampshire District Councils. The Local Action Group includes representatives from the business, community and both councils. The Chairman is Andrew Gordon. Winchester City Council is represented by Cllr Robert Humby and East Hampshire District Council by Cllr Richard Millard. Winchester City Council is the "accountable body" for the programme in this area.