LEADER programme team reaches out to rural businesses

LEADER programme team reaches out to rural businesses The Fieldfare programme management team was recently on hand at the Alresford show to help give out grants to rural businesses.

Local farmers, foresters, rural enterprises and community organisations have been finding out about the East Hampshire and Winchester LEADER funding programme, and learning how it could help them to get their projects off the ground.

LEADER funding can be used to provide added value to farm diversification projects, establishing new or developing existing rural businesses, modernisation of agricultural buildings, village developments, rural heritage and projects supporting tourism.  An introduction event is planned for Tuesday 6 October at INTECH, near Winchester from 2pm, where potential applicants can find out more. Please call 01962 848311 to book your place.

Andrew Gordon, Chair of the Fieldfare Local Action Group which allocates the grant was pleased with the contacts made at the Alresford Show: “The LEADER team spoke to more than eighty people about the chance to ‘grab a grant’ of up to £50,000. It is always exciting to learn about local business ideas and to be able to encourage that entrepreneurship through grant funding. LEADER funding presents so many opportunities for our rural areas”.

“ I would encourage everyone to take a look at the local LEADER web pages at www.winchester.gov.uk/leaderfunding, attend the forthcoming seminar on 6th October, or contact the team direct on 01962 848588.  The money must be spent, and we want the local rural community to benefit as much as possible.”

Cllr George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council is keen to share the funding with the local community: “We are all looking forward to seeing some excellent work as a result of the LEADER funding stream. Our friendly programme team are always keen to make the process of applying for a grant as quick and easy as possible.”

Cllr Richard Millard, portfolio holder for local economy at East Hampshire District Council, is encouraging everyone to take advantage of the funding stream: "This funding stream is a fantastic initiative which is aimed at helping rural businesses survive the current tough economic
climate. Businesses have already started to benefit from the grants and have been able to start new and exciting projects because of them. The seminar is a great way to learn more about how you could benefit and I would urge you to come along and find out more."

Fieldfare Local Action Group has been awarded £2million LEADER funding from SEEDA on behalf of Defra and the EU. The funding comes from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), and is aimed at assisting rural businesses, especially farming and forestry related businesses, and the communities around them.  The money is available to applicants in the East Hampshire and Winchester districts, apart from the urban centres of Winchester city, Alton, Whitehill-Bordon, Petersfield and Horndean.

Find out more information about LEADER funding on www.winchester.gov.uk/leaderfunding or contact Ken Brown on 01962 848 588 or email kbrown@winchester.gov.uk