Growing the rural economy

Press Release: 20/01/2014

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The Fieldfare Local Action Group (LAG) has already allocated over £1.5m of rural development grant funding to 134 rural projects and now has the opportunity to develop a proposal for more European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and other EU cash.

Announcing plans for 2014, Chair of the group David Webb wants to ensure that the local area maximises the opportunities offered from EU funding allocated to Hampshire.

He said:

2014 is an exciting and important opportunity for local people to help us secure funding. The funding - available from January 2015 - must be used to support projects that will boost economic growth, create new jobs and to improve the quality of life in our rural communities. With several million pounds of growth funding available locally we need to develop a strategy that demonstrates how local farming, businesses and communities can benefit from this cash and continue to contribute towards economic prosperity.

David is a local businessman and has been involved with the group from 2007 when the first funding proposal was developed. The group members are farmers, business owners, community organisations and representatives from the public sector.

Funding from the EAFRD is managed by Defra and delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme for England. Local Enterprise Partnerships have been told recently about their allocations of EU funds and these are also available to groups like Fieldfare to apply for.

There are currently 63 similar groups operating across England and the Fieldfare group has a strong track record of securing funding and ensuring that local projects benefit.

Ken Brown is the Programme Manager for the group and said:

We have seen first hand how a rural development grant can create local jobs, support farming and help rural businesses generate economic growth. Since April 2009, the Fieldfare group has supported projects that created 126 new jobs and enabled projects to invest over £7m in the local economy.

The group will be holding a series of events and consultation opportunities during the next six months.

Further information about the Local Action Group and details about how to get involved in the consultation process can be obtained from the Programme team on 01962 848 311 or via email kbrown@Winchester.gov.uk Details can also be found at www.Fieldfareleader.org.uk