Local people secure funding to support the rural economy

Press Release: 02/03/2015

A programme to support farming and rural enterprises has secured £1.6m to enable new jobs and economic growth.

A group of volunteers called the Fieldfare Local Action Group consulted with people working and living in the rural areas of Eastleigh, East Hampshire and Winchester to identify opportunities to boost economic growth, create new jobs and to improve the quality of life in their communities.

The funding comes from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and is managed by Defra. Local people are empowered to identify where and how best this funding is allocated.

In 2009, Fieldfare secured £2m and has already supported 136 projects to create 126 new jobs and enabled projects to invest over £7m in the local rural economy.

Chair of Fieldfare, David Webb, said:

This is an amazing achievement and reflects the hard work and commitment of local people, partner organisations and the programme team. The new programme will deliver optimum value for money by identifying projects that will provide innovative and collaborative solutions to the barriers that we identified within the new strategy. The programme will focus on jobs and growth and we have ambitious objectives that aim to support 155 new projects and to create a further 95 new jobs.

Fieldfare will also work closely with Enterprise M3 and Solent Local Economic Partnerships to make best use of other funding for rural development and support for businesses.

Defra praised the approach taken by Fieldfare in delivering customer-focused workshops and events and the creative marketing through social media.

Ken Brown, Fieldfare Partnerships & Programme Manager, explained:

The local rural economy is strongly linked to our high quality landscape and environmental resources. The strategy has identified five key economies in the area. These are farming, tourism, local food and drink, forestry and enterprise.

The programme will open for applications in June 2015. Please contact us if you have a project that fits within the strategy and if you have local knowledge and expertise in the key sectors and would like to join the Fieldfare network.

Further information about Fieldfare and the LEADER programme can be found at www.Fieldfareleader.org.uk