Rural Funding Event at Reaseheath College

Rural businesses in Cheshire East can apply for a share of a £5.4 million via three significant funding streams in 2018.

The funding boost – across Cheshire and Warrington – was announced at a forum at Reaseheath College, Nantwich.

It was hosted by Cheshire East Council, Cheshire East’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Rural Payments Agency.

The programme for England has launched a number of grant opportunities, now open for applications from businesses across Cheshire.

Farmers, foresters, enterprise communities and land managers can apply for business growth and development grants from a £2.4m pot of money allocated to the ‘Leader’ programme, the Cheshire-wide scheme which distributes European funding in rural communities.

Another £2.4m is available for business development, food processing and tourism through the Growth Programme, administered by the Rural Payments Agency on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

This scheme is more generous and covers up to 40% of overall project costs for an eligible application.

Businesses can also source faster broadband connectivity through a £600,000 voucher scheme worth up to £4,000 per company, as part of the Connecting Cheshire Digital Plus Programme.

Cllr George Hayes, chairman of the council’s Skills and Growth Company, said: “We are keen to see rural businesses enjoy an efficient broadband service and I would urge any companies considering expanding in the near future, to make contact and benefit from our support.”

The Country Land and Business Association’s (CLA) most recent survey names Cheshire as the best county in England in which to run a rural business.

Philip Posnett, chair of the Cheshire branch of the CLA, said: “This funding is very welcome news to our members who are always grateful for any support to help them expand their businesses or set up new businesses.

“This support will help and encourage our members to employ people and create a diverse and prosperous rural economy.”

The council and its Skills and Growth Company bids for grants, supports businesses and sources property in rural areas.

Contact the service on [email protected] or call 0300 123 5001.

(Pic: l to r – Mandy Sibthorpe of Cheshire ‘Leader’ programme; Francis Lee of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership; Rachel Ellis-Jones of Reaseheath College; Cllr Rachel Bailey Leader, Cheshire East Council; Craig Bradley of Rural Payments Agency; Dr Janet Maughan of OverWater Marina).

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