Fund to support rural life in Lancashire
Rural companies in Lancashire are being encouraged to apply for a share of £3.8m to grow their business.
Lancashire County Council has announced the funding as the next stage of the Lancashire LEADER programme 2015-2020.
The funding can support a range of activities such as business development, farming, rural services, culture and heritage, and forestry.
The funding can be used for a variety of different uses such as buying equipment and business expansion – as long as projects involve business growth, job creation or both.
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of the county council, said: "We're calling on rural businesses and groups to apply for this funding that will help them to create new jobs and boost the local economy.
"We've previously supported a wide range of rural companies and organisations across the county, and want to help more this time around.
"The current round of funding closes towards the end of January, so people are encouraged to apply straight away."
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, added: "We're particularly pleased that this year's funding could support cultural and heritage projects, and the provision of rural services for local people.
"The LEADER programme encourages the involvement of local rural communities. Decisions on which projects to fund are taken by local representatives from businesses, the public and community organisations. Their local knowledge and expertise is used to decide how funding is allocated in their area."
One company which has previously received support is Hollin House Green Farm in Aughton.
Margaret Webster from Hollin House Green Farm said: "We've supplied dirty potatoes to the crisping industry for many years and in more recent times their specifications have changed to wanting the crop washed, so that the factories don't have a disposal cost for the soil and dirt.
"We applied for LEADER funding in the spring. We were successful and in September we installed our potato washing system.
"This new washing system enables us to meet the ever-demanding specifications of our customers and offers us greater opportunities to supply more outlets.
"My advice to anyone considering applying is to talk to the project officers. Don't be afraid to ask questions and allow yourself enough time to go through the process. It will be worth it in the end, as up to 40% grant aid is a significant proportion of your project costs, especially in the current economic climate."
Farmyard Ales in Cockerham, near Lancaster, received 40% funding towards the building of a new micro-brewery, which will create five new jobs once it's open.
Other companies which have received this funding in the past year include:
• FB Eminson & Son, Tarleton
• Lovania Nurseries, Tarleton
• Box Tree Farm, Wennington, Lune Valley
To find out more about the funding and how it could help your business, contact Karen Lawrenson on 01772 538797 or Louise Kite on 01772 534134, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find out more details by visiting www.lancashire.gov.uk/rural-development.