New Scheme benefits Rural Accommodation

6 October 2010

Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB) is looking for more rural accommodation businesses across Lancashire, to benefit from £800,000 Rural Development Programme England (RDPE) funds through the Tourism Connect Scheme, following the success of local entrepreneurs Patrick and Julie Beaume, of the four star, Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston.

The project is delivered through the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) with Defra as the managing authority, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

Patrick and Julie, LBTB’s first successful applicants to the scheme, are now using RDPE funding to continue developing their 17th Century coaching inn, by adding eight new high quality bedrooms, a restaurant over-looking the River Wyre, a new kitchen and outside dining area.

Commenting on the project, Patrick Beaume said “This funding will allow us to fulfill our wishes to increase our accommodation capacity to the high standards we have set ourselves and have already demonstrated to our guests, with our first phase refurbishment” and continues “It is an exciting project that will ultimately benefit local tourism, suppliers, inhabitants and employment.”

RDPE funding is available to all rural accommodation sectors for high quality upgrades or for new four/five star accommodation; from serviced, to self-catering and caravan parks. The scheme offers capital grant assistance up to 40% or a maximum of £50K, to aid quality, capital enhancement projects.  It can also part fund professional, business planning advice and fund new training opportunities, to support their development plans.

LBTB’s Tourism Connect team has already seen interest from over twenty businesses but is keen to encourage more businesses to come forward. 

“The process requires the applicant to look closely at their future plans and support their application with a formal business plan. LBTB staff are on hand to assist the applicants at each step towards reaching their full potential” comments Director of Business Development, Steve Partington

“Our accommodation providers have always strived towards the highest quality accommodation and now, with the offer of real financial support, some will realise long held dreams for their business.  The resulting improvements across the county will further enhance our overall appeal as a short break and holiday destination.”

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Director of Tourism at the NWDA said:

“Tourism Connect is an excellent programme that allows tourism providers the opportunity to improve their facilities, increase competitiveness and raise productivity. Now more than ever, it is important that SMEs in the tourism sector are able to offer a high quality, value for money visitor product. This will ensure the visitor economy remains a major contributor to the wider economy, creating a compelling destination for the people who live, work and visit England’s Northwest.”

For further information on eligibility and how to apply contact: Tourism Connect Team at Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board on 01257 226600 tourismconnect@lbtbltd.com

The European Agricultural for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas

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Media enquiries: Anna Izza, Communications Executive, Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board on 01257 226614 or aizza@lbtbltd.com.

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