Rural business grants now available in Chorley

Source: Chorley Council 19 September 2023

Expressions of interest are now open for rural businesses across Chorley to apply for grant funding through the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF).

Chorley Council has been awarded funding from the Government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund to help supercharge growth and create employment opportunities for the borough’s rural areas. A total of £400,000 has been allocated to support new and existing rural enterprises and initiatives such as farm diversification, projects to boost rural tourism, and community infrastructure projects including renewable energy and net zero, all contributing to the wider economy.

Rural businesses are being encouraged to apply for this grant funding through the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF), where eligible applicants can apply for up to 40% of their total project costs with a minimum spend of £50,000 (40% grant of £20,000) and a maximum grant of £100,000 (spend of £250,000).

The fund will be managed by Lancashire County Council on behalf of Chorley Council and expressions of interest are being taken now until October 6, 2023.

Projects can include funding for the diversification of farm businesses outside of agriculture; tourism, accommodation, food and drink and improved infrastructure for businesses.

There is a three-stage application process for local businesses looking to apply.

First, any business interested must email [email protected] with their postcode and a very brief outline of their project to determine whether they are located within an eligible rural postcode and their project meets local priorities.

Secondly, once eligibility is confirmed, they will be invited to submit an Expression of Interest form to check that their project meets local priorities and fits within the timeframe for the programme.

All applicants invited to proceed to full application will be expected to attend a business planning session and will also receive 1-2-1 specialist support.

Chris Sinnott, Chief Executive of Chorley Council, said, “We know the importance of our rural communities and how the businesses based in those areas are vital to the success of the borough’s wider economy.

“I am so pleased that Chorley Council has been able to secure this funding to support existing and emerging businesses, and I have no doubt that this boost will enhance growth and create opportunities for even more local people.

“Chorley for a long time has been an incredibly exciting place to do business and it’s not just for those in the more urban areas. This funding has meant that businesses from all corners of the borough can get access to support for their growth.”

“I encourage all eligible businesses to get involved and to apply right away.”

Simon Lawrence, director of Growth and Regeneration at Lancashire County Council, welcomed the move. He said: “The Rural England Prosperity Fund will provide a substantial boost for growth and employment opportunities for Lancashire’s rural areas.

“We believe this grant funding will help new and emerging rural businesses and initiatives and community infrastructure, supporting Lancashire’s wider economy.

“We are delighted that this help for growth in our rural areas has been awarded, and we encourage businesses to submit Expressions of Interest if they would like to apply for a slice of this grant funding.”

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