EU Funding for Rural Areas

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A new tranche of grants for rural development has been released by the European Union called LEADER funding. The programme is managed by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and is being co-ordinated locally by Cheshire Community Action.

Whilst past LEADER programmes have been socially/community biased, this one is firmly
economics led and has to focus on growth and job creation. A proposed breakdown of the funding priorities is as follows:

Support for:

  • Increased farm productivity 20%
  • Micro and small enterprises and farm diversification 40%
  • Increasing forestry productivity 10%
  • Rural tourism 20%
  • Rural services 10%
  • Cultural and heritage activity 10%

The Parish Council has looked at the programme but feels that our main requirement, a
village car park, would not meet the conditions of growth and job generation specifically enough. Similarly the Community Centre's desire to improve facilities are unlikely to create new jobs, even though the changes would help sustain existing local businesses and create an attractive environment for rural life.

However, there may well be organisations, businesses and individuals in our area who would like to take advantage of this funding . For more information go to www.cheshire action.org.uk or call 01606 350042 and ask to speak to John Heselwood, who is co-ordinating the Cheshire response.

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