Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Grants now available for West Lancashire Rural businesses!

  • Rural Business Grant Programme to support businesses in rural areas.
  • Grants have been made available from the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF)
  • Eligible businesses have until October 20th 2023 to submit an expression of interest

Expressions of interest are now open for rural businesses across West Lancashire to apply for grant funding through the Rural Business Grant Programme.

West Lancashire Borough Council has been awarded funding from the Rural England Prosperity Fund to help supercharge growth and create employment opportunities for the borough’s rural areas. Funds have been allocated to support new and existing rural enterprises and initiatives such as farm diversification, or projects to boost rural tourism, all contributing to the wider economy.

Rural businesses are being encouraged to apply for this grant funding through the Rural Business Grant Programme, where eligible businesses 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 West Lancashire Borough Council and expressions of interest can be submitted until Friday October 20th 2023.

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

There is a three-stage application process for local businesses looking to apply. Firstly, any business interested must email ruralprosperityfund@lancashire.gov.uk 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.

Once initial eligibility is confirmed, the business 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. Subject to approval, eligible businesses will then be invited to proceed to submit a full application, will be expected to attend a business planning session and will also receive 1-2-1 specialist support.

Councillor Rob Molly, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development & Regeneration, said "West Lancashire Borough Council welcomes this much needed funding from the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) to help support our rural businesses and communities. Funding will help drive growth and offer opportunities for businesses to diverse, safeguard jobs and contribute to increasing and sustaining the rural economy of West Lancashire".

"Protecting and sustaining the rural economy and landscape of West Lancashire is a key priority for this Council and we are looking forward to working in partnership with Lancashire County Council to deliver the West Lancashire Rural Grant Scheme."

Lancashire County Councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for Economic Development and Growth, welcomed the move "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."

For further information visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/repf