Grants to help boost West Sussex’s rural economy

Louise Goldsmith, pictured last year, said the LEADER offered a 'much-needed helping hand to local farmers, growers, foresters and small rural businesses and community groups'
Louise Goldsmith, pictured last year, said the LEADER offered a 'much-needed helping hand to local farmers, growers, foresters and small rural businesses and community groups'

Grants worth more than £150,000 have been awarded to five projects to help boost Sussex’s rural economy.

The funding has been awarded through LEADER – part of the Rural Development Programme for England - to rural businesses in West Sussex and the Lewes district, helping to create seven full-time jobs.

LEADER grants can be used to help with a wide range of capital investments to boost the economy and this first batch of projects includes:

• Renovation and conversion of a disused farm building into bunkhouse style accommodation for cyclists and walkers using the South Downs Way;

• Forestry equipment to help meet the increasing demand for woodchip for biomass boilers;

• A new website and e-commerce system to improve the customer experience and increase online sales;

• Building luxury accommodation lodges on a vineyard to encourage the growing interest in wine tourism across Sussex;

• Expansion of a micro-brewery to enable increased production of their specialist craft beers.

The Central Sussex and Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups (LAGs) have a total of £2.5m to support projects in rural West Sussex, Lewes district and Hayling Island.

Small rural businesses, farmers, foresters and rural community groups can apply for LEADER grants of up to £50,000 to carry out projects that will create jobs, help businesses to grow and benefit the rural economy.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The LEADER grants programme very much supports one of our main county council priorities to continue to invest in our local economy.

“LEADER offers a much-needed helping hand to our local farmers, growers, foresters and small rural businesses and community groups to help them to develop and flourish.

“Thanks to the previous round of LEADER funding a total of 141 jobs were created over a five year period. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the impact this second round of the programme will have across our county and further afield.”

Applications for LEADER grants can be made through the county council acting as the local administering body.

For more information about the grants, eligibility criteria, and to apply, visit www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/leadergrants

Or call the LEADER grants team at WSCC on 0330 22 28001 or email rdpeleader@westsussex.gov.uk

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