Press release

£24 million Growth Programme for rural businesses and communities

New £24 million Growth Programme opens up opportunities for rural businesses and communities.

Growth Programme

With £24 million available this summer, the new Growth Programme is set to benefit rural communities by unlocking the huge potential for growth in the countryside, Farming Minister George Eustice announced today.

Applications for the grants have officially opened today and are set to give businesses a real boost by supporting projects that can make a big difference to the rural economy.

Local priorities have been established across the country meaning that this funding will be directly targeted at initiatives that will bring the biggest benefit for those local areas.

Opportunities could include helping people to expand or set up or new businesses, developing new food processing facilities and promoting tourism.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

By helping our rural entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential, the roll out of the Growth Programme is great news for our rural communities.

This £6.3 million of funding is going to support businesses, bring high-quality jobs to rural areas, boost rural productivity and grow the local economy.

Individual grants are worth upwards of £35,000 depending on the individual project and will be offered in 9 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). A further two rounds of the Growth programme are expected in August and September and the remaining LEP areas will be invited over the next few months to apply for grants to help them support their local rural communities.

LEPs are partnerships between local authorities and local businesses across England.

This £24 million is part of a package of initiatives over the next 6 years to unlock the economic potential of our rural areas.

Case study

The Cornish Scrumpy Company Ltd (Healeys) was awarded almost £1.3 million of funding in 2014 under the Rural Development Programme. Rural businesses are key to the rural economy and Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm in Cornwall is a good example of how funding can be used successfully.

This funding made it possible for Healeys to build new cider processing and bottling plant facilities along with a new visitor centre which opened earlier this year.

Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm

11 new jobs were created as a result and 6 new products or techniques introduced. They include a bottling line and the launch of a new low alcohol cider.

Joe Healey of Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm said:

The Rural Development Programme has been a fantastic opportunity for Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm.

We have expanded and developed new products and techniques, and since last year, we have been able to hire 11 more employees bringing strong employment growth to the local area.

These schemes are world class and I would encourage all rural businesses to apply for the Growth Programme.

Photo Credit: Joe Healey (Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm)

More information

  • This round of the Growth Programme is part of a planned package of spending for the Growth Programme, Countryside Productivity and LEADER

  • This planned package of schemes is worth over £450 million over the next 6 years

  • This scheme is just one part within the wider Rural Development Programme set to benefit many different aspects of rural life

  • With planned investment of around £3.5 billion into our rural economies by 2020, the Rural Development Programme will continue to be rolled out over the next 6 years

  • The Growth Programme is a competitive and targeted scheme. To make sure that the funding available is targeted where it can bring the biggest benefit, applications will be scored against a range of criteria, including local priorities. Applicants who address these priorities are more likely to receive funding.

  • More details on the Growth Programme can be found here: Growth Programme: grants for the rural economy

For more information on this press release, please contact Defra’s press office on 020 7238 1452 or out of hours on 0345 051 8486.

Published 27 July 2015