Levelling Up agenda targets rural issues

Through the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) the Government hopes to deliver part of its Levelling Up agenda that targets rural issues replacing previous LEADER grants.

This includes issues such as low productivity, poor connectivity and access to key services. By providing £110 million in the financial years 2023/24 and 2024/25 for capital projects,  to support local businesses and communities. One example would be farm businesses looking to diversify income streams or community infrastructure that provides essential services to local communities should also qualify for funding.

Projects should also contribute to wider UK emissions reduction and environmental improvement targets, including the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The REPF illustrates three example projects, previously funded under the EU LEADER programme: a £15,500 investment in farm glamping facilities; £40,000 for new machinery for a rural furniture-making business; £11,500 for the modernisation of a cricket club’s facilities.

The delivery of this funding broadly follows the LEADER model: where central government provides funding to local authorities, who will then award grants in their area through a local body. Local authorities are encouraged to engage with other stakeholders in their area. REPF funding cannot support projects that are already partly grant funded. Match-funding is encouraged, with contributions from other public and private investors.

The submission period runs from 3 October 2022 to 30 November 2022 for local authorities, with grants being awarded from 1 April 2023, with all funding to be allocated by 31 March 2025. These applications can be made through your local authority, who are currently in the process of sorting out the delivery of this funding with Central Government.

William Young Director at Newton LDP “We are now getting closer to establishing the framework for making applications to assist in the delivery of capital projects and grow your business and diversify incomes. This should provide a much needed stimulus for both rural business and communities to grow the local economy particularly in the current high cost environment”.