Communities urged to get a shout in for a share of £4.5m funding
- Credit: Archant
Communities are being urged to apply for a share of £4.5m funding to develop projects in rural Norfolk and north Suffolk.
Almost £3m has already been allocated to rural businesses through an initiative managed by Norfolk County Council.
And there is still time to apply for the remaining funding.
The programme aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas by strengthening the economy by helping micro and small businesses to create and sustain employment and improve competitiveness, particularly in the agriculture and forestry sectors.
The funding is from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) delivered via Defra. In the UK this fund is managed by the Rural Payments Agency and distributed via the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
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The Local Action Groups (LAGs) deliver the funding under the 'LEADER' approach, which decentralises the decision and funding powers allowing the partnership to support the rural economy at a local level.
The LAGs comprise representatives from businesses, community organisations and public authorities.
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Keith Kiddie, chairman of Norfolk County Council's business and property committee, said: 'The recent launch of Norfolk's Rural Strategy has highlighted the importance of investment in our rural economy and, in particular, of seeking to replace EU funding after the UK leaves the EU. It's imperative that we take advantage of the opportunity this LEADER funding presents.'
Businesses to benefit from the funding include Neil Thompson Boats, Wells-next-the-sea, which can now create a new marine centre at The Old Limeworks
Meanwhile, a grant was given to a community in Wereham to help build a new accredited Passivhaus village hall.
Machined Precision Components Ltd, Watton, had a grant approved for a new computer numerical control machining centre.
And Hall Farm Poultry House, Repps with Bastwick can now buy state-of-the-art equipment to make its soon-to-be finished poultry house more efficient and productive in the handling and packing of free range eggs
Since Norfolk and north Suffolk's LEADER programme started, the five LAGs (Brecks, Broads, Waveney Valley, Wensum and Coast and West Norfolk) have awarded almost £3m to 69 rural projects.
More information can be found at www.norfolklags.co.uk