Funding for rural businesses and community groups to create jobs

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Rural businesses and community groups are being urged to apply for funding to create jobs and grow the countryside economy.

Farmers, foresters and communities based in rural areas of West Sussex, Lewes district and Hayling Island can benefit from LEADER grant funding totalling around £2.6 million until September 2018, and possibly beyond.

Grants are available for capital investments for projects that will create jobs and grow the rural economy.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The LEADER fund is an important source of grants available to our many rural communities. It’s there to benefit and boost businesses and community groups.

“We know from the previous LEADER programme that this funding has been so very helpful for people developing their businesses and has been much appreciated.

“If you think you’d benefit from a grant, maybe you want to recruit new staff or grow your business, then I would encourage you to apply. Who knows where that extra bit of funding could take you and your business.”

Under the current scheme, a total of £380,000 has so far been awarded to 13 projects in this region, creating 25 full time jobs over the next three years.

One such project is local wine producer Tinwood Wine Estate, near Chichester, who invested their grant in the construction of three vineyard lodges – giving visitors the choice of an overnight stay and a five star view of the vines.

Art Tukker, estate owner, said: “We first saw the concept in Australia and New Zealand and thought it would be wonderful to bring back here.

“Without the funding our business plan would never have been able to get off the ground.”

The owners of Holmbush Farm, near Crawley, were another successful applicant who used their grant to purchase a forestry harvester head with an on-board computer plus hard-standing at their wood-yard. The project has increased the volume of woodchip and green waste able to be processed and has created an additional full-time job.

For more information and for details on how to apply, visit the Business West Sussex website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk or call the LEADER team on 0330 22 28001.

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