Funding Grants to Boost Rural Oxfordshire
Do you run or work for a rural business? Are you part of a project that can benefit the rural community?
The Oxfordshire LEADER program can provide grants to business or individuals who have ideas that would contribute to one or more of the following themes:
• Oxfordshire’s waterways – reviving the Thames and Oxford Canal in particular
• Local food – growing it, selling it and marketing it
• Woodland – managing our forests and developing a distribution network for timber and wood products
• Villages – creating economic activity to stop villages becoming dormant with little opportunities
To apply for a grant under the LEADER program, your business or idea needs to be based in rural Oxfordshire; if you’re not sure whether your business qualifies then there is a map available on gov.uk – just search for “LEADER map”. The grants are available from 2015 to 2020, with the first awards being made in June 2015.
The councillors involved in the project are looking forward to working with local businesses and meeting people who are looking to improve their area. Cllr John Cotton said: "This funding is fantastic news for rural communities across the county. We've already seen the previous scheme have a real benefit in southern Oxfordshire so it'll be interesting to see what projects come forward now”.
The previous scheme ran between 2008 and 2013, and £1.2 million in grants was provided for projects ranging from a microbrewery in an old farm building, to a cold store for turkey and goose sales, to moorings by the River Thames and new village shops. On top of this, the scheme attracted more than double this figure from private sector investment.
If you think your idea has what it takes, then why not apply? Cllr Elaine Ware said: “It is now very much up to local people and businesses to come up with projects that will boost their area and support the aims of the program”.
Grant applications will be assessed by a Local Area Group, which is a non-political group including public, private and community representatives to decide which projects will receive funding, as well as supporting and monitoring the projects. If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, then contact Amanda Holland via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07717 271909.
Related Articles: The Oxfordshire Agricultural Society Trust