Eligible businesses are being urged to sign up to workshops which could help them get their hands on special funding to boost rural enterprise across the Marches. 

The events will provide advice and guidance to any business which meets the criteria to bid for funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) growth programme. 

Herefordshire Growth Hub Manager Lyndsay Francis said two workshops were being staged on December 10 and January 13 at the Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire’s base on Skylon Park in Hereford, with another event in Shrewsbury for Shropshire businesses on December 13. 

“The RDPE programme provides grants for rural business development, food processing businesses and those involved in rural tourism infrastructure,” Lyndsay said. 

“The grants, which are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, start at ÂŁ20,000 and applicants can apply for up to 40 per cent of eligible costs. The maximum grant for business development and tourism projects is limited to ÂŁ175,000, whilst the maximum grant for food processing projects is ÂŁ750,000.” 

The workshops will provide in-depth detail of the scheme and help eligible businesses navigate the two-part application process – for which the first deadline is February 16. 

To be eligible, your business must be based in Herefordshire, Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin and fall into the following categories: 

  • · Food Processing Priority – can support businesses of any size in rural or urban areas across the Marches and has a maximum grant of ÂŁ750k  
  • · Business Development/Tourism Priority – if you are a micro (0-9) or small (10-50) business, located within the rural Marches you may be eligible to apply – maximum grant ÂŁ175,000  

The two-hour December 10 workshop gets under way at 10am and more details and booking information can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/round-3-rural-development-programme-for-england-rdpe-rural-funding-workshop-tickets-81971710593

Details for the January 13 workshop, which starts at 2pm, are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/round-3-rural-development-programme-for-england-rdpe-rural-funding-workshop-tickets-81973776773

Details of the Shropshire workshop – at the University Centre Shrewsbury’s Guildhall base â€“ are available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rural-funding-workshop-how-to-complete-your-growth-programme-application-tickets-80830037819?aff=ebapi