New Investment for Businesses & Communities in rural Surrey
Over a million pounds will be made available to rural businesses and communities across Surrey under the new LEADER Programme announced this week financed from the EU and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra).
LEADER funding which forms part of Defra’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) will be available in rural Surrey this summer (2015). With a pot of cash of £1.6 million to be bid for, businesses and community groups have the opportunity to use the money to support jobs and growth in the rural economy.
During the last LEADER Programme period 101 rural projects were supported which delivered over 60 jobs, supported over 250 businesses and levered in over £2 million private sector match funding between 2007 and 2013.
Hugh Broom, Farmer and Chairman of Rural Surrey LEADER LAG said “”It’s great news for the rural economy in Surrey. Our Rural Businesses have to cope with some huge challenges in terms of costs and pressure on infrastructural resources.
However we are also very unique in terms of our landscape and closeness to both our Local and London Market. The funding the LEADER programme can give is just the boost our rural entrepreneurs and communities need to help them realise their potential from the many opportunities available to them.”
LAGs are made up of local partners and stakeholders who have a vested interest in the wellbeing of rural areas and include local businesses, National Farmers Union, Country Land and Business Association, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Surrey Hills AONB, local community groups and public authorities like Surrey County Council and the Borough/District/Unitary bodies. Surrey County Council will be the Accountable body for Rural Surrey LEADER.
Rob Fairbanks, Director of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty added “The Surrey Hills LEADER Programme was a great success in supporting our rural businesses and industries like forestry that is helping to bring woodlands back into active management. I am delighted that further funding has been secured for a wider Rural Surrey programme. This will provide a boost for investment and employment opportunities in the land based and tourism sectors which are so important in conserving and enhancing the enjoyment of our much valued countryside.”
Councillor Mike Goodman said “Leader, within Surrey has played an important part in securing economic growth and the creation of new jobs in the rural areas. It is encouraging news to hear that the latest Rural Surrey Local Development Strategy has been accepted. The programme has been awarded £1.642M to fund projects over the next 6 years and increased rural areas of the county now benefit from LEADER funding. This extra funding to the rural sector will continue to contribute significantly to local job creation, rural economic growth and environmental protection”.
Funding under Leader is available to rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers, landowners, environmental organisations, cultural, heritage and community providers, as well as voluntary and charitable organisations to develop projects that will assist, strengthen and develop the local economy and deliver jobs, growth and community benefits in rural Surrey.
For further information on Rural Surrey LEADER, email: [email protected] or Tel: 0208 541 8697.