Rural business people and community groups are invited to apply for grants of between £7,500 and £75,000 as part of a scheme to boost East Leicestershire’s economy and create jobs.
LEADER, part of the European Union’s Rural Development Programme, was launched locally in 2015 to support rural business and tourism across Melton and Harborough, as well as parts of Charnwood and Blaby.
The current call for applications is due to end on April 30 and the money can be used to increase farm productivity or diversification, support small and micro businesses, boost rural tourism, provide rural services, provide cultural and heritage activity or increase forestry productivity.
The East Leicestershire LEADER project manager, Richard Erwin-Jones, said: “I would encourage local businesses and communities to consider how LEADER funding could support their projects.
“Since launching the programme in 2015, LEADER has supported 15 projects across Leicestershire, distributing £400,000 of funding.
“There is still £900,000 of funding available for projects up until March 2019, so now is the time to put plans into action”.
Projects that have been previously successfully accessing LEADER funding include the K&A Watchorn and Sons Farm, at Waltham, which received funding to buy farming equipment.
Will Watchorn, from the farm, said: “Gaining LEADER funding to purchase a cattle handling system has drastically improved our efficiency and improved safety for our cattle.”
An open evening will be held on Wednesday March 21, between 6pm and 8pm at The Coplow Centre, Uppingham Road, at Billesdon, to promote the opportunities available through the programme.
Melton Council leader, Councillor Joe Orson said: “If you have a project in mind and would like to find out more about LEADER funding, come to the East Leicestershire Open Evening and receive information and advice in relation to submitting an expression of interest and meet the team on hand to support you each step of the way.”
The open evening will also include studies from local businesses that have previously received LEADER funding, as well as showcase other funding and business support opportunities available now.
To book a free place call 0116 3056298 or visit: http://www.oakleaves.org.uk/leader-news.html