Funding boost available for rural businesses and communities

Posted on: 5 October 2017

Rural businesses and communities in North Devon and Torridge are being invited to apply for a funding boost.

North Devon+ have secured £2.3 million pounds of European funding for Torridge and North Devon through the LEADER 5 Rural Development Programme*.  This funding is available to existing businesses or to help get new businesses or community projects off the ground within rural areas across the two districts (excluding Barnstaple, Bickington and Roundswell).

Projects should be based within the eligible area and also fit within one of the 6 priorities:

  1. Support to increase farm productivity
  2. Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  3. Support for rural tourism
  4. Provision of rural services
  5. Support for cultural and heritage activity
  6. Support for increasing forestry productivity

One business owner who successfully applied for a grant was Tim Cheffings of Downe Farm Event Centre, near Witheridge.  Tim says, “Thanks to a LEADER 5 Grant, we were able to complete a project that has enhanced our facility hugely, making it rival some of the best equestrian training facilities in the country. After completing the project a few months ago, we are now starting to see the benefits in terms of increased finances for the business, as well as fulfilling a much needed requirement for the local equestrian community, especially those who compete regularly and seek ongoing training whatever the weather”.

Grants are also available to help community projects such as Woolsery Community Hall, who recently received a grant from LEADER 5 towards an extension. This was needed to provide a realistic and practical area for social functions, as the previous layout was not satisfactory. Brian Butler, President of the Trustees says, “We now have a superb additional space, which has already been used for meetings, weddings, christenings, parties, family functions, live music, and also a pool table to accommodate our 2 teams. This has all resulted in additional income from hire charges and bar takings, which will support our busy hall in the long term. We could not have done this without the support of LEADER5 and their dedicated team.”

For more information, to register your ideas for a project and help with the application process contact the LEADER 5 team at North Devon+ on 01237 426 423 or email

Alternatively, visit their website for more information:

*LEADER is the Local Action part of the Rural Development Programme for England. It is funded by European grant from the Common Agricultural Policy and by Defra.

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