he Rural Economy Grant Scheme (REG), worth up to £60 million in total, was launched at the end of February. REG has been introduced under the Rural Development Program for England (RDPE) and adds to the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) launched in November 2011. REG provides support for eligible projects requesting between £25,000 and circa £1 million of grant.
The scheme provides grants to enable a significant transformation for five themes; Farm Competiveness, Investment in Rural Tourism, Forestry, Agri-Food and Micro Enterprise Support in Rural Growth Network Areas. Farm competiveness has three areas - Nutrient Management, Water Resource Management and Animal Health and Welfare.
Robert Hall, Director, Savills Agribusiness comments "The Rural Economy Grant Scheme appears a fantastic opportunity focussing on areas that could make a real difference to farming and rural business. For those with good eligible projects it will provide very important funding, giving the potential project a kick start, boosting growth, profits and competitiveness".
Savills is encouraging rural businesses to put forward their application. This is a 2 stage process; stage 1 requires an outline of the project to be submitted, detailing the need and demand for investment, how it will fit with the overall aims of the appropriate theme and what the benefits will be. Applications must be submitted by 5.00pm on 30th April 2012.
If the outline application is endorsed then applicants will be invited to put forward their full, more in depth application which requires a business plan and supporting evidence to help demonstrate the deliverability of the project.
Robert adds: "Savills has been successful in working with rural clients to access funding under many previous schemes, achieving a success rate of above 85% for clients. The scheme has limited funds and is competitive so it is essential that projects, business plans and evidence are all of a high quality."