A funding programme to boost rural productivity and create jobs has reopened, with at least £35million available for projects involving food processing, rural business development and rural tourism infrastructure.

The  RDPE Growth Programme has reopened to expressions of interest from all of the 36 LEP areas where the grants have previously been available.

The fund’s overall budget could increase to £50m to fund worthy projects.

For this funding round of the Growth Programme, the minimum grants request has come down to £20,000 from £35,000, meaning that more small or micro-businesses may be eligible for a grant for their projects.

The proposed new calls will operate in a very similar way to  the previous round. There are a few changes to note.

  • The minimum grant for all 3 themes is now £20,000 (previously £35,000)
  • The maximum grant for Business Development is €200,000 as state aid is de minimis – currently around £175,000
  • The maximum grant for commercial projects under Tourism Infrastructure is £ €200,000 again the state aid is de minimis – currently around £175,000
  • The maximum grant for non-commercial Tourism Infrastructure (M7.5) is also capped at €200,000 though the intervention rate and state aid used will differ depending on the activity. Please see the Tourism Infrastructure handbook for more detail on the grant rates for different types of project.
  • The maximum grant for Food Processing is capped at £750,000 for projects where the outputs are Annex I products.  Where the output of the project is non-Annex I products will usually be limited to €200,000.  Please see the Food Processing Handbook for more detail on grant rates for different types of project.

Please refer to the Handbooks for more information.

Key Dates

  • EOI application window will be open  Monday 4 November to midnight Sunday 16 February 2020

Relaunch Activity

  • RPA Rural Development Team will work with LEPs to schedule EOI workshops within their areas to help potential applicants understand the scheme.
  • RPA Rural Development Team led workshops to provide advice on completing Expressions of Interest have been scheduled in various regional RPA offices. To book onto one of these workshops individuals will need to follow this link to register their attendance via the Eventbrite event system.
  • Please note it is not compulsory to attend a workshop. Information on how to submit an EOI can be found on the link below.

Information points & Contact details