A boost for the Sussex rural economy

Burning Sky

Grants worth almost £153,000 have been awarded to five local projects that will help grow the rural economy and create seven full time jobs.

The funding has been awarded through LEADER – part of the Rural Development Programme for England - to local rural businesses in West Sussex and Lewes District.

LEADER grants can be used to help with a wide range of capital investments to boost the economy and this first batch of projects includes:

  • Renovation and conversion of a disused farm building into bunkhouse style accommodation for cyclists and walkers using the South Downs Way;
  • Forestry equipment to help meet the increasing demand for woodchip for biomass boilers;
  • A new website and e-commerce system to improve the customer experience and increase online sales;
  • Building luxury accommodation lodges on a vineyard to encourage the growing interest in wine tourism across Sussex;
  • Expansion of a micro-brewery to enable increased production of their specialist craft beers. 

The Central Sussex and Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain Local Action Groups (LAGs) have a total of £2.5 million to support projects in rural West Sussex, Lewes District and Hayling Island.

Small rural businesses, farmers, foresters and rural community groups can apply for LEADER grants of up to £50,000 to carry out projects that will create jobs, help businesses to grow and benefit the rural economy. 

Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “The LEADER grants programme very much supports the Council’s priorities to continue to invest in our local economy. We are delighted that two businesses based in Lewes district were successful in this recent round.

“LEADER offers a much-needed helping hand to our local farmers, growers, foresters and small rural businesses and community groups to help them to develop and flourish.”

Applications for LEADER grants can be made through West Sussex County Council, the local administering body.

For more information about the grants, eligibility criteria, and to apply, visit the website at www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/leadergrants

Alternatively, contact the LEADER Grants Team at West Sussex County Council on 0330 22 28001 or email rdpeleader@westsussex.gov.uk


Story published on 13 March 2017