Grant funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy

Grant funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy

02 October 2017

DEFRA have opened up calls for the next round of rural grants from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).  The grants can include business development and rural tourism infrastructure.  

The various strands differ in terms of what proportion they will fund and who can apply but, for instance, non-profit making projects grants are available to cover 100% of the costs.  Separate guidance on each strand can be viewed at

In summary, the priorities for Business Development suggests priority will be given to projects that:

  • Allow farming businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities
  • Create new services and / or manufacture new products
  • Increase the productivity of the applicant business
  • Start or increase exporting of products by the applicant business
  • Create 1 full time equivalent job for each £25,000 of grant investment

Whilst priorities for Rural Tourism Infrastructure state “These grants are for capital investments to develop and grow tourism in rural areas” priority will be given to projects that:

  • Create year round instead of seasonal jobs
  • Create new and expand existing visitor attractions to bring more visitors to the area and increase overnight stays
  • Create or develop infrastructure for outdoor activities such as developing multi-user pathways for cycling and walking
  • Develop visitor attractions associated with heritage, food and drink or outdoor leisure activities
  • Create new or upgrade existing visitor accommodation
  • Create 1 Full Time Equivalent jobs for each £25,000 of grant investment
  • Create employment opportunities for the young and unemployed

Sheffield City Region receives an allocation of the overall fund and DEFRA will consult them on strategic fit with local priorities (outlined above) so it is worth checking the back of each of the guidance documents to confirm SCR’s priorities and what the minimum and maximum grants are.  SCR are particularly interested in projects that create jobs.

The deadline for expressions of interest is the 31 January 2018 but funding is allocated on a first come first served basis as part of the SCR allocation.  Decisions on the awarding of grants will be made from the outset of bids being received, so please don’t wait until the deadline as the fund may well have been allocated by then. 

If you have an exceptional project that DEFRA want to fund but SCR’s portion is fully allocated, there is the possibility that DEFRA will fund it from elsewhere but we would still recommend getting a proposal in as early as possible.

Expressions of Interest and any questions regarding the fund should be directed to DEFRA using the details in the guidance.