Final chance for rural businesses to receive £80,000

Prince’s Countryside Fund opening for rural projects
Credit: antb

Time is running out for rural businesses and farms to apply for grants of up to £80,000.

The LEADER scheme has transformed a number of Northern Lincolnshire businesses since it began three years ago.

Grants of between £2,500 and £80,000 are available to micro and small rural businesses, farmers wishing to diversify, tourism projects, community groups and foresters that are contributing to improving the local economy.

The last application deadline for the remaining £1million is 3 October 2018.

Arial Trail, based at the Pink Pig in Holme, North Lincolnshire, received nearly £40,000 to help set up their high ropes adventure business in 2016.

Owners Anthony and Denise Fowler, said: “We wouldn’t have got this idea off the ground without LEADER funding.”

The two, 18-element courses at Arial Trail see guests swinging through the trees just outside Scunthorpe. Arial Trail have welcomed over 1,500 customers in their two years, with three years olds to 87 year olds tackling the courses, which include two 100m zip lines.

Denise Fowler continued: “We’ve come a long way since Andy first had the idea in 2015. As well as the high ropes course, we have nature boards dotted around the woods to teach visitors about the birds that call the area home, and during our school visits we do history walks around the local area.

“We get a lot of repeat customers which we didn’t expect. I think it’s our unique, personal approach to the business that keeps people coming back and we love to hear what they’ve been up to.”

Anthony Fowler added: “The Business Development Team were fantastic. They really couldn’t do enough for us. I’ve never done anything as a businessman before and it’s been a steep learning curve; we wouldn’t have been able to get the funding without them!”

The Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Cllr Rob Waltham, encouraged other rural businesses to apply for the scheme before it’s too late. “This is grant money – not a loan – and is there to help businesses innovate, create jobs and flourish,” Cllr Waltham said.

“Arial Trail is a great example of what is possible. The grant money has helped them build a terrific business, create six new jobs, and provide a boost to our visitor economy. Businesses such as this are vital in our rural communities. I’d encourage others to get in touch and let the council team guide you through the application process.

“If the money’s not bid for, then we will lose it next year and with it opportunities to transform our local businesses.”

Rural businesses in North and North East Lincolnshire can apply for grants of up to £80,000.