England Rural Prosperity Fund to help North Somerset grow its local rural economy
21st September 2022
The government has allocated £110m to the new Rural England Prosperity Fund to support businesses and communities and boost the rural economy. The fund will be jointly rolled out by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.
The Fund is designed to boost productivity and create rural job opportunities. Examples include farm diversification, development of new or improved products, creation of new rural tourism and leisure facilities or improvements to rural community hubs such as pubs or village halls.
Investment will also provide capital grants to develop, restore and refurbish local, natural, cultural heritage assets and sites and for the provision of gigabit-capable digital infrastructure at rural community hubs.
North Somerset Council has received a funding allocation of £442,617 for two years, 23/24 and 24/25. This is in addition to the £2,5M from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the new fund will be integrated into the UKSPF. It is a rural top-up for eligible local authorities.
The announcement of the fund coincides with the release of the government’s ‘Delivering for Rural England’ report which sets out how “rural interests will be at the heart of the government’s approach to levelling up”.
Lord Benyon, the minister Rural affairs said
“The Rural England Prosperity Fund worth up to £110m recognises the unique strengths and challenges of rural communities, and will support them to invest and grow their economies in line with local priorities
North Somerset Council will be consulting with a range of stakeholders across the district over the next month to establish local needs and priorities and will look at a variety of delivery methods to ensure the funding meets the needs of our rural economy.. A delivery plan will be submitted to government at the end of November to allow delivery to commence in April 2023.