Rural England Prosperity Fund
25th July 2023
We’re launching a rural grant programme that aims to benefit both businesses and community groups. The funding is for capital projects only, not revenue.
The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) supports the aims of the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme.
Funding is available for activities that will have a positive impact on rural business and communities by strengthening buildings, equipment and assets.
To find out more about the Rural England Prosperity Fund, please read the REPF Prospectus on the GOV.UK website. To find out specific information about the objectives and interventions that projects must deliver nationally, visit the GOV.UK website.
The key objectives for business projects are:
- increase investment in and targeted support for small and medium sized businesses for
- innovation activities.
- productivity enhancing, energy efficient and low carbon technologies and techniques.
- to create jobs and boost community cohesion. This includes visible improvements to local retail, hospitality and leisure sector facilities.
- enhance rural visitor economy and rural leisure opportunities.
There is one key objective for community projects:
- to foster a sense of local pride and belonging, through activities that enhance physical, cultural and social ties and amenities. This includes community infrastructure, local green space and community-led projects
For more information, Visit: About the Rural England Prosperity Fund | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)
Who Can Apply
Community organisations and businesses located in an eligible rural area with legal status in the UK as listed on this page can apply for the grant.
REPF business grants will fund capital projects for micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses. Your business must have fewer than 250 employees and a turnover equal to or less than £50m or a balance sheet equal to or less than £43m (including any partnership your business is a part of).
Your legal status must be one of the following:
- private limited company
- company limited by guarantee
- unlimited company
- community interest company
- sole trader registered with HMRC
- public limited company
- limited liability partnership
- co-operative society
For REPF community grants, your community group or organisation must be one of the following:
- charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
- charitable trust
- charitable community benefit society
- company limited by guarantee (CLG)
- community benefit society (CBS)
- town or parish council
- cooperative society
- community interest company (CIC)
Additionally, your business/organisation must be below Subsidy Control limits (you will be required to confirm this as part of the application process).
Other eligibility requirements are given in the application form.
Eligible Rural Areas
Eligible areas of North Somerset for the purposes of REPF have been determined by DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). These are broadly classed as:
- towns, villages and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside
- market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services
Applications can be made by businesses and community groups located in eligible rural areas. This includes (but is not limited to) farmers including those looking to diversify, growers and foresters.
Your trading address must be in an eligible part of North Somerset and your project must be too. You can check if your trading address and project is in an eligible area using our map.
Who Can’t Apply
- individuals who are not running a registered business or part of a constituted community organisation
- those who are already in receipt of DEFRA funding from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, The Farming Investment Fund or The Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund
- businesses and community groups who are not trading or based in an eligible part of rural North Somerset
- those who cannot meet the eligibility requirements within the application form
For more information, Visit: Who can apply | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)
What We Can Fund
We can provide capital funding only. Any revenue costs associated with the project must be met by yourself and not included in your project expenditure costs. This means you must spend grants on lasting assets such as a building or equipment. We are not able to fund revenue projects or provide revenue funding to support a capital project.
Examples of what the capital funding can be used for (this is not an exhaustive list):
- food processing equipment to scale up from domestic to commercial kitchens (non-farming businesses only)
- converting farm buildings to other business uses
- rural tourism, eg. as investments in visitor accommodation and farm diversification for event venues
- to acquire, build or upgrade physical assets
- building and construction costs
- professional fees associated with building and construction
- plant and machinery.
- display boards, eg visitor economy-related work
- gigabit broadband infrastructure for community facilities
- green community infrastructure – biomass, solar, heat pumps
- equipment for kitchens, food production, packaging, vending, display
- resilience infrastructure and nature-based solutions that protect local businesses and community areas from natural hazards
- tools and equipment for repair cafes, community growing projects, kitchens, green clubs
What We Can’t Fund
Ineligible costs include:
- revenue costs, eg. salaries, rent, overheads, insurance
- applications from individuals – we cannot make grant payments to individuals
- VAT: if you are able to claim back VAT then VAT is not eligible as part of the costs of your project and should not be included
- projects unable to start within six months of the grant award date
- improvements to domestic buildings
- private vehicles
- own labour costs
- costs connected with any leasing contract
- consents needed, for example planning permission
- licence fees, subscriptions, and service charges
- any cost incurred before the date of the final grant funding agreement, ie. retrospective costs
- items or projects which only benefit an individual
- projects that will displace existing provision
- activities that are statutory obligations
- paid for lobbying, entertaining, petitioning, or challenging decisions, which means using the fund to lobby (via an external firm or in-house staff)
- payments for activities of a party political or exclusively religious nature
- payments for statutory works
- contingencies and contingent liabilities
- bad debts and costs resulting from the deferral of payments to creditors or winding up a company
- expenses in respect of litigation, unfair dismissal or other compensation
- standard agricultural equipment and inputs, like animals and annual crops
- agricultural production rights and payment entitlements
- purchase of equipment by farmers for food processing that could otherwise be funded under DEFRA’s Farming Investment Fund (FIF)
We cannot support projects that have received funding from other DEFRA schemes, as listed below:
- the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme – funding for farmers and land managers to work in partnership with National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty bodies to deliver projects on climate, nature, people and place
- the Farming Investment Fund – grants to improve productivity and bring environmental benefits, covering 2 funds:
- Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and;
- Farming Transformation Fund Rural Business Investment Programme
For more information, Visit: What we can fund | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)
For more information on the Rural England Prosperity Fund, Visit: Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)