Published: Friday, 16th June 2023
A new fund providing capital grants to support the rural areas of west Norfolk will help to strengthen the economy and local communities.
Two drop-in sessions for those wanting to find out more about the West Norfolk Rural Communities and Business Capital Grants and looking for guidance on project ideas will be held on:
- Tuesday 20 June 10am-2pm at Downham Market Town Hall
- Thursday 22 June 10am-2pm at Hunstanton Town Hall
Representatives from the Borough Council’s regeneration and planning departments will be present alongside Norfolk Community Foundation, New Anglia Growth Hub and MENTA Business Support to answer your questions, and provide information, advice and guidance which may help in the development of projects and/or business.
The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) is divided into two parts, one for communities and one for businesses.
Jemma Curtis, Regeneration Programmes Manager, said:
“This fund aims to support the provision of resilient local services and help communities to address the challenges of rural isolation, as well as supporting social cohesion and local pride.
“For communities, it’s a chance to bring forward some innovative projects that will make a difference to people who may face additional barriers to accessing services and opportunities.
“For businesses, it’s an opportunity to enhance or expand in a way that contributes to the local economy.”
West Norfolk Rural Communities Capital Grants
This scheme will be launched on 12 June and will close on 2 August. The grant is being delivered by Norfolk Community Foundation on behalf of the Borough Council.
Projects should have the overarching objective of providing resilient community services and assets for local people to benefit the local economy, to address the challenges of rural isolation, support social cohesion and boost local pride.
Funding will be available in two funding rounds – Year 1 (2023-24) and Year 2 (2024-25).
In Year 1, the West Norfolk Rural Communities Capital Grant scheme will focus on wellbeing, reducing isolation and improving access to services and facilities.
Capital grants of up to £10,000 can be awarded for year 1 projects that support impactful volunteering and social action through the purchase of equipment or improvements to premises. Match funding of 25% is required.
In Year 2, the emphasis will shift to building infrastructure and improving local facilities in communities, especially where projects can demonstrate that they will have a positive impact on the environment.
Capital grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 can be awarded for year 2 projects that build capacity and infrastructure for local civil society and community groups through larger-scale capital improvements that can help communities to adapt to changing external factors.
Investment will be targeted towards projects that improve local pride, support the wellbeing of rural communities, improve connectivity between areas, reduce social isolation and improve access to services and facilities.
The West Norfolk Rural Prosperity Fund is specifically aimed at rural areas of the borough and must be used for capital projects that add something new or make an improvement (i.e. they cannot be used for maintenance purposes).
Grants are open to a range of organisations, including charities and voluntary organisations, community groups, parish or town councils and social enterprises.
For more information about the fund, eligibility and how to apply, please visit the Norfolk Foundation website.
West Norfolk Rural Business Capital Grants
West Norfolk Rural Business Capital Grants provide funding to support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams.
The scheme will be launched on 19 June and is being delivered by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (New Anglia LEP) on behalf of the Borough Council.
There is a limited pot of funding available to support projects and grant applications will be considered on “first-come, first-served” basis. Businesses can apply for grants between £10,000 and £100,000. The maximum grant intervention through the programme will be for 50% of eligible capital costs, up to a maximum value of £100,000. Match funding must be secured and projects must be ready to proceed immediately and be fully completed by 31 December 2024.
There are two strands to the business grants available:
- Capital grants for micro and small enterprises in rural areas: this grant pot provides capital funding opportunities to support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes projects such as: farm businesses looking to diversify income streams; businesses seeking to invest in more productive and efficient operational equipment to achieve reduction in carbon emissions on their road to net zero; conversion of farm buildings into other commercial or business uses; creation and expansion of rural leisure and tourism businesses; purchase of equipment for food processing for non-farmer-owned businesses; and funding for infrastructure to protect local business and community areas from natural hazards.
- Capital grants for the development and promotion of the visitor economy: these grants are aimed at developing local attractions, trails and tourism products more generally. Projects can include developing local visitor trails and infrastructure to support this, such as information boards, visitor centres and the wider development of visitor experiences based on the local rural offer.
Businesses wishing to apply for support should first contact the New Anglia Growth Hub on their website.
For more information please see our Rural England Prosperity Fund and West Norfolk Rural Business and Community Capital Grants page.