£1.2 million for rural economy in Mid and East Devon

The rural economy in Mid and East Devon, will be bolstered with £1.2 million of funding support, Devon County Council has announced.

The County Council is overseeing the EU funded LEADER grants programme, which aims to create jobs and help to develop rural businesses. The County Coucil is working with key partners such as Mid and East Devon District Councils to ensure applicants receive the necessary support to access the funding.

Devon County Council are the Accountable body for two of the five Local Action Groups across Devon – Making it Local and REAL Devon.

The REAL Devon Local Action Group, which covers the majority of Mid Devon and seven East Devon parishes (Brampford Speke, Huxham, Nether Exe, Poltimore, Rewe, Stoke Canon and Upton Pyne), will oversee the delivery of more than £1.2 million of funding over the next three years.

The Local Action Group will act as a panel, made up of private and community sector representatives, to award grants locally to farmers, growers, foresters, other local rural businesses and rural community organisations. It will support projects that create opportunities to improve the local economy in terms of jobs and growth, as well as improving the quality of life in the area.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Economy and Growth, said: “Supporting the growth and development of a diverse rural economy is a key priority for the County Council, and LEADER funding will offer a genuine boost for local communities. Partnership working between local organisations is vital to this scheme to help secure this money for rural businesses and communities in Devon.”

Councillor Richard Chesterton, Mid Devon District Council’s Deputy Leader and Chair of the REAL Devon Local Action Group, said: “We are keen to ensure as many rural businesses and communities as possible benefit from this new opportunity to access European funding. Mid Devon has over 3,500 businesses operating within it and three vibrant towns serving communities in the rural hinterland. With LEADER funding we want to channel real money and support to enable communities to create real jobs to improve our rural economies”.

The LEADER grants programme has six priorities, which are to:

  • increase farm productivity;
  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification;
  • boost rural tourism;
  • provide rural services;
  • provide cultural and heritage activities; and
  • increase forestry productivity.

The scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) which is run by DEFRA and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

To find out more about the funding programme visit the Local Action Group website at www.REALDevon.org.