The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) makes grants available to help improve the rural economy and to create new job opportunities in rural areas. If you are a farmer or a forester looking to get more out of the products you create, a small rural company wishing to expand, or someone with a new business idea wishing to set up in a rural area – then funding might be available to help you realise your ambitions. Grants from £4,000 to £5,000 and upwards are available subject to an application process. The total budget available for projects is around £5.5m and must be spent by December 2013.
RDPE is a £3.9 billion, seven-year programme (running from 2007-13), jointly funded by the European Union and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Its overall aims are to safeguard and enhance the UK's rural environment, improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and foster sustainable rural businesses and economies across the UK.
The programme is built around the following three themes, or "Axes";
Axis 1 - improving the competitiveness of the farming and forestry sectors
Axis 2 - improving the environment and the countryside
Axis 3 - rural quality of life and diversification of the rural economy
Axis 1 & 3 contain numerous measures or pots which each area has selected as most appropriate for its needs and priorities. In Lancashire, we identified 7 priorities for our Programme: