The Northern Lincolnshire LEADER funding programme has supplied £1.2m of match funded grants to rural businesses to help them increase productivity, diversify and promote rural heritage.
The current scheme, running since 2014, has supported 52 businesses in North and North East Lincolnshire, and helped create 53 new jobs in the area.
The aim of the LEADER funding programme was to:
- Increase farming productivity
- Support micro and small enterprises in rural areas and farm diversification
- Promote rural tourism
- Provide rural services
- Support our rural cultural heritage
- Increase forestry
With a broad range of priorities for the funding, the projects the LEADER fund has supported have an equally broad range, and include: £80,000 for Garthorpe Farming Co to construct a new storage facility and create a new job; £80,000 for Hirst Priory to provide four new en-suite guest rooms, develop subterranean dining area ‘The Vaults’, and create eight new jobs; and £3,000 for Infocus IDto convert old warehouses, kennels and an office block into a new manufacturing and administration base for the company, creating four jobs.
Together with the match funding for the projects, the LEADER fund has helped boost the rural economy by over £3m.
Janet Godfrey, the Chair of the LEADER programme Local Action Group, said: “The LEADER funding has helped hotels, cafes, coffee shops and helped farmers to diversify and purchase new technololgies. All this will help sustain their futures and the economy of rural communities within North and North East Lincolnshire.
“We have over-achieved our contracted outputs and delivered a successful LEADER programme, improving the rural areas of northern Lincolnshire and supporting the communities within them.”
Following their LEADER-funded refurbishment, Hirst Priory near Crowle, is hoping to increase its offer for weddings and other events. MD Hazel Wheatley, said: “The LEADER funding was the key to unlocking this latest phase of development in the drive to make Hirst Priory one of the best wedding and events venues in the country.
“It has helped us create a unique experience for local people to enjoy a night out and to attract fresh visitors to the area. We are using local produce in our new sharing platters menu and have created three new jobs already.
“We look forward to what the future holds now we have such an excellent venue thanks to the LEADER team.”
Cllr Julie Reed, ward member for Axholme North, met representatives from some of the LEADER-funded businesses and LAG members at Hirst Priory, to celebrate the success of the scheme. She said: “The first round of LEADER funding started in North Lincolnshire in 2006. Now we are reaching the end of this latest round, which started 2014, we can see the difference it has made to our rural businesses once again.
“We’ve helped businesses start-up, or expand into new premises, and we’ve seen farmers become more efficient through new equipment and technology.”
The LEADER programme has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.