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England told to think ‘local’ to make the most of £105 million rural fund
A local approach to delivering more than £105 million of Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funding will ensure the biggest positive difference for rural areas it was revealed yesterday.
This message was delivered at the second national RDPE Network meeting for Local Action Groups (LAGs) held in the West Midlands, which also featured practice sharing, knowledge transfer and a series of interactive workshop sessions.
LAGs from across England were told that they have a crucial role
to play in ensuring that the money is spent on tackling key issues
in villages and towns and maximising opportunities to improve the
quality of life and safeguard and create jobs.
Rebecca Frost, Programme Manager for the RDPE Network, picked up the story: “Funded by the EU and UK Government, the RDPE supports a range of schemes for land based businesses (farmers, growers, foresters and primary processors), rural tourism organisations, rural businesses and community organisations.
“Through small capital grants, strategic investment funding and action plans, the programme will aim to safeguard and enhance the countryside, helping communities to thrive in the process. Our second event was shaped by the LAGs and the organisations that they work with and was about looking at recent activity, sharing examples of how the funding is working and also ensuring that LAGs are getting the support they need to help with delivery. It was also an opportunity to look at how this money can be spent to help bring our local communities out of recession by encouraging businesses to diversify.”
The Leader approach enables community-led delivery of RDPE funding in rural areas and is being implemented through LAGs, which represent public and private partners and community and voluntary groups.
Local Action Groups have developed Local Development Strategies that set out their plans and include criteria for the types of projects that can be supported. They encourage local individuals and organisation to get involved in making decisions that affect their area and communities and empower people to come forward with their project ideas.
Rebecca Frost concluded: “The Leader approach will provide a more integrated approach to making decisions on who gets funding, focusing on adding value to existing local assets and ensuring economic potential is retained, whether that is food produce or heritage features, for example. We are already seeing some really exciting projects coming forward. Now is the time for LAGs to make sure even more local individuals and organisations benefit by encouraging them to claim their share of the funding.”
For further information contact Chris Wynne-Davies on 01242 534070
Notes for editors:
1 The RPDE Network, which is managed by the Commission for Rural Communities, has been created to support the delivery of the programme through sharing ideas, knowledge, experience and practice. England has already been awarded approximately £105 million in funding to deliver the Leader approach until 2013 and this will be administered by 63 LAGs. It will be channelled into helping meet the main priorities identified in each region, which range from enhancing the value of the countryside and improving skills, to increasing access to services and developing a sustainable and diverse business base.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
Phone: 01242 534070