One of the most common questions we are asked by rural retailers is whether there are any grants available for improvements to their stores. Unfortunately the answer has often been in the negative. Reduced budgets have inevitably meant that funding for the sector by county councils and other organisations has been severely cut back, despite its obvious community and social importance.
One possible new source of funding is LEADER. This French acronym broadly translates as “liaison between drivers of rural economic development”. It is an EU programme that is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). Funding is distributed through local action groups (LAGs). These bodies, made up of local people from both the public and private sectors, decide which projects to fund in their local area. There are LAGs covering most of rural England. Providing rural services is one of six LEADER priorities and therefore local retailers in many cases will be eligible for support, although funding for this strand is limited.
The following government site provides more information about the scheme and also includes a link to a full list of the LAGs operating in England, together with a map showing the area covered by each one. We would encourage all rural route retailers to investigate this source of possible grant funding, but would advise an early application if you are interested.
See: Rural Development Programme (Gov.uk)
Also see our previous post on this issue here:
Leader Funding – Possible Financial Support for Rural Businesses
Picture: CC0 Public Domain