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How to Get Funding to Grow Your Rural Business

The Rural Development Programme for England


If you are a rural businesses owner, farmer, forester, grower or landowner in Kent wishing to develop a new project that will strengthen and develop your enterprise, then you’ll be pleased to know that you may be eligible for grant funding under The Rural Development Programme for England.

Kent was previously covered by two Leaders:  West Kent Leader, and Kent Downs and Marshes Leader, but in the new round of funding, Kent has obtained a new East Kent leader group, meaning that now 97% of rural Kent can benefit from this great Programme.

Eligibility under the Kent Leader Programmes

Funding is available in the following geographical areas:

  • East Kent Leader will cover the rural areas of Thanet, Canterbury, Dover, Swale (East of and including Faversham) and Shepway (north of the Romney marshes).
  • West Kent Leader covers the rural areas of Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, and part of rural Gravesham.
  • Kent Downs and Marshes Leader will cover the rural areas of Ashford, Maidstone, Medway, Swale (west of Faversham), and the Romney Marshes.

These areas are based on economic coherence and existing partnerships rather than administrative boundaries.

Programme Priorities

Funding is available to rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers and landowners, to develop projects that will assist, strengthen and develop their businesses and the local area.

Your project should focus on Jobs and Growth and fall within at least one of the 6 main programme priorities:

  • Increasing Farm Productivity
  • Micro and Small Enterprises and Farm Diversification
  • Increasing Forestry Production
  • Provision of Rural Services
  • Cultural and Heritage Activity
  • Rural Tourism

If you are about to embark on a growth project that fits this criteria and you would like to find out if you are eligible for funding then you can contact the Rural Leader Programme in your area as follows:

East Kent Leader: Huw Jarvis, Programme Manager, Huw.Jarvis@kent.gov.uk 03000 417 104

West Kent Leader: Caroline Lingham, caroline.lingham@sevenoaks.gov.uk  01732 227282

Kent Downs and Marshes Leader: Huw Jarvis, huw.jarvis@kent.gov.uk  01622 696940

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to obtain funding to help you realise your growth plans and benefit not only your business and yourself, but also the wider rural area in which you live.

For updates about great business events, funding advice and invaluable business tips you can also follow @StartMy_Biz or @GrowMyBiz on Twitter and Facebook.