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Extra funding available for rural businesses

A scenic shot of Stockbridge. August 2018

Rural businesses across Test Valley can now apply for further funding after more than £200,000 was made available in an EU grant scheme.

The Loddon and Test LEADER programme helps fund capital projects that are being undertaken by businesses and community organisations.

Now, an additional £231,000 has been made available and businesses and organisations in Test Valley are encouraged to apply. The programme offers a minimum grant of £2,500 and a maximum of £100,000. Businesses will have to provide match funding, which is usually between 20 and 60 per cent. Because the LEADER Programme is nearing an end the funding will have to be spent by the end of the year.

LEADER is an EU Rural Development Programme which operates through local action groups such as Loddon and Test. The programme covers all of rural Test Valley except for the Romsey area and Bourne Valley. To date, 20 businesses and community projects have benefitted from around £700,000 in grant funding.  

Businesses can find out more about the programme, and if they are eligible for funding, via

Tourism and economic and development portfolio holder, councillor David Drew, said: “Businesses will need to get their skates on if they want or he access this final traunch of LEADER cash, which a good number of firms across Test Valley have already done.

“For those businesses not quite ready to access these funds, I am pushing hard for a follow-on scheme. Details will be published if, as and when something new becomes available.”