Making Connections: Grants to support economic growth in rural Dorset now open for applications

Do you work in a rural enterprise looking to grow? Are you developing high quality tourism facilities? Do you help provide vital services to rural communities?

Alison Moore, vice-chair of the Northern Dorset LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) will announce that the LAG is ‘Open for Applications’ at a Rural Funding event in East Dorset today. The LAG welcomes grant applications from rural based businesses and organisations looking for capital funding to realise their ambitions for growth.

The Local Action Group (LAG) has been awarded £1.5 million of European Rural Development Programme funding to support new and innovative projects under the banner of ‘Making Connections’. The LAG can fund projects to create jobs, increase productivity or support the wider economy of the local rural area. Projects must be based in the LAG area, which includes the North Dorset District Council area, the rural parts of and East Dorset District Council and Christchurch Borough, and in and around Sherborne. Businesses in the rest of West Dorset and Purbeck districts can apply for funding from Dorset’s other LAG – Southern Dorset. It’s great news for business and organisations based in the east of the county, many of whom will able to apply for a LEADER grant for the first time.

Tony Bishop, Chair of the Northern Dorset Local Action Group said, ““I am delighted that we can now encourage and accept applications for funding. We have secured the money and it is there to support and grow the rural economy in our area. I want to see it in use, so let’s get going!”

Some of projects which the LAG could fund include:
• Starting a new business in a rural area;
• Helping an existing rural business to grow;
• Developing high quality tourism products or services, particularly those connected to the area’s unique network of trails and heritage;
• Helping rural communities provide imaginative solutions to ensure the survival and strengthening of village services and cultural and heritage activity;
• Improving the management of woodland and developing new products.
• Introducing new technology onto farms to increase productivity;
• Helping producers improve the processing, marketing and distribution of local products.
For information about how to apply and the type of projects the Local Action Group can fund please see the website www.dorsetleader.co.uk or contact James Roberts Tel. 01305 225525.