Rural England Prosperity Fund business grant

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The Rural England Prosperity Fund is a ‘top up’ fund allocated to Rural Districts in England as an addition to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) forming part of the Government’s wider Levelling Up Agenda. REPF is a capital grant only fund. The fund is managed by North Kesteven District Council on behalf of DEFRA.

According to DEFRA, REPF provides capital funding to:

‘Support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams’

The Council has allocated £450,000 to a Rural Business Grant in order to support business in The District.

The Rural Business Grant is discretionary and will support capital investments only in the following categories:

  • Rural start-ups and new enterprises in the sectors identified below
  • The Visitor Economy (including visitor accommodation) and supply chains
  • Hospitality sector
  • The conversion of rural buildings for commercial and economic purposes
  • Food & Drink sector and supply chains
  • Manufacturing sector and supply chains
  • Non-farm-owned Diversifications (those not eligible for FIF and other core Defra funds)

In line with Defra Guidance and 25 Year Environment Plan, (25-year-environment-plan.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk) the Rural Business Grant will seek to prioritise the following:

  • Investments which support green growth in renewables, green power and energy efficiency measures and which lessen rural reliance on fossil fuels and make a positive contribution to Net Zero. This includes investments aimed at reducing fuel costs.

NB: Most wards in North Kesteven are eligible for REPF funding, however The Council has been issued with guidance from DEFRA in respect some areas of North Hykeham and Waddington West which are ineligible for this grant funding. These locations, though part of North Kesteven District, are considered by DEFRA to be   geographically contiguous to the City of Lincoln. As an ‘Urban’ rather than a ‘Rural’ area, The City of Lincoln is ineligible for REPF. 


Grant Process and Scoring of Applications

Due to the very considerable level of interest in the fund shown at the Expression of Interest stage The Council has determined that the Rural Business Grant fund will be competitive. This means that all applications will be scored against the criteria set out below and awards made to those applications with the highest scores. You do not have to have submitted an Expression of Interest in order to apply for the Rural Business Grant.
All applications must meet the criteria set out by DEFRA for REPF and The Council in its grant policy in order to be deemed eligible. Financial checks will be carried out on all applications to minimise the risk of fraud and ensure that funding is only given to businesses able to demonstrate financial viability.

After these initial eligibility checks have been carried out all applications will be scored against the following criteria:

1.    Grant impact

  • On the business
  • On the local economy 
  • On the environment/carbon footprint

2.    Additionality

  • Will the intervention deliver something new and measurable?

3.    Value for Money

  • Intervention rate (% grant vs % match)
  • Project costs: Is the cost of the investment competitive and does it represent good value for money?

4.    Deliverability

  • By March 2025 

Note: After assessment and scoring all applications will be considered by a panel of NKDC officers drawn from across the council representing Economic Development, Finance, Planning and Climate Change teams. Applicants will be notified of the result as soon as possible after the panel has reached its final decision.
 

Note 2: As per standard grant procedure, NKDC will not accept retrospective applications for work already complete or partially undertaken. As such NKDC stipulates that no pre-emptive work on any proposal must be undertaken until such time as a decision has been made by the award panel and the applicant has been notified of the outcome.

Note 3: All applications consisting of proposals that require planning permission, or other permissions, must have these approved and in place before making an application to this scheme.

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